Thursday, 17 November 2011

A New Home in the Sky - Reward and Recognition

The latest feel-good initiative to slither out of the murky depths of the last Senior Management Team’s corporate jolly Strategic Workshop is the Applause system.

This is a wizard wheeze where you may nominate a co-worker for some outstanding bit of work, for being extra helpful or for just not screwing up too much this month.

You log into the special dedicated Applause portal and make your nomination, which has to be tied in with one of the company’s core values (leadership, customer service, adding value, ass-kissing, etc.) and you have to write a citation, explaining just why you think Nerdy Unix Guy or Ugly But Surprisingly Competent Incident Manager should receive an award.

You must be as specific as possible.

You must give dates, times, projects, client names, etc.

You have 140 characters.

Now, if by some superhuman act of précis (and text-speak is frowned upon) you manage to convey a flavour of your colleague’s incandescent brilliance, a committee of managers will scrutinise your effort and decide if it has merit.

Pulling a dirty great sword out of a stone? Easy-peasy!

Solving the riddle of perpetual motion? Pah!

Explaining why 'I’m a Celebrity' is still on our TV screens? OK, I’ll give you that one, that's inexplicable.

Persuading a group of people whose prime motivation is to keep costs down to give something away for free? Now, that’s hard!

If, by any chance, your Paen to That Guy in Networks should be found worthy, the nominated co-worker will receive a number of Applause points.

Applause points can be spent on things e.g. 10,000 points will get you a paperclip or some such, 20,000 will get you a pen, that kind of thing.

You have to get tons of these points to get anything truly worthwhile.

What’s a typical award, I hear you ask?

2,500 points.

You’d probably have to work for the company for a hundred years (and kiss a LOT of bottom) to amass a decent numberof points – by which time, the scheme will almost certainly have been discontinued.

But never mind, even if you can’t manage to squeeze a few measly points out of the system, you can always send your beloved co-worker an Applause e-card instead!

Yes, that’ll make them feel loved – after all, it’s not about the money, is it?

You can choose from a range of e-cards bearing anodyne and instantly forgettable images of implausibly attractive office workers laughing gaily into each other’s faces as they give presentations, or work on their computers. You may personalise it with a message of your own (you can use more than 140 characters for this if you like, it's not like it will cost anything).

By the way, it has been decided that there are to be no salary reviews this financial year.

Feel the love.


  1. Oh that bites. I think you should go ahead & design an ecard with that hairspray advertising picture - that will go over VERY well!

  2. Bug, that's a terrific idea!

  3. Stunning conception - someone has spent time on this. And great name too.
    Beware the SMT, my son...

    We're in the process of restructuring. What's the betting that the SMT remain intact?

  4. OMG! They had something similar to that at a company I worked for a few years ago! Cheap S.O.B.'s saving money!

  5. A supermarket loyalty card in reverse!

    They must think most people are stupid. I can't think why.

    Perhaps I do your colleagues a disservice, but if management want to get the most out of it they should make it possible for people to earn a small numbers of points without nomination by a third party: people will be falling over themselves trying to earn points. In other words, make it exactly like a supermarket loyalty card.

    Suggest it! You might get a free After Eight at the works Christmas Dinner! :)

  6. Titus - Oh, yes, we are wary of the SMT. It's chilling to get an email from somebody in the morning and, by the time you reply in the afternoon, you get their out-of-office, telling you that they no longer work for the company.

    Eva - Yes, I believe it's just wondow-dressing to make everyone think the company is a caring-sharing one.

    Dominic - Loving the loyalty card idea, must suggest it. I can't believe the Applause thing is getting much use. I managed to get one nomination through and one failure so far.

  7. We don't have that in our Company yet but doubtless it will arrive eventually. It is obviously designed by a manager keen to be seen to be showing initiative (and eager to avail of the applause system himself) but obviously lacking all empathy with those working on the shop floor. Actually a brilliant premise for a short story...

  8. HA! We work at the same place. The points you accumulate? Entirely at the whim of management. Some are handed out, seemilingly, for continuing to breathe during the work day while others must be reminded at the end of the year to hand them out. You can work all year to earn the points needed to buy a cookbook.

    We also have "You Made A Difference!" cards, filled out by peers when you, well, make a difference apparently. They're laughable.

    I miss working for a wage and not for spotty ego strokings...


  9. Peter - I suspect you're right. It is just paying lip-service to the idea of rewarding effort. Be interested to read that story if you ever get to writing it.

    Pearl - i suspect this evil plague is spreading!

  10. So how many people have you nominated so far?

  11. i do wonder what would happen if they ever took the time to ask employees exactly how motivated this kind of nonsence makes them

    Probably just stare blankly for a while and then think up something worse

  12. Friko - I have nominated twice: one hit and one miss. seems I can precis like a master - sometimes.

    DFTP - No, we were never asked if we wanted it. Most people are happy if they get seneible pay, reviewed appropriately often. The powers that be have announced a whole new structure - including voluntary redundancies. Luckily, I'm not in the at risk category (yet).


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