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How to Manage an Employee of the Month Program

by Erin Schreiner

To onlookers, employee-of-the-month programs may seem simple -- a shining star of an employee is selected and a prized parking spot or gleaming trophy is bestowed on the employee as gathered co-workers clap. In truth, however, managing an employee-of-the-month program takes time and effort. If you are in the process of building a program of this type, or revamping an existing one, move conscientiously though the steps to ensure that the program you produce is effective.

Publicize the Recognition

Your employees must know about the program for it to have a positive effect on workplace culture. Particularly when your employee of the month program is in its infancy, it is vital that you effectively advertise it. Send out emails and memos telling employees about the program and sharing dates related to it, such as when you will select your first winner.

Set Criteria

For optimal effectiveness, employees need to know what criteria you plan to consider when selecting the Employee of The Month. Develop a rubric for choosing this monthly MVP, says Peggy Espy Schiffers, Sedonia Young and Daniel L. Shelton for the Society of Human Resources Management. Select critera that reflects what is important to your business, such as, "Employee promotes innovative practices," or, "Employee demonstrates exemplary productivity." Share your criteria with your staff to show them what they must do to bring home the prize and prove to them that your employee-of-the-month program is not a popularity contest in disguise.

Build a Committee

Employees may cry "foul" if only one person is involved in the selection of the Employee of The Month. Establish a committee to review all candidates and make the selection. In doing so, you can reduce potential perceptions of favoritism.

Pick a Prize

Design a statue or plaque to give to winners, providing them with something to show for their accomplishments. While you may elect to also include a monetary reward, doing so can be risky, says Meghan M. Biro for Forbes.com. If you give your winner a monetary award, you may inadvertently send the message that the dollar figure represents her worth, which might not sit well with an employee who thinks she is much more valuable than the amount she finds on her bonus check.

Rotate the Award

Despite the fact that Bob, the rock star at your company, may deserve recognition monthly, you shouldn’t always give the award to him. An employee-of-the-month program is only effective if all employees feel like the prize is within their reach. Set a formal or informal rule regarding selecting winners, establishing an amount of time that must pass before a winner can once again claim the prize, suggests Jeff Haden for Inc.

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.

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