In many workplaces, getting the “employee of the month” award might involve a paltry pat on the back or a note from the employer. With rewards like that, who really wants the recognition? Wait though; the real benefits of being named employee of the month might be less tangible, but they do indeed exist.
If you’re wondering what you’ll really get from your accolade, here are just a few.
Confidence that you’re on the right track
Every employee has moments of doubt, wondering whether they’re doing their jobs in the way their employer wants. With this award comes the knowledge that you’re doing something right, that you are indeed following the prescribed path, and that you can stay the course. That said though, you might want to ask your employer why you were recognized, so you’ll know exactly what aspects of your performance he/she appreciated.
Something for your resume
You might think it doesn’t matter all that much to be awarded the employee of the month plaque while you’re in the grind of working in your current job, but when it comes time to toot your horn in order to find a new job, that employee of the month award can make you look like someone special. Mention it in the job description portion of the “Work Experience” section, or better yet, include an “Awards” section and list it there. You can also mention it in a cover letter as evidence of your outstanding performance.
Leverage for that raise or promotion
If you thought the award was useless in your current position, think again. Having that employee of the month award tacked to your cubicle can be proof that you’re a hard worker. Since the award came from your employer, he/she can’t deny that you’re valuable. Thus, you can use the award for leverage when you ask for that raise or promotion.
Respect from your colleagues
Ignore the colleagues who seem jealous that you were the one recognized. Chances are they’re probably envious that they weren’t the ones to get the award. In reality, your colleagues are probably thinking of you as a good worker, and are looking to you for direction in how to do their jobs better, which puts you in a position of leadership in the company.
Things you can actually use
Some companies do manage to go beyond the pat on the back and to offer rewards that you’ll really care about. For example, you might get a weekend vacation package, a company parking spot near the building, or expensive electronics like an iPad or iPod, or a new smartphone, with the bill paid for by the company. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, those expensive perks can be pretty nice indeed.
You’ll probably hear some people complain that employee recognition programs don’t really do much good -- especially when they cause other people to be demoralized for not getting the award. But since you’re the one who’s gotten the award, don’t focus on the negative aspects, but on how you can leverage your award to ensure even more career success.
Image courtesy Brad.K, Flickr