Sunday, May 11, 2008

Delayed Feedback backfires

Last Thursday, my manager gave me an award. It was an “on the spot” type of award designed to be handed out to commend an employee’s performance. The idea behind this type of award is to get the award out quickly, skipping red tape and a long, drawn out approval process. You are not going to get rich on these type of awards, but it is always nice to know that your work is being noticed and appreciated.

The award caught me by surprise. I have not done anything outstanding lately (besides my job) that deserved an award. Once the paper explaining the award was in my hands, I immediately scanned the words as to why I had been so honored. The words were even more shocking. To my amazement, the award was for a test effort that I had completed over one year earlier! My manager noticed that I was taken aback by all of this. Without my asking, he began explaining that I had been nominated for this for some time, but the award money had been delayed.

I was appreciative, but it didn't take long for me to start wondering about all of this. It’s times like these when you are reminded that you work for a large corporation that is sluggish, unresponsive and simply out of touch with the employees and the work they are doing.

Maybe I should not be surprised, the award system has always been a joke around here with awards given for piddly items while major accomplishments go un-noticed. The simple reason for that incongruence is the fact that managers are not closely involved with the people and the tasks at hand. Unfortunately, my employer has recently taken steps to even further that disconnect. At one time, each manager supervised approximately 25 people, but now that front line supervisor job has been eliminated and an upper management position added. This reorganization has resulted in one manager for every 80 to 90 employees.

Awards are kind of a strange motivational tool anyway. I don’t do a job to get special awards. I do the work that is needed to get a job done. I would work just as hard as ever, even if the award program was cancelled.

No, this doesn’t affect my work, but ironically it does make me question my employer’s sincerity. After all the hype and corporate talk about enhancing the workplace and improving communication, I see that nothing has really changed.


  1. Yeah, it sure seems the most active thing going on in corporations these days is reorganizations and creation of more upper management positions.
    It's your managers responsibility for acknowledging your special accomplishments and rewarding you in a timely fashion. They should have at least told you an award was in the works way before a year had passed.
    Last year I first found out I won an award when I discovered extra money going to my direct deposit account. Further investigation revealed where the money came from- which was officially acknowledged 2 months later. :/

  2. yes, I have also had that happen where I received award money direct deposited into my acct before I knew about the award!

    It made a big impression on me - as I swore to never do that to any of the engineers that I manage. Small things do make a difference.