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One example of a toxic "recognition" reward comes courtesy of a nameless government agency whose enforcement officers/inspectors would continually face bribery attempts. The rule was that every such incident must be promptly reported. The consequence of compliance was onerous. The agent was immediately relieved of duty and reassigned to DC HQ where they were grilled as suspects. They were accused of having solicited the bribe that was offered, rejected and reported. Despite eventual clearance from potential charges, their career trajectory was inevitably permanently disrupted. The numbers of reported bribery attempts dropped to virtually nil.

The policy was certainly successful in reducing the number of bribes reported. Some doubt still remains about how motivationally effective the morale-destroying rule was.

My goodness, Jim. You make my Saturday complete.

I was just 'looking in' before watching Donald and Hilary shows on TV. There is an industry called 'rewards and recognition' where they tell you that giving the workforce stuff like pens and watches and trips to Nebraska is the way to get work done by people who are 'happy in their work'.

But nothing like your story my friend.

Also interesting, Jay, to note how many of the outfits promoting pens and watches just happen to manufacture such goods. And the biggest R&R vendor who loves to promote trips has a massive travel agency. The world of business is full of such surprises.

AND Worldatwork gives these 'folks' elaborate booths at the conventions and takes big bucks for this sort of nonsense. The 'other' big silliness is the 'business of 'work-life'. This has created a business bigger than the 'R&R' business and created an entirely new 'career' of HR folks implementing all sorts of programs that have absolutely no foundation in credible research of any kind. The people selling 'work-life' are those who provide the 'poll results' suggesting how super it is.

Perhaps a merger between the 'R&R' folks and the 'Work-Life' folks is in the offing? Then you can get a free pencil and a shoe shine at the same time???

Your 'story' is much better, however!!!!!

I just learned that Shinola makes watches now. An investment group bought the name for its new company making luxury wristwatches, fancy bicycles and expensive leather goods. Fits well, too.

A former employer began providing employee of the year awards in the form of an all expense paid trip to a place of the employee's choice up to a certain dollar limit of course. The winner of these awards generally were meant to be the employees who provided services directly to our residents - those on the front lines daily. They were also among the lowest paid so while the intention was good - to provide an opportunity to travel for a family that might otherwise not be able to afford it- the company immediately had to come up with the equivalent offering "or cash of $xxx" in order to give the employee what they really needed and/or wanted. The luxury of a trip was not what some of our employees needed most.

A foreign executive who was an excellent family man called his wife every day when travelling. Treated to a prized week-long fishing trip adventure up the Inland Passage of British Columbia, he freaked out when he discovered the lack of cell phone service. The ship had to reverse course for eight hours to reach a remote First Native village with land phone lines. Rather embarrassing (and expensive) for the sponsor.

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