In early 2013, I wrote about ways digital employee recognition programs can shape company culture. A year and a half later, I believe all of those things more than ever. A great company culture takes a lot of work, and digital employee recognition can make a huge impact.

One of my favorite HR Tech bloggers, Naomi Bloom, confirmed I was on the right track, but asked me to explore the negative side. “Now write about the dark side: mutual back-slapping, fools fancying other fools, uneven grading, & more.” There’s a dark side to everything, even unicorns and rainbows, but recognition is recognition, and I don’t think it matters.

Like I told her that day, “Challenge accepted.”


Just Do It

You miss every shot you don’t take; You lose every game you don’t play.

It’s cheesy motivational poster statements like that which remind us all to take chances, plunge into the deep end, and try new things. A digital employee recognition program could change your organization forever, but if you feel it’s not working out, simply pull the plug.

Here are five ways employees can game a digital employee recognition program, and why these are good problems to have:

  • Ask Each Other for Employee Recognition – Getting a shoutout for a job well done isn’t something that should be requested, but it happens all the time with a digital employee recognition program. Sure it’s unseemly, but isn’t some employee recognition better than when it was zero? Of course!
  • Being a Show Off – As my father-in-law once put it watching Andy Roddick in the U.S. Open, “Nobody likes a hotdog.” But at work, and especially with a digital employee recognition program in place, every show-off knows that doing something off-the-hook will get a lot of attention – and praise. But having people willing to take chances, be audacious, and contribute something noteworthy isn’t really a problem – it’s a competitive advantage.
  • Trading Effort for Praise – When an employee recognition program is in place, especially if it’s tied to rewards (which I’m not a fan of – but that’s another blog post), a marketplace of praise might develop as team members only put forth effort if they know they will see there name in lights. The good news is that this will only affect a small minority, and accountability and transparency will soon correct this behavior.
  • Giveth and You Shall Receive – If you sat in a park blowing kisses at every person that walked by, eventually one would reciprocate, right? Sure, it’s a little weird and desperate to be constantly giving recognition in hopes you’ll get some in return, but at least recognition is happening. Own it, and blow those kisses.
  • Because Employee Recognition Is Easy to Do – OK, this one isn’t a real problem – more of a feature. Digital employee recognition is easy to give, and that’s the whole point. Maybe people will give out too much employee recognition, but is that really a problem? Nope. Employee recognition is the first step to an engaged workforce, so let the lovefest begin!

Can digital employee recognition be gamed? Of course – everything can be! But if your goal is to increase employee communication, build camaraderie, and encourage positive behavior, digital employee recognition will serve you well.

Ready to get started? Sign up for Teamphoria employee recognition software, and let the games begin!


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