Skip to main content

Lousy Advice from Consultants

By January 23, 2012 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

I came across the following article last week on the U.S site “Smart Brief on Workforce”, and print it here in its entirety as a cautionary tale. The article is entitled:Reasons to Run from Employee Recognition Programs – Fast!!”

The author works at a consultancy that is ostensibly about helping companies get the most out of the employees in an organisation. The advice is some of the least informed and worst I’ve seen yet from consultants on how to engage a workforce.

The article is printed with comments from Smart Brief in bold italics following each piece of uniformed commentary……..

Entitled “Why I highly recommend NOT doing formal employee recognition programs”

1). It can easily be put on the back burner and then become a source of resentment and loss of trust in management

That my friend is a management issue not a recognition program issue. If you don’t fill out expense reports you don’t blame the spreadsheet. If we bagged every business process that humans screwed up due to lack of understanding and/or lack of participation we’d have no processes at all.

2). If you do not follow-through on a regular basis, it can become stale and lose its intended effectiveness

See point 1 – again, the logic escapes me – because I do it badly, don’t do it. Hey – why do it right when I can just remove it? I don’t do sales well so I’m not going to do it anymore. WORST. ADVICE. EVER.

3). It creates an us vs. them situation within your employee base instead of a team atmosphere (VIPs vs. non-VIPs or those who are teacher’s pet vs. those who aren’t) – in the worst cases I’ve actually seen high achievers become lower achievers because they don’t want to be singled out from their friends/co-workers and seen as “better than”

Can you say poor culture? Can you say management is implementing it wrong? Can you say the rules obviously are set up incorrectly if you create two classes of employee? Recognition isn’t about creating classes – recognition is about creating direction for behavior. Again – bad design does not mean you should abandon the tool.

4). There will always be those who wonder why you recognised that person vs. themselves or someone else

Only if your management sucks. Read that again. That is the ONLY reason this would ever happen.

5). If everyone gets to be in the club it’s no longer special

Recognition is ALWAYS special. It’s the act not the outcome that is valued. Everyone wants to be validated and recognised. If you create a “club” you’re doing it wrong. Yes, you should you have a way to highlight those that are living the values and goals – absolutely. But ultimately it’s about exemplars – that’s what you create through recognition – not gods.

6). By creating “winners,” you also create “losers”

Only if you do. People don’t win programs (except lotteries) they earn them. Since when is recognition a zero sum game? If I earn an award through my behavior did you lose? Nope. You just didn’t earn the award. That is not the same as being a loser.

You know the old adage that the road to hell is paved with good intentions…this is one of those roads.

No my friend… this road is paved with ignorance.

You are the reason the program didn’t work. A good craftsman never blames his/her tools.

Brownie Points team fully endorse the comments responding to this most unusual article by a so called expert consultant.

To learn how Brownie Points reward and recognition programs can engage and inspire your staff call us today on 03 9909 7411 or email us at


Leave a Reply