3 Ways Transparent Rewards and Recognition Boost Employee Engagement

It’s no secret that businesses who show appreciation to their employees will often have better overall performance results.

And it makes sense, really. You show appreciation for hard work, and your employees will be more inclined to go above and beyond the call of duty because they know they’ll be acknowledged for their efforts.

Rewards and recognition schemes are perfect for appreciating the everyday amazing in the workplace and supporting positive behaviours. They not only bring out the best in employees, but they can also make your workplace an attractive place to be for aspirational and talented workers looking for their next career move.

So far, so good. But there’s more to rewards and recognition than the simple act of saying ‘thank you’. This is where scheme transparency plays a bigger role than you may think…


Rewards and recognition schemes are truly effective when they’re clear and transparent to everyone. By this, we mean that all employees understand and acknowledge the actions and behaviours that are essentially worthy of being recognised or rewarded. Ideally, they should follow in the footsteps of your company’s mission, vision and values.

This is where, in our experience at least, many organisations’ recognition and rewards strategies fail to make the tangible difference they hoped for.

It’s all well and good splurging on rewards for employees to acknowledge or incentivise hard work; but, if there are inconsistencies or uncertainties as to the effort required to be recognised or rewarded, your strategy may fail to spark anything other than apathy.

Luckily, there are three simple, core actions you can take that ensure your rewards and recognition scheme is transparent for all – giving it the best chance to flourish and boost employee engagement within your business:

1. Give your employees an understanding of how their role positively impacts your organisation’s goals and success

One common barrier to true employee engagement is people feeling a disconnect between their role and how if affects a business – basically, that horrible feeling of being just another cog in a rather large machine.

If someone is being recognised or rewarded, it’s because their behaviour or performance in the workplace has had a ripple of positivity throughout their team or wider business. And that can be anything; from pitching in with a critical proposal at short notice, to smashing a work-based target or even just making everyone’s life at work that little bit more pleasant every day.

Whilst this might not be so much a problem in a startup or SME, when it comes to large multinationals, it’s easy for employees to feel like their just another face in the crowd where their work is simply part of the routine.

To alleviate this, incorporate the positive impacts your employees can make right from the very beginning of their employment experience and make it easy for employees to highlight and shine a light on the good stuff that’s going on in the business.

Taking this approach not only aligns your people to your own objectives; it also empowers them to go the extra mile more often as they’ll not only know the value of their contributions, but also that their actions are having a recognisable and positive effect on the business and people.

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2. Explain how the programme works and how employees can receive rewards and recognition for their efforts.

Next up, ensure that your programme is clearly explained and understood by all – sounds like common sense, right? But you’d be surprised! A common mistake is to include information within employee contracts or welcome documents, but not to publish it or make it visible anywhere else!

Your rewards and recognition programme should be at the heart of your internal communications and the good stuff that goes on in your organisation should be recognised and shouted about often. This could be in the form of a monthly company communication, informal email or something a little more special when someone has really gone above and beyond.

3. Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk!

Finally, and most importantly perhaps – follow through on your strategy and don’t let it become a just another flash-in the pan.

Along with the act of rewarding and recognising your people, make sure you keep tabs on how your strategy is working. Pulse surveys, informal drop-in sessions and more formal 1-1s or appraisals are your opportunity to see if your employees are truly engaging with your programme, and also understand how they can be a part of it; plus, they’ll be more engaged with your programme if they feel their ideas or suggestions are being taken on board.


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