Companies who have instituted monetary or point-based employee recognition programs are waking up today to a stark warning from the National Addiction Research Council (NARC) who estimate that 1-2% of staff in such programs suffer from “clinical addiction” to the program. According to the NARC White Paper:
The idea of encouraging employees to seek points or other financial substitutes which are kept in limited supply but can be handed out to them by a number of senior staff mimics the drug/drug dealer rapport that plagues our inner cities. Getting a first taste of recognition with its accompanying “dopamine effect”– a temporary high that can create an insatiable thirst for the next recognition–creates a dangerous dynamic that may escalate quickly into full-blown addiction. We strongly recommend that companies that have a program with this structure also provide counseling services and facilities to conduct “cold turkey” treatment where staff can be isolated from all recognition until they are addiction-free.
Independent research conducted by The Turunn Tribune concurs with NARC’s findings. We penetrated a well-known Blue Chip company offering “Starlight Points” to workers who display behaviors that their HR consultants designated as desirable. Under condition of strict anonymity, Mr. Stig Hüggens of Fforrfyørd told us:
The “Starlight Rush” is well known within the company and there is a thriving black market for these points. I can no longer concentrate on my actual job, I spend the day trying to become more accountable or think even further out of the box in order to receive my next shot. We need help!
And help is on its way. The Swedish Government is planning to open “Recognition Centers” in one of the two major cities in Sweden, where recognition points will be dispensed free of charge to sufferers. In Mar a Lago the Trump administration is considering a “War on Rewards” and a ban on companies from outside of the USA who they suspect are fueling the epidemic with vast amounts of cheap imported recognition rewards.