Employee engagement: Rewards and Recognition

April 4, 2022

One of the most effective engagement strategies you can have for your employees is to give out rewards and recognitions. They are an excellent way to acknowledge and give bonuses to employees who stand out fun and transparently.

Some rewards can include spoken and written words of appreciation, occasional public shout-outs, various gift vouchers, and monthly, quarterly or yearly awards. With this, you can already tell the difference between rewards and recognitions.

While rewards are more physical, recognitions deal with the mental part. In this article, we will closely examine what a successful rewards and recognitions program should look like, what we are missing, and how not to structure them. 

Benefits of a sound recognition system

Having your employees “go the extra mile” is an excellent way to stimulate great teamwork. This will also encourage them to grow and give them the necessary moral boost for their performance. When you recognize your employees’ efforts in their work, it will increase their productivity.

Not only that, but when employers acknowledge their efforts, it will build a stronger relationship between them and inspire loyalty. Turnaround is just lower when employees are satisfied and confident in their workplace. All of this, in turn, will help build your company’s reputation.

This will benefit your product or service as a whole and help in recruiting future employees as word of mouth spreads rapidly in the community.

Setting up a sound reward system

Before you officially start, you must have a clear goal in mind. How much will it cost, the benefits, and what do people do to participate in it. Next, you need to appoint someone to lead the program. After that, you can tap someone from outside the reward program or make your team managers responsible. Each one has its drawbacks and benefits.

Make the rules clear and reward immediately. Never delay the reward as that can have the opposite effect and cancel out the good moral gained by winning. Once you iron out all the rules, have a meeting to go over everything to see if there is something you overlooked. After the meeting, make a document with the precise regulations printed, and you are ready to go.

Types of rewards and recognitions

Here we will delve deeper into the rewards and recognition we can give our employees after the program is ready. The easiest way to reward your employees is with a cash bonus or gift cards. Then, starting the 1st of next month, it can appear on their paycheck, and it can be spent on whatever the employee wants. Next, you can give out stock options.

If your company is starting and a competitive salary isn’t within your capability, giving stock options is always a good idea. Plus, when your company becomes more successful, it can be a better overall deal in the long run. 

Verbal recognition of one’s accomplishment in a weekly meeting is always welcome when it comes to praise. Next, you can always mention someone’s contributions in a company-wide email or announcement. You can also set up company titles and have them reviewed quarterly or every year. Some titles can even carry some authority, like picking gift cards, choosing the next project, etc. 

What can we be missing with Rewards and Recognitions?

We could be missing a few essential things with our rewards and recognitions programs and should ask ourselves some critical questions before starting one.

  • Will the activities we have planned divide or bring our employees closer together?
  • Should our employees spend a lot of energy on something that will only lift one individual?
  • Are we right to only recognize individuals who excel in one particular aspect of our business while others work just as hard?
  • Will all of this create bad blood between my employees, which will undoubtedly negatively impact my business?

To answer these simply is saying that if everyone is recognized or rewarded, no one is. If everyone in a baseball game gets a participation trophy, won’t that undermine someone’s genuine effort? Why would anyone be inspired to go far and beyond if no one will recognize or reward their efforts?


As humans, we are hired wired to seek acknowledgment and affirmation when we complete a task, especially if that task is completed to warrant praise. A big part of why employees find work satisfaction is when they know that what they do matters.

One of the first questions we ask when we meet someone is what they do. If they go to a soulless place that hits target numbers and offers no incentives apart from a paycheck, they will only sigh at the question.

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