Reward and recognition – how to get your employees to embrace it

The competition for attracting the most talented individuals in the job market is ever increasing and businesses are having to outdo rival firms by offering a great overall package to stand out and impress.

Reward and recognition – how to get your employees to embrace it

An appealing reward and recognition scheme is another string to your bow to attract and retain employees. The right scheme will increase motivation, engagement and productivity, improve your culture, embed values and build loyalty.

The benefits of offering your employees a scheme of this type are clear and if you follow our tips below, you’ll be on track to establish a successful programme for your organisation that your employees will love.

Set specific criteria

Your employees need to fully understand what they need to do to be considered for a reward. If it’s clear, it’s much more motivational for them, as they can really strive to exceed in their day-to-day tasks and produce some exceptional work. Spell out what actions or qualities you want to see so your staff can tailor their behaviour accordingly, and explain to them why these are so important to you.

Link to goals

The most successful schemes are aligned with the business values and goals, and reinforces everyone working together to achieve their vision and targets. When you reflect your core values and your employees can see what you’re rewarding, you will see an increase in the right behaviours for your company.

Make it fair

The scheme needs to apply to every single employee in your business, from the bottom to the top, and needs to be consistent in how it rewards. Failing to do this will damage the perception of the scheme being fair and will harm its authenticity. It’s vital that you offer peer-to-peer nominations as well as manager to employee too. This avoids accusations of favouritism and it encourages a real sense of support and builds strong teams.

Make it timely

Your system should have the ability to be able to offer instant recognition. The closer to rewarding the action after it’s happened, the better. The more often rewards can be made, the higher the take up will be. Social platform recognition is increasingly popular and really encourages peer-to-peer nominations which are public and visible to everyone. Making awards monthly or less won’t yield positive results as it just isn’t frequent enough for people’s expectations.


This is key, both in terms of quality and quantity. As above, you need all your employees to really understand what is expected from them and to buy-in to the principle. Communications must be simple and to the point. You’ll want to shout about your new scheme when you launch, but also keep communicating regularly, encouraging nominations, as well as sharing and celebrating achievements.

Be visible

Making recognition public increases the impact it makes and encourages others to step up, as they can see there are attainable rewards and are clear what sort of behaviour is valued.

Offer the right rewards

You’ll need to make sure the rewards you’re offering are tempting to your employees. That may sound obvious but one-size-doesn’t-fit-all, so offer a range of gifts and experiences that will appeal to the demographics of your workforce. Make the rewards things people will really want to go above and beyond to achieve and it’s particularly effective if you offer both individual and team rewards.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be on course to introduce a scheme that your workforce will really embrace.

You’ll be able to judge the performance easily as the data the reward and recognition system will provide will show the percentage of your workforce using the scheme, and you should see an improvement in your retention rates. You can also assess the scheme with surveys asking specific questions to assess if engagement is increasing and whether employees have an increased understanding of your values. Using these insights, you’ll be able to fine-tune your offering and see if there are employees who need help or encouragement to utilise it.

The author is Neil Bowen, commercial director from You at Work.

This article was provided by You at Work.

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