A Bank and an Agent

I was in a local bank recently. I walked in to deposit a check… because somehow doing so inside a bank somehow registers the deposit more quickly then it does when I send it through an ATM (and I like getting my money quick with no mistakes). As the agent at the front kiosk was completing my transaction and registering it into my account, I noticed a certificate on his desk. The wording on the certificate looked something like this:

This certificate is presented to BLAH Blah BLAHHH
for reaching the highest level of service to our customers…
In recognition of your high level of service blah blah bank rewards you with…

“Now that is pretty cool.” I thought. “Not only do they get a little certificate of recognition but the customers get to see what they received.” Hell, it even said  “High Level.” I thought it was cool until I happened to look over and see the same certificate with a different name. The next agent had it. Then I saw another, until I noticed that pretty much all of the front windows had them.

Mind you, my agent did not provide bad service, but I don’t think that he or the rest of the agents particularly looked as if they were hell bent on providing me with this elusive “high level” of customer service in which the certificate spoke of. Maybe their unhappy and melancholy faces were a result of the end of the work day or maybe it was something else.

What’s the point?

I think it is great to be recognized for the work we do. When someone goes above and beyond the call of duty, the recognition they receive - whether in the form of gift card, certificate, merit increase and/or pat on the back in front of your peers - can build a sense of confidence. It can show to others, whether it be your team or the larger organization, that you are actually doing more then what is required by your pay check.

But just a few questions:

  • When does recognition become the reward itself?
  • At what point do you separate the two?
  • What is the point of getting a certificate that everyone else can get?
  • When you give it out like this, doesn’t that recognition or reward become expected by the reciever versus an expectation to reach?

At some point doesn’t the act of handing out pieces of paper water down the whole purpose of the recognition? Or maybe it is just one of the many ”high level” steps that all the people reach no matter what they do?

What do you think? Do I have any business even bringing this up?

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