The internet slammed a boss who told an employee via email that a “pat on the back” is “worth more” than financial compensation.
A screenshot of the email was shared in Reddit’s “Antiwork” forum on Wednesday by u/Beebjank, the employee, who said he received the email in response to a bonus request. The post has garnered more than 27,000 upvotes and over 1,800 comments from angry Redditors, many of whom argued that the employer’s email proves he doesn’t value his employees.
In his post, u/Beebjank explained that “after working overtime during one [of] the top five biggest events in [his] state,” his boss sent an email to the entire team, thanking them for their hard work.
“To everyone that worked [redacted] this year including those that worked extra shifts to help with coverage [,] thank you all very much. Collectively, you got windburned, rained on, got cold, got sore feet, worked long hours, missed sleep and had your personal vehicle struck by a gator,” the email read.
“Everyone’s efforts were, and are, greatly appreciated. We had a successful [redacted] and gallery opening because of these efforts,” the email concluded.
In response to the email, u/Beebjank replied: “Does this mean we get a bonus?”
About 45 minutes later, his boss responded: “A pat on the back is worth more than any monetary increase.”
However, some experts may disagree.
In 2020, Harvard Business Review (HBR) encouraged employers to dole out spot bonuses—bonuses paid “on the spot” for a “specific behavior, action or result”—as they may help employees feel “more satisfied.”
HBR added that spot bonuses “may improve team performance” and give companies the opportunity to “demonstrate” their priorities.
Speaking to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Lauren Sejen, Watson Wyatt’s practice director for strategic rewards, said that spot bonuses are “one of the most underutilized forms of rewards, given how well employees respond to them.”
John Dantico, a principal at The HR Group, added that spot bonuses are a “great tool” that “should be used often.”
Commenters agreed that, given everything they know about u/Beebjank’s situation, his boss should have doled out bonuses. Not doing so, they argued, proves he doesn’t truly “appreciate” his employees.
“When they say they ‘appreciate you,’ but don’t give any compensation for it, then they don’t even appreciate you,” wrote u/DweEbLez0.
“They obviously don’t value you there and just see you as workhorses they can beat,” said u/manspider14.
“F**k your pat on the back, dude. Just saying ‘your efforts are appreciated’ doesn’t actually do s**t,” added u/toudoumtoudoum.
u/Beebjank told Newsweek that he has not had any further discussions with his boss about the bonus, but he does plan on talking to him soon.
“I haven’t had a raise in two years so that’s something I’d like to discuss. I would like to rally my co-workers together to collectively try and get a raise, as it’s worked before,” he said.
As it turns out, u/Beebjank’s post isn’t the first from “Antiwork” to spark outrage amongst online commenters.
Last month, Redditors encouraged one woman to look for a new job, after her son took to the forum to share that her job was “in jeopardy” for taking time off to care for him following emergency surgery. Angry commenters also accused one business of “stealing” employees’ wages after a sign that read, “Late NO tips,” went viral in the forum.
Last week, commenters slammed one boss’s response to the death of her employee’s mother.