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Badges and Points for a Job Well-Done

Companies are going to extensive efforts to get employees to praise each other every day. Some companies give employees a monthly number of points that they can award to their peers. The points are redeemable for retail gift cards or other perks such as free lunch with the boss. Other companies encourage employees to publicly thank their peers and give them compliments for a job well done using internal social media channels. For example, Vanguard, an investment company, allows employees to send e-cards to each other in appreciation for good work, assistance, or to celebrate accomplishments such as a work anniversary. At Webfor, a marketing agency, each month employees give a top team perfomer a picture of the Monkey of Awesomeness. SeatGeek has a leaderboard showing which employees give and receive the most points; the average employee gets recognized over 30 times each year. United Road Services uses Microsoft Teams’ Praise feature to allow employees to send digital badges such as mountains (for achievement) and unicorns (for awesomeness) to each other. 

Questions for Students 

How do the examples described in the case support the idea of continuous performance management? 

What are some advantages and potential disadvantages of relying on employees to praise each other using points and digital badges? 

Would receiving praise in the form of messages, points, or online badges influence your level of engagement? Explain your answer.  

Note to Instructors 

This case gives you the opportunity to discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of social performance management. Hey Taco at shows an example of a praise system. You might want to ask students what they think of systems that allow employees to give each other praise in the form of points and badges. Many will describe such systems as silly, political, and easy to manipulate. Most have experience with such systems outside of a work context using text messaging and Facebook. You can also ask students to complete the Self-Assessment in Connect, which assesses their attitudes toward receiving feedback. You can compare their attitudes toward receiving feedback with their answer to Question #3. Those with a positive attitude toward receiving feedback will likely report that receiving praise will increase their level of engagement.  

Source: T. Chen, “Forget Employee of the Month – Try Praising Colleagues Every Day”, The Wall Street Journal (March 30, 2022): A1, A12.