Value of ‘new’ recognition overstated (Letter to the editor)

In the April 10 edition of Canadian HR Reporter there were several interesting articles about recognition systems that supposedly demonstrate corporate social responsibility. For the most part the authors of these articles all overstated the case about the value “new” recognition (community-based activities and money) has over the “traditional” (compensation, perks and certificates) approach. Neither of these models, traditional or new, really affects employee productivity. They do, as the authors state, make the companies appear to be worthwhile, but they are still missing two key components if they really want to affect the workplace culture.

First, any recognition program must be peer-driven or peer-led, not management-determined. It’s natural that an employee will appreciate a company donation to a community organization that is already favoured by an employee. But the employees must be the ones to determine where the company’s efforts should be directed.

Second, recognition programs, whether traditional or new, must be viewed by employees as fair, respectful, peer-supported, and based on trust. While the authors describe several company-initiated gifting and philanthropy methods and these gifts are well-intentioned, such methods, unless managed by the employees, will only contribute in a minor way to engagement and productivity. In reality, such company-directed methods interfere with the development of a best place to work culture rather than contribute to it.

Rey Carr
Managing Partner
Peer Resources

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