• Share this:
Improve employee engagement using recognition and reward
Illustration by Justin Alm

4 min read

Improve employee engagement using recognition and reward

Recognizing and rewarding your staff can improve employee engagement at work.

If you're suffering from poor employee engagement rates, it's time to do something about it. And that doesn’t mean throwing money at the problem. Recognizing and rewarding your staff through other avenues is often a far more effective solution.

A rewards system, personal thank you, or internal announcement on your intranet strikes a personal chord that makes employees feel valued. In turn, this will improve employee engagement and happiness.  

Annabelle Symth of BambooHR has kindly contributed the following article, which clearly demonstrates the impact of recognition and reward on employee engagement strategies

Are your employees failing to engage? This might be the reason

According to Gallup, disengaged employees are costing U.S. employers $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity every single year.

Poor employee engagement is a serious matter, and far too many employers are failing to remedy this problem.

So, the question is, why aren’t employees engaged at the office and how can you encourage them to feel connected and enthusiastic at work?

There are many ways to achieve this, but one often overlooked (and incredibly effective) strategy is to use reward and recognition. This article will examine some fascinating statistics about the impact of reward and recognition on workplace satisfaction and outline some tactics to utilize this powerful system.

What the stats tell us

While there could be many reasons behind an employee’s failure to engage, this article will focus on two key motivators – reward and recognition.

According to a recent survey, there is a strong correlation between satisfied employees and recognition for their work. In fact, 83 percent of employees who worked for a company with a recognition program stated that they were content with their jobs.

Although monetary reward ranked as the first place stimulus, many employees valued alternatives such as:

  • In-person recognition from a manager or a peer
  • A company or team-wide email recognizing the individual
  • A title promotion
  • A raise or other type of monetary bonus
  • Extra vacation days

So, what are the benefits of reward and recognition and how can they be implemented effectively?

Why should you use reward and recognition?

High employee turnover rates have been proven to get very expensive, very quickly. Increasing the loyalty of your team is only one advantage of a strong reward and recognition program. Some of the other benefits  include:

  • Increased productivity: According to a Westminster College study, 69 percent of employees stated they would work harder if they felt that their efforts were better appreciated. Companies can bring employee appreciation day as people want to receive recognition for their achievements. When they get this positive recognition from management and coworkers, they are more likely to push themselves to exceed goals.
  • Higher engagement levels: Companies that use strategic recognition are 48 percent more likely to experience high employee engagement rates. However, keep in mind that timeliness is often critical. Let your employees know sooner rather than later to get the best results and keep morale high.
  • Motivation to develop skills: The time and effort it takes to cultivate new skills should not be overlooked. 53 percent of employees labeled “respect for their knowledge and experience” as a top expectation for their leadership team. By implementing an employee recognition program, leaders are better able to praise employees for their abilities and increase motivation to develop them further.


If you want to reduce employee turnover, you may want to look into reward and recognition as a solution. As you evaluate the best ways to employ this type of program for your team, make sure to distinguish between rewards and recognition.

There are subtle differences between the two but it’s important to make the distinction if you want to implement them successfully. Employee recognition is acknowledging the contributions and achievements of your team. Rewards, on the other hand, can be used as incentives to improve performance but they are not necessarily used to recognize the achievements themselves.

A strong reward and recognition program requires a certain level of mindfulness and a dedicated effort to showing your employees that you notice and appreciate everything they bring to the team.  

Employee reward and recognition is a straightforward way to provide positive feedback and promote both individual development and large scale growth. Incorporating recognition into your company culture creates an environment of respect and is a powerful way to recruit and retain the best talent.

About the author

Annabelle Smyth is a freelance writer who covers everything from HR to technology and leadership skills. Her most recent work involves partnership marketing with BambooHR where she has had the opportunity to learn about the relationship between employee engagement and successful businesses.

Want to learn more about engagement?

Watch our webinar


Hannah Price

  • Share this:

Add your comments