reward and recognition programme

The 5 key elements of a successful reward and recognition programme

reward and recognition programme
Looking to squeeze the most out of your reward and recognition programme?

Master these 5 critical factors and you’re on to a winner! Whatever the main aim of your reward and recognition programme, getting these 5 factors right will ensure it performs exactly how you envisaged.

COMPLETE GUIDE: Reward and Recognition | Everything you need to know


Benefits of a reward and recognition programme

Having an effective reward and recognition programme in place can make a huge difference to any organisation.

A programme like this can help perpetuate and strengthen a company culture while strengthening your internal brand. Culture is huge and can not only be the difference between a new recruit choosing you over another employer, but it can be a critical factor in a person’s decision to build their career with your business.

A reward and recognition programme can help staff feel more valued and help bring the team together. Effective rewards that are personal to employees show that the company genuinely values each member of the team and has taken the time to find out what is important to each employee.

It can also save you money in recruitment costs through a reduced turnover. With all factors considered, recruitment costs can be huge, and a poor turnover can cost any business thousands a year. Reducing turnover should arguably be one of the first areas for consideration for any company looking to manage their cash flow and reduce costs.

These benefits merely scratch the surface. However, the key is not just having a reward and recognition programme in place in the first place but making it as effective as it can possibly be.


reward and recognition programme

1. Ensure rewards are meaningful for employees

This is arguably one of the most critical success factors when it comes to your reward and recognition programme.

The wants and needs of all employees vary. Some staff value more intrinsic rewards such as opportunities to progress their career within the company, while others value more extrinsic rewards such as increased pay.

This is where it becomes critical to conduct a thorough needs analysis. That is, evaluating what it is staff value the most and what rewards are going to be meaningful for them.

A programme that doesn’t take into account the varying wants and needs of staff risks underperforming or even worse, demotivating employees.

Personalisation is becoming more and more important all the time. Whether it’s a gift to a friend or an email, everything is becoming more and more personalised.

It’s critical for businesses to get this right to show staff that they really are at the centre of their reward and recognition programme.


2. Clear communication

If staff aren’t aware of the rewards available to them and how to attain those rewards, their reward and recognition programme won’t motivate them.

A lack of clear communication can also be damaging for the relationship between the employer and employee. While the purpose of a reward and recognition programme might be to motivate staff, a lack of clear communication will do the exact opposite.

Ensure staff are fully aware of how the programme works, what the rewards are and how to attain them.


reward and recognition programme

3. Ensure the programme is aligned with overall business and HR objectives

Some reward and recognition programmes are specifically designed to improve customer service for example, others to reduce turnover, increase motivation and employee satisfaction, some may be designed to improve all of these.

What is important is that this aligns with your HR objectives and overall strategic and business objectives.

With this in mind, it’s important to consider what rewards are handed out for. For example, if you’re looking to improve customer service, rewarding reduced call waiting times could be prioritised.

It’s also good to consider the overall company culture and ethos when developing your reward and recognition programme.

For example, if you’re a company with a client or customer focus you may reward based on queries solved. Alternatively, you may have a product development or R&D focus and reward with this in mind.

You may choose to consider your internal culture and reward based on this. For example, if your internal culture has a particular fitness lifestyle focus you may choose to reward staff for reaching their fitness goals too. Rewarding this way comes with a huge number of benefits and shows the company really values what the employee values themselves.


4. Clear performance indicators

It’s one thing for staff to know they must excel in a particular area in order to be rewarded, whether that be to increase sales or improve customer service feedback, but employees also must be clear on what point they would be eligible for a reward.

Exactly how many sales are required for an employee to be rewarded? How is it calculated? Are their any other factors staff should be aware of?

Employees need to have a clear view of what it is they’re aiming for. The drawback to this is that performance may decline once that target is hit, however not knowing what the target is in the first place is much more likely to have a detrimental impact.

Much of the literature around the subject of reward agrees that performance indicators must have certain characteristics. Performance indicators must be focused, reasonable, measurable, participatory, neutral, challenging, achievable and should provide the basis for feedback.

Clarity is key and staff must know exactly what they’re striving for in order to be motivated.


reward and recognition programme

5. Have an ongoing review process

Continual improvement is key and it is important to know not only how your reward programme is performing on an ongoing basis but also how it’s being received by staff.

As mentioned, some aspects if got wrong can be counterproductive such as handing out rewards that neither inspire nor motivate staff and can ultimately lead to demotivation. Without ongoing review your reward programme could actually be having a detrimental impact so it’s important to keep a close eye on how it’s performing.

It’s important to note too that it isn’t just the performance of your reward and recognition programme that should be evaluated but also how the programme is received by staff too.

For example, the programme may hit its targets in the short term but if received poorly by staff these results may decline in the long run.


A reward and recognition programme has the potential to be rewarding not just for staff but for the company as a whole too as well as all its stakeholders. Get these 5 factors right and reap the rewards!

For more on getting the most out of your reward and recognition programme, take a look at our favourite reward and recognition ideas your team will love!


If you liked this article, check us out on TwitterLinkedIn & Facebook for more!