One of the best ways to ensure that your employees stay satisfied with their jobs is to offer employee recognition and appreciation programs. Many businesses honor an employee of the month, someone who excels in his daily work or otherwise sets himself apart from other employees. Being employee of the month can bring everything from public recognition to prizes and perks, but there are certain qualities that most companies look for when making the designation.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Businesses are free to set their own "employee of the month" criteria, but most programs are built around work performance, commitment, consistency and going the extra mile.
The employee of the month is generally someone exceeds the expectations of her job. She arrives on time, works her entire shift and stays late if necessary to complete assigned tasks correctly and on time. Simply doing your job isn’t enough, though. Finding a better or more efficient way to complete a task, or volunteering to complete a project that no one else wants to do, can also lead to extra recognition. Anticipating problems before they occur, and taking steps to avoid them, is a common reason employees win the employee of the month designation.
Meeting Specific Criteria
In some cases, being named employee of the month is a result of one particular action. Handling an emergency or difficult situation without being asked or offering a solution to a problem can earn you the designation. Some companies have specific, tangible criteria for the employee of the month, such as making the most sales or landing the most new customers. The criteria can change on a monthly basis, as the company works toward its goals, provided employees are aware of the criteria required for the next month. For example, one month the employee of the month could be the person with the highest sales numbers, while the next month the award could go to the employee who sold the most of a particular product.
Consistency is Key
Some employee of the month programs reward consistency. If you always greet customers with a smile and take extra care to make sure that your clients are satisfied, you could earn the award. Consistently demonstrating a positive attitude, working toward the team goals and putting your own interests aside can earn you recognition. Sometimes, just showing perseverance and a commitment to doing your best in the face of overwhelming obstacles can lead to being the employee of the month.
Not a Popularity Contest
One of the major criticisms of employee of the month awards is that the awards are given out on a subjective basis and often turn into a popularity contest of who is the boss’ favorite. Some of the subjectivity is removed when the criteria are goal-based, but in businesses where the winner is designated by nominations and voting, you can increase your chances of being named employee of the month by making an effort to get along with your coworkers and maintaining a positive attitude.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer on topics including lifestyle, education, and business. She is the author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), and her work has appeared in Lewiston Auburn Magazine, Young Money, USA Today and a variety of online outlets. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.