Participation certificate in school Vs reward in workplace

I don’t know which category you belong to. Yay, to the idea that all kids should get 5 stars or A rating (whichever rating system is followed) in schools because they are kids. Or nay to that irrational idea of equal rating just because they are kids after all school is a place where the idea is to inculcate real-world life skills as much as possible. Real-world is full of competition. You run it, win it, lose it, stand beside and watch it; it’s a race and a competition one way or the other. Even if you don’t want to compete with someone else, you have to compete with yourself, you want to improve your PR. So kids should be taught to compete. That would be the naysayer’s point of view.

Whichever category you belong to, now let’s take that to our workplaces.

All these rewards and awards for employees to motivate them, what is it if not A rating for everyone just to show up? How different is it from the coddling of young children with a 5-star rating? When a company pays an employee handsomely (or peanuts but it still pays) for the work one delivers as per the agreement in the contract, why is there an expectation from employees to get a reward and award at every sneeze-like achievement? It’s not the year-end award a student who was an all-rounder or great at studies or sports gets at the end of the year. It’s not the employee of the year award for that one distinguished employee that’s in question. The award and reward system are so inundated in orgs these days because some book or some thought leader recommended that’s a way to keep employees motivated, every employee who delivers basic stuff feels entitled to the award – how is it any different from a 5-star rating given to all kids just for showing up.

Where is the meaning of the award? Where is the motivation to be that super employee if every employee is motivated and appreciated to deliver an average outcome and still get to own an award? Equity of opportunity is different from the equity of prizes, it only risks breeding apathy and ineptitude.

Have you ever wanted to work hard or challenge yourself for that award that everyone gets? Even if you get that award have you ever felt special about it? Be honest and remember the time you were proud of the award you received. It would definitely be the time when you put an awful amount of time and energy and differentiated yourself from others to get that award. A 5-star rating for all kids will never prepare them for life. The award and rewards at every corner of an employee’s life will utmost give them kick for a week, forget the motivation for the next quarter!

Do you want a participation certificate or an award?

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