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I have a gesture for you

August 2nd, 2006 · No Comments · Stupidity

Dear Human Resource Departments:

It is a fine notion to try and find ways to thank and recognize your employees. Being appreciated at work is rewarding and motivating, and doesn’t have to cost much.

For example, giving a small gift to acknowledge five years of service is a nice gesture. Ideally, here’s how it should work:

  • Once a month, run a report that shows any five year anniversaries coming up in the next 30 days.
  • Order the required number of gifts in advance of those anniversaries
  • On the day of the anniversary, have someone hand deliver the gift to the employee, and say a brief thanks.

That shouldn’t be too hard to do. It actually sounds like possibly one of the nicer aspects of being in Human Resources.

Here’s how it shouldn’t work:

  • Don’t do anything to keep track of when anniversaries are coming.
  • Wait for the employees to ask for their service reward, often long after the date has passed.
  • Order the gift after they ask about it, and tell them they will have to wait a few weeks.
  • Forget to order the gift.
  • Wait for the employee to ask again after a month.
  • Maybe order the gift the now, maybe not.
  • When the gift comes in, don’t do anything.
  • Wait for the employee to ask again after another month.
  • Ignore the employee’s email inquiry for a few days
  • Wait for the employee to ask yet again.
  • Let them know the gift arrived a few weeks ago, and they can come down and pick it up.
  • Upon further comment from the employee, offer to send the gift via interoffice mail.

Because nothing completely undermines a “thank you” like having to badger someone for 10 weeks for a $10 pen.*

Since, let’s be frank, no one really gives a shit about a $10 pen, if you can’t be bothered to give it like a gift instead of handling it like an incompetent disbursement of a rarified office supply, you shouldn’t bother. Instead, just have people come down to H.R. for a slap whenever they feel like a “service reward”. Doesn’t even have to be on their anniversary.

* Please note that this is a generic, hypothetical case. No actual companies were named or harmed in the production of this post. Any resemblance to actual companies, which I may or may not work for, is entirely coincidental, but well deserved.

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