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Have a Break Have a KitKat

I read a story on the BBC website this evening about staff at Hospital taking offence at their reward for a job well done.

To be fair to them it’s not that surprising they were a little bit miffed; the hospital in question had won what I believe to be a prestigious reward within their industry. The hospital was named acute healthcare organisation of the year, a national award to reward innovation, ideas and dedication in the healthcare sector.

The reward for the hardworking staff?

A kitkat.

Worse than that, not even a hand presented kitkat, but a voucher included in their pay check. I have to be honest I would be pretty offended myself.

The upper management claim that the gift was “misinterpreted” and


“It’s a way of thanking everyone – lots of ‘thank yous’ to show that we really appreciate staff.


Really? That’s the best you could do? I mean perhaps the hospital employs a million staff and this gesture whilst small, cost a massive £600,000 but I find this unlikely, I mean for such a prestigious reward you would at least expect a bottle of wine! Maybe even a small cash bonus in your pay check.

This attitude, I find in my experience is typical of higher management (yes I know I’m generalising!! That’s why I said in my experience!)  

I have lost count of the amount of boss’s I have had who have suggested offering a Can of Coke to the person who sells the most X or the staff member that puts the most cash through the till. But when considering for many of us our bonus’s are essentially won or lost by these people and depending on your profession these can be substantial sums, it seems somewhat insulting to offer them a fizzy beverage as their only reward for a job well done.

An argument often used is that these people are paid as it is to do their job, anything extra you give them even if it is only a chocolate bar, fizzy beverage or a free McDonalds it is above and beyond that and they should be grateful, but if that is the case why do us management types deserve any kind of reward for hitting our targets?

Generally getting an award such as the one mentioned above, or any equivalent within our own industries requires going above and beyond what we are simply paid to do, in terms of management this is driven either by the potential financial incentive offered for over performance, an individual drive to succeed and progress within our careers or sometimes just blind luck, but for the standard staff member as general rule they are expected to perform above and beyond with the thanks of their boss being there only reward.

Don’t get me wrong sometimes a well timed Thank You or Well Done can be enough to lift your spirits for the day, make you feel valued and inspire you to greater heights the following day, but that can very quickly be undone by berating them a few days later for them having a day that wasn’t quite so good.

A business that has the right idea when it comes to rewarding its staff is John Lewis, not only do their staff have a say in what happens with in the business but they all share in the company’s success, all the way from the Chairman down to the shelf stackers, in 2010 for example every “partner” as they are called, received a bonus of 18% of their salary based on the company’s performance. It wasn’t as good this year, only 14%, but thats still 14% more than most retail workers will see in the way of “thanks”, and despite the economic downturn they still managed to increase like for like sales and create jobs. In an environment where most retailers are suffering and reducing headcounts this to me seems to say that it is at least an idea worth looking at.

It’s a model that I’m sure wouldn’t and doesn’t work for everyone, but it is one that recognises that the success of the business as a whole is built upon the performance of each and every individual who works there and rewards them accordingly, and that in itself is clearly going to inspire every member to perform to the best of their ability as they realise that their contribution is valuable.

On a totally unrelated note, thats it one month straight!! I have now posted every single day in the month of May!

  1. June 1, 2012 at 10:59 am


  2. June 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    My last christmas bonus was a $5 gift certificate to a coffee shop. Same as last year. I don’t drink coffee. Nothing would have been better; I’d rather be ignored than insulted.
    Also, congrats. next level is to go a month with a 500 word quota.

  1. July 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

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