How to balance your recognition strategy with experiential rewards

Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll say that one of my favourite words to use when talking about reward is ‘balance’.

I’m not sure if that’s because I spent my formative years fighting to stay on a balance beam as a competitive gymnast, or because I’m a strong believer in a balanced approach to rewards.

Either way, I’m keen to achieve balance when it comes to rewards strategy, programmes and even communication.


With this in mind I’d like to address balance when it comes to the topic of recognition, which is one of the key levers for engagement.

Balance with recognition is critical, for as humans and individuals we’re so different in how we want and expect to be recognised. For some it’s a simple thank you, whether in person or through an e-card, for others it’s public recognition, with a spotlight being shone upon them in front of their colleagues, and for others it’s through a cash award or a special gift.

These are all great, contributing to balance by recognising in a variety ways, and definitely ones which we should continue to use (or consider if we are not doing so already). Another one to consider when developing a recognition strategy is something which is called ‘experiential recognition’.

Experiential recognition is just what you’d think it is, rewarding and recognising employees with experiences. This is a growing industry, and will most likely continue to grow as studies show that experiences bring people more happiness than possessions.

According to a survey conducted by Dan Gilbert, Harvard University psychology professor and author of Stumbling on Happiness, 57% of respondents reported greater happiness from an experiential purchase, and only 34% said the same about a material purchase.

This is even more true when it comes to millennials. According to a study by Harris Poll and Eventbrite, 78% of millennials would rather pay for an experience than material goods, showing the importance of experiences.

Now as a writer I thought it was my ‘duty’ to try out one of these experiences. So thanks to provider Truly Experiences, who provide experiences ranging from whiskey or wine tastings to exclusive meet and greets with Michelin-starred chefs to behind-the-scenes tours of Formula 1 and even an immersive Mi6 experience with ex-agents, I was given an experience to try out with my husband.

We were treated to a six course tasting menu at a Michelin-star restaurant in London, and it was just as it was described, extraordinary! We were made to feel special from the beginning to the end, and the experience will definitely be something we’ll both remember for a long time.

Isn’t this how you want your employees to feel when you recognise them, special, with a lasting memory of your gift to them? Not only will they remember it, but so will the person who shared the experience with them, which in my case was my husband. Next time my company asks me to go above and beyond to get some work done I can just picture my husband saying ‘go on hon, do the work so we can enjoy another lovely experience together.’

A final benefit of experiential recognition was something Jack Huang, co-founder of Truly Experiences shared with me about the three touches of this kind of recognition. He explained that “An experience is unique because it gives recognition in three stages: the anticipation, the event itself, and the memories after.’

As you can see, I’m a fan of experiential recognition, even more so after my lovely experience. I believe it should have a firm place within our recognition strategy, and balance alongside other non-cash and cash recognition awards. Together they create a robust and effective recognition programme which can achieve our objectives of engaging our staff - which leads to employees making better decisions, being more productive and more innovative.

This article was supplied by Reward Gateway

Associated Supplier

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