Reward and Recognition: Appreciation or Alienation

Dec 18 / Vivienne Bezuidenhout
Who’s ready for some R&R? Not only Rest and Relaxation, or maybe Rum and Raspberry, but also Reward and Recognition!

It’s that time of year when we celebrate our achievements, appreciate our colleagues, and have some fun along the way. 

Revitalise and retain with real-time R&R 

When done properly, Reward and Recognition (the actual R&R in this instance) should be a consistent part of the employee experience (EX) throughout the year – not only saved for year-end functions. In providing employees with timely, frequent, and consistent feedback and appreciation, as well as tangible and intangible rewards for their performance and behaviour, you are recognising that employees need and want immediate and ongoing recognition and rewards, rather than waiting for annual or quarterly reviews or events. 

Tactics like these are leading the way by blending R&R in real time:
  • EX platforms that offer social recognition. Employees can acknowledge performance through peer-to-peer recognition, as well as earn points, badges, or trophies, for their achievements and contributions. 

  • Gamification techniques, like leaderboards, challenges, or quests, make use of game elements to make work more fun and rewarding, and to incentivise employees to reach their goals and compete with their peers. 

  • Spot awards like gift cards, vouchers, or experiences still have their place when given to employees on the spot, without any formal process or criteria, to celebrate their accomplishments or efforts. 

The importance of R&R in EX

Incremental acknowledgement or appreciation increases the sense of belonging, boosts morale, and spurs performance – instead of employees feeling unseen, undervalued, and disengaged. At a biological level, appreciation triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that’s crucial for social bonding and good vibes, which ultimately produces happiness and positivity in the workplace, and a lower likelihood of churn. 

Custom-fit and context-specific

To drive a positive EX (and retain your talent), you need to have a robust R&R strategy that takes the individual into account. What motivates one employee might be irrelevant to another, so start by understanding the various personas in your company. By offering employees a choice and a voice in their benefits and related R&R, you’ll demonstrate that you care about your people as individuals, and that you value their input and feedback. And by tailoring your offering to specific needs and interests, you’ll be on the cutting edge with a reward system that’s relevant, meaningful, and impactful for your employees. 

Showing some love

R&R need not be an elaborate or expensive exercise. There are many ways for employers to show appreciation and gratitude for their employees’ contributions, achievements, and desired behaviours. Verbal praise, sharing feedback, awards, bonuses, incentives, benefits, perks, and career opportunities are all forms of R&R. But to be effective, they need to be aligned with the company’s strategy, culture, and values, as well as the employees’ needs, preferences, and expectations. 

By offering your people a variety of rewards, both monetary and non-monetary, you’ll appeal to different employee preferences and motivations, and create a culture of recognition and reward that really counts.

Use these insights to lure and light up your biggest assets – your people – and watch how you’ll be rewarded in return!  

Contact us to find out more about persona mapping and our social EX platform for gamification, and R&R.