Recognition and rewards are both important elements of your employee engagement strategy, however most executives use the terms interchangeably, when in-fact, each has its own unique purpose.

Recognition vs. Rewards:

In order to reap the benefits of rewards and recognition it is first important to understand the differences between the two. Recognition is relational, it is something that can be experienced, personalized, and is generally based on achievement. An example of recognition is as simple as congratulating an employee during a team meeting for completing a difficult project ahead of the projected timeline. On the other hand, rewards are transactional, tangible, and given based on outcome or performance. Rewards tend to be more conditional and monetary in value.

What Employees Want:

Surprisingly, Gallup found that 82 percent of employees say recognition, not rewards, motivate them to improve their job performance. Recognizing employees provides them with positive feedback and assurance that they are doing their job well. Being acknowledged by their leaders and peers also provides a sense of accomplishment, making them feel valuable.

Of course monetary rewards have their place in the workplace. Although engaging in purposeful, exciting work is important, the primary reason people work is for money. However it’s important to remember that rewards can sometimes monetize employees worth, making the exchange feel disingenuous.Rewards and Recognitions

So How Do You Harness The Power Of Recognition?

  1. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition: Studies show employees value the opinions of their peers, sometimes even more than their managers. Give your employees opportunities to recognize each other and lead by example.
  2. Focus recognition on corporate goals and behaviors: Tying your company’s mission, vision and values to how you recognize employee’s can help employees draw the connection between their role and the company’s goals. Recognizing employees who live out your organization’s mission is a great way to further embed your mission throughout your organization.
  3. Give recognition frequently and openly: It’s a powerful tool that can help improve engagement and decease turnover. Give it frequently and freely and watch as the positivity spreads across your organization.

To learn more about the power of recognition download our What’s In A Thank You white paper.