Congratulations. You received a SPOT award for the month of September 2013 – A mail that intruded my email inbox. I was astonished and was happy to see my performance been rewarded with SPOT award. Soon the news spread across other team members since my manager forwarded the email to others in the team. Each of the team member walked in to my cabin, congratulated and in no time asked for a treat. The evening snack went from my pocket puncturing my already starving bank account. Who bothers? I received SPOT award.
The celebrations continued in my home also with a special dinner and the whole night went on talking about how I was selected for the award leaving others in the team. I was on air as though I received Grammy award and was delivering winning speech. I also whispered that other team members will be holding grudge on me.
A week gone. The results of annual appraisal was out. I was confident to get a good rating based on my discussions with manager. My dumbness; I was given rating 3 – Met the expectations despite late night working hours and by taking lot of additional org related responsibilities. Hang on. I also received a SPOT award. Then why was the question scorching my head. I stepped in to my manager’s cabin, had a discussion in fact a sort of fight but nothing helps. I will be losing part of my annual bonus and less hikes because of rating 3.
I understood that rest of my team members who are on my grade level received either 2 or 1 and will be getting good payouts and hikes.
It made me to think are those awards really worth. The award which has no monetary value but just a piece of sugar coated paper has not added anything to me. Lately I also understood that I was selected for the award, so that I don’t ask more questions on my appraisal rating. A typical managerial ploy that did nothing other than me losing some bucks from my pocket.
Now why am I writing my year old experience at this time. My above experience was from an employee perspective. But we need to hear the truth from the horse mouth employers. Recently I came across an employer stating what an award means to them. Here are the excerpts from counter affidavit filed by TCS in Madras High Court about GEMS award that is been awarded to their employees.
“The TCS GEMS recoginition is not given for any outstanding contribution but is recognition for involvement in any initiatives of the company. The reliance on such awards and recognition does not in any manner confer any additional rights to the Petitioner”. It also added “This is in view of the high attrition rate across the sector”.
The above affidavit clearly says few things:
- Awards are not given for exceptional contribution and always for good performers
- It’s a trick to retain employees and exploit more work from the employees
- It can easily divide the employees and make a grudge feeling among the employees
- Awards will not save you when you are on firing list
Next time when you receive an award, beware. You may be pulled into a trap by the management at a later stage.
PS: Awards like SPOT , GEMS , Feather in my cap , etc just differ in the name but with same meaning to an IT employee.
( Ponraj M , the article author is a FITE member working in IT company in Bengaluru)
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