Praise Or Raise?

The rate of staff resignation had hit an all-time high in the company, and Priye was charged with the responsibility of fixing it. His shoulders sagged as he felt the weight of his task. He picked up a pen and tried to come up with a plan – he had to analyse the exit forms, hold one-on-one sessions with current staff, rely on past experience and pray very hard for it to work.

Plan in hand, he swung into action. Due to the diverse demography of staff, Priye thought to analyse based on – age, sex and criticality of function (yes, the “cash-cows” had to get their own category). Priye had spent half of the week looking through exit forms, it was finally time for the one-on-one sessions. He looked over his pre-set questions and wondered why the list was so long.

As he stepped into the meeting room, he whispered a quiet prayer; and he felt strongly in his spirit to ditch the notes and ask one question only – Who would you rather be and why? Options are, Mandela or Jeff Bezos.

What does that have to do with rewards and recognition in the workplace? The responses revealed a lot.

Staff 1 – “Mandela, he was selfless, a true leader and beloved by all. I would like to be known for my selflessness and influence; money is fickle, but impact will give you goodwill, which will in-turn give you unlimited access.”

Staff 2 – “Jeff of course! What’s a good life without money? Inflation rate, bills to pay and siblings to care for. Who goodwill epp? Give me the money and the influence will follow.”

Staff 3 – “Hmmm… Jeff or Mandela? I choose Bill Gates. He has both money and impact; I’d rather have it all. What rule says it has to be ‘either/or’, it can be ‘and’ right?”

Priye left that meeting room with more questions than answers. Who said praise and a raise have to be mutually exclusive. Obviously some prefer one to the other, but if given the chance, will they pick both? As he opened his laptop to prepare the presentation; the answer became clear – none of his interviewees were right; neither were they wrong. They spoke based on their preferences and experiences.

Priye made up his mind to recommend a hybrid; a combination of both. He reckoned it would be nice to announce his promotion and why he was promoted; or get a plaque that says ‘Employee of the month’! The pressure to choose one, has left a lot of people sad but rich or happily poor. As a member of staff who contributes to the growth of your company, whether you get a raise or praise – you deserve some accolades!

What are the reward and recognition practices in your organisation? Which would you prefer or are you like Staff 3?

Please, do share your preferences and experiences with us in the comments.

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