The case against perfect-attendance awards.

To combat this historic labor shortage, more employers are using a trick from elementary school--perfect-attendance awards--to motivate employees to come to work. But such awards aren't the best carrots. Here's why:

  1. It won't motivate those who feel it's too lofty of a goal. The same employees will keep getting the award. The others won't care or bother.

  2. It could generate more absences. How? Employees seeking a perfect record may work when sick--thus infecting co-workers.

  3. It punishes non-abusers. You may have to take the award away from a good worker who has the bad luck of car trouble.

  4. It could trigger FMLA trouble. You can't count FMLA absences against employees. That could lead to confusion--and resentment. Example: A...

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