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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: Hospital staff stick two fingers up to Kit Kat reward


Managers at Torbay Hospital have been accused of “insensitivity” after giving employees a Kit Kat each for winning a prestigious award.

South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, was recognised in the Health Service Journal awards for “best innovation, ideas and dedication”, while the hospital itself was named acute healthcare organisation of the year.
About 20 of its staff and managers celebrated at the awards ceremony in London and the rest were given Kit Kat vouchers in the hospital’s last round of payslips.
Paul Raybould, branch secretary for Torbay at the GMB union, told the BBC that he had received around 30 complaints about the move.
“Management got a slap-up meal and we got only a 60p Kit Kat. They feel they are worth more than that,” he said. “It’s a sign of management not thinking outside the box. They have just made themselves a laughing stock.”
The hospital’s chief executive, Paula Vasco-Knight, apologised to those workers who were offended. She believed that the gift had been “misinterpreted”, but added that she had received hundreds of thank-you emails from other employees.
“It’s a way of thanking everyone – lots of ‘thank yous’ to show that we really appreciate staff. I apologise to staff who felt insulted,” she said, adding that she would “think of other ways of thanking staff”.

2 Responses

  1. When rewards go wrong the cost can be high!

    Although this is a fairly clear-cut example of a less than generous reward, what would it take to disappoint a member of your staff? How many employers would be able to answer? 

    Companies should review and benchmark their reward and recognition policies at least every three years and ensure they’re abreast of the current industry best practice. If there is an element of uncertainty about the cost, always err on the side of generosity applying the simple but indefatigable test “How would I personally react if given this?”

    Of course, in today’s struggling economy rewards must be carefully administered. The impressive rewards offered in more fruitful days are unlikely to be feasible but, nevertheless, if an employer chooses to offer a token gesture of thanks it should make the employee feel valued. There is nothing worse, after the reward has been presented than an incensed employee saying; “No, you really shouldn’t have!” at the same time thinking “Is that all I am worth? Is that all they really think of me? I’ve worked hard for them for many years and all they gave me was a… KitKat!”

  2. Have a break, have a Kit Kat

    Personally I love Kit Kats…  but of course, the real issue is the differential here.   How the heck do people come up with such stupid schemes and not realise they might backfire?


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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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