The latest trends in employee recognition and reward strategy


What are the latest trends in reward and recognition?

How has the pandemic affected trends?

Why is it important to remain on top of trends?

How often should you review your reward and recognition offering?

The latest trends in employee recognition and reward strategy

Does your organisation take employee recognition and rewards seriously?

It should.

A significant majority of HR leaders (84%) stated that implementing an employee recognition platform boosts employee engagement.

If you do have a programme in place that’s great, but are you keeping up to date with the trends in employee recognition?

What are the latest trends in reward and recognition?

Let’s take a look at five of the latest trends in employee recognition.

1. Be more inclusive

The last couple of years have seen a big emphasis on creating a more equitable society, both at a political and corporate level.

Inclusivity is key to rewards and recognition in 2022. With this in mind, make sure your organisation is offering a wide range of rewards that take into account the diversity of your workforce.

This might sound like a daunting prospect, and that’s understandable, especially if you’re responsible for devising a rewards programme for a larger business. Make sure you work with an experienced recognition platform vendor that works with you to identify the best solutions for your organisation and that doesn’t just provide a set platform of generic rewards.

2. Rewards should support every aspect of employee wellbeing

It’s no longer enough to simply reward a job well done with vouchers—you need to look at recognition in a more holistic way.

This includes supporting each pillar of your employees’ wellbeing: physical, mental and financial.

There are business benefits to making sure your people feel looked after too. A study by the HAAS School of Business at UC Berkeley found that employees who felt valued and cared for were 43% more effective and productive.

3. Link recognition to business goals

Your employees want to see hard work rewarded, but do you know what else they value? Understanding what their purpose is.

When your team sees that their work matters they’re 4x as engaged and 175% more productive, so when recognising employee success make sure you’re also tying it back to the impact they’re having on the business and its overall goals.

How has the pandemic affected trends?

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted so many areas of our professional lives, and your organisation’s recognition and rewards strategy is certainly one of them. 

4. Accelerated digitalisation

With remote and hybrid working far more prevalent than before the pandemic, the digitalisation of the workplace has been accelerated. In 2022, it’s likely we’ll see this trend in action when it comes to rewards, with digital recognition platforms that are accessible from anywhere in the world being far more sought after.

5. Increased preference for digital gift cards and vouchers

A part of this push for digitalisation will be an increased preference for digital gift cards.

Vouchers often get accused of being impersonal, but when you consider the distributed nature of the post-Covid workforce, the immediacy and range of choice they offer is a major plus for employers and employees alike.

The IRF Industry Outlook for 2021: Merchandise and Gift Cards report showed that more than one quarter (27%) of respondents had shifted travel incentives budgets to merchandise and gift cards.


Why is it important to remain on top of trends?

Rewards and recognition isn’t a set-and-forget process, and you need to ensure the business is staying on top of trends in employee recognition to keep your policies and processes relevant.

The consequences of failing to effectively reward your employees are clear, but there are also a number of benefits for your business if you get it right.

Reduced staff churn

Reducing staff churn is a big issue for organisations at the moment.

Last year, research found that a quarter of all employees were considering leaving their jobs within three to six months. However, effectively rewarding staff can have a big impact on this.

In fact, the presence of a recognition programme has been shown to reduce voluntary staff churn by 31%.

Better business outcomes

If you’re struggling to secure buy-in from senior management, either for updating your rewards programme or implementing one in the first place, this stat will help.

As part of their longitudinal survey series, Talent 2020, Deloitte found that organisations with an effective recognition platform are 12x more likely to see ‘strong business outcomes’.

Improved talent acquisition

The most effective companies have access to the best and brightest talent, but how can you ensure your business is competitive when it comes to acquisition?

We’ve already touched on how a lack of recognition affects retention, but it’s also key when it comes to acquisition. In fact, WTW found that recognition was a key driver of talent acquisition.


How often should you review your reward and recognition offering?

Your rewards and recognition offering is all about your people. 

If you’re not regularly checking in with your workforce and seeking feedback about every aspect of the organisation, including your recognition platform, employee engagement might not be sustained.

Encourage line managers to ask for feedback about recognition and rewards during 1-to-1s, conduct regular anonymous surveys asking about whether the rewards being offered are valued, and monitor uptake of these rewards closely so you can identify which are performing best and which might not be so popular.

How can you keep up with industry trends?

Regularly reviewing your offering and asking for feedback from employees is key to keeping up with industry trends, but there’s an easier way: working with a provider that has decades of experience in providing exceptional rewards and recognition.

Here at Sodexo Engage we make it our business to ensure our recognition platform includes rewards your people will really value. This includes:

  • eVouchers and gift cards—deliver instant rewards straight to your employee’s inbox, with a huge choice of brands and retailers to choose from.
  • Recognition prepaid cards—empower your team to spend their rewards however they want, with prepaid recognition cards that can be used anywhere that accepts Visa.
  • Celebration packages—acknowledge incredible performance, length of service or simply bring people together with celebration packages designed around you.
  • Film vouchers—is your team full of film buffs? Save up to 40% on box office ticket prices and reward a job well done with the gift of cinema. We can even provide discounts on the latest Sky Store releases.

We can provide a huge range of rewards that have been shown to get the best out of employees and supercharge engagement, but we don’t believe in prescribing a set schedule of products. We’ll work with you to identify the solutions that are best suited to your organisation, and support you to ensure the platform is delivering the ROI you’re looking for.

Ready to find out how we can help drive increased productivity, higher levels of engagement and acquire your industry’s best talent? Get in touch with our expert team today.