It is undeniably a challenge for businesses to attract and retain the best talent from a pool of job-savvy professionals. While it is right to say there is a collective of out-of-work job seekers, much of the best talent is already working for you or someone else. To keep your best employees and attract talent from inside or outside of your sector, effective employee rewards and recognition programs are essential, financially-sound, and a sensible strategy to implement.

A dream job is not just about salary

Salary is far from everything in the eyes of professionals. Formal and informal recognition is just as important and a central component of a robust benefits and compensation package. What was once only under the microscope of millenials is now something the whole workforce sees as an essential ingredient of a happy and healthy life. The modern worker is also seeking professional and personal growth coupled with a collaborative working environment and career mobility, in addition to a balanced reward and recognition program.

The benefits of offering employee rewards and recognition

It is essential to leverage and enhance your total package to make your team feel valued, which in turn boosts productivity and increases loyalty. An effective program will positively affect the behaviour of staff when they engage internally with other workers. This positive behaviour is far-reaching and plays a significant role in business-to-client conversations, either face-to-face or over the telephone, creating the right environment for optimal customer service.

Furthermore, when your employee feels loved and valued, the ‘feel-good hormone’ oxytocin is released in the body, which recent studies have shown helps people work better and be more trustworthy.

The Science of Happiness white paper and research conducted by Globalforce found that 67% of employees said that praise from their manager was their top motivator for performance. 78% of employees said they would work harder if they felt appreciated and were better recognised. These findings are supported by a significant amount of other academic research, which should leave employers in no doubt of the importance of recognition. Recognition and employee rewards can deliver a significant Return on Investment (ROI), even where only a small budget is available.

Careful, meaningful, and effective communication

It is vital to create a highly targeted message communicated across traditional and modern communication platforms. Using a medium where employees are engaged and connecting with them at this level is highly advantageous and allows your people to visualise the reward’s full value.

Technical complexity and jargon are significant barriers for employers to overcome, especially when it comes to topics such as retirement, life and medical insurance, and disability. Employers can easily get lost in the density of this information, making it impossible for them to communicate value in a digestible and straightforward way.

Maximising the potential of your employee rewards and recognition program

To meet your objective and maximise the potential of your employee rewards and recognition program, you should ensure your offering follows these fundamental principles:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make it local
  • Ensure inclusion by making it organisation-wide
  • Get employees on board from day one
  • Collect feedback and listen

Keeping it simple will allow you to effectively communicate the reward and its benefits while systematically keeping administration down. Don’t be tempted into a situation where you overload employees with information in an attempt to promote every service and feature.

Making it local ensures your team can make use of the offering and avoids a situation where the reward feels empty. The reward does not have to be big because when it is local, it stimulates frequency. With many touch-points, the program will generate a steady stream of good vibes for the company culture, which will drive the desired outcome.

Getting a diverse group of employees involved will encourage far-reaching conversations that drive buy-in. Often word-of-mouth and the message and impression of employee’s peers will resonate louder than your voice ever can.

Collecting feedback will allow you to announce and celebrate the wins your team members enjoy. This feedback loop will create validation and put a spotlight on the program while putting its benefits into a genuine context that all team members can feel and appreciate.


If you recognise the value in winning the attention of top talent and keeping the employees you have invested in happy and motivated, then you cannot afford not to have a rewards and recognition program.