Recession & Recognition Awards

I Got The Star  (IMG_6851)

(Source: Schristia)

With awards season not far off, I thought this column from last year is useful for those granting awards, and those hoping to receive them.

And the Award goes to

It is that time of the year again: office parties, gala dinners, annual awards, CEO speeches and corporate gifts. Let your hair down and relax for a change. Think again. 2009 has been a bitter sweet year for organisations, multinationals and blue chips included. Annual events are the new luxuries. Companies prefer to hold onto their wallet rather than book five star venues, fly staff to HQ or hire a famous MC. Not to overstate the cost of catering, hotel accommodation and the after party excess. Reading between the lines, why throw cash at hundreds of staff that may be separated from the company in January?

UPDATE: In January 2010, thousands of employees did lose their jobs. Will the same happen in 2011?

In any event, the recession has not only shrunk profits, it has drained the celebratory cheer from management and staff (those blessed enough to still have jobs) alike. You are probably sweating harder, with fewer resources, for less pay than a year ago (exceptions below).

For those companies that are quietly hosting a year end event, take a tip from Hollywood – since 1981, the Golden Rasperry Awards, affectionately known as the Razzies has honoured the worst performances in the industry. Without further delay, here are four twisted awards for the workplace.

1.  Google Master

Given their ubiquitous influence on the web, the Google Master award is accessible to the majority of knowledge workers. This award goes to the individual that demonstrates exceptional search engine skills (search, advanced search, I’m feeling lucky search, search translations). The individual has a supernatural ability; they can go from knowing nothing to being an expert in the field, as fast as Google can serve up pages of results. In the name of “research”, they spent 50%+ of their work time, searching for information.

Having hunted down the required information, it is copy/paste heaven, all the way to the board room, until somebody points out the glaring errors.

Recession Tip: Get Google to pay the salary of this individual in 2010. New employees must not have internet access for the first 100 days or access to a search engine.

2. Meetings Master

You will never guess the winner in this category. It is likely to draw the highest number of contenders, separated by a meeting or two. In the end, only one individual can claim the honour of having attended the most number of meetings this year. Don’t underestimate the work involved to get invited, organise and waffle through these meetings. Only an exceptional individual; could “facilitate” a meeting about the same issue, without resolution, for six consecutive months. Performance? Who said anything about performance?

Recession Tip:  After the award, set up a meeting with the individual to discuss their future in the company. If you hope to salvage any work of value from this individual, get them to do the work during the meeting, not afterwards.

3. Paper Master

Ever received an e-mail, with the message at the end to save the environment, by not printing it?  The individual or team that scoops this award, ignores that message and prints everything, single sided.  

After printing 15629 pages, scan reading 20% of them and throwing another 30% into the trash can, they are unlikely to be worried about saving trees or your printing bill.

Recession Tip:  Deduct from their pay check, the cost of paper, ink and toner.

4. Deployment Master

There are two deserving individuals for this award, so expect stiff competition from managers and staff. The manager that consistently redeploys incompetent individuals to other parts of the company, obviously knows something about managing people. He/she has learnt how to transfer problems before it sinks their career. The employee that collects this award will mention in their acceptance speech, gratitude for “job rotation”, opportunity to work on so many projects and meet different people. (Nobody wants them on their team)

Recession Tip:  The next deployment should be outside the company

Until next month, I’m off to a gala dinner. Don’t be late for those awards.  

(HR Future, November 2009)

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