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What’s the Difference Between Rewards and Recognition?

What’s the Difference Between Rewards and Recognition?

Many organizations are ramping up their recruitment efforts to retain top talent in a competitive job market and combining those efforts with a strong retention strategy for current employees. Rewards and recognition could be a critical factor in your company retention strategy, and though similar, knowing the difference between the two is essential to execute them properly.


What’s the Difference Between Rewards and Recognition?

Rewards are tangible perks, whereas recognition praises an employee’s accomplishments through verbal and nonverbal communications. It’s important to note that rewards are in addition to—not a replacement for—an employee’s salary and benefits.


Why are Rewards and Recognition Important?

Many organizations are feeling the repercussions of the Great Resignation and looking for ways to make their employees feel valued. While benefits like health insurance remain the most attractive for candidates during recruitment efforts, rewards and recognition can be instrumental in keeping current employees engaged and motivated. According to the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, actions that demonstrate appreciation and affirmation in a work environment can promote employee engagement and performance.

It is important for organizations to nurture engaged employees as they are often the most motivated and produce higher quality work. In addition, turnover is costly and organizations can save time, money, and stress by keeping high-performing employees on their team. 

Remember, employees want to feel recognized for their hard work and their contributions to the organization. Adding consistent rewards and recognition to your organization’s retention strategy can have an immense payoff and help employees feel appreciated.


What are Examples of Rewards and Recognition?

Since rewards are usually fixed, employees typically know what to expect when accomplishing specific goals. The following are examples of rewards:

  1. Monetary rewards. A lot of times, monetary rewards mean gift cards. This could be a specific gift card to a team member’s favorite business or a more generic VISA or American Express gift card.
  2. Food and treats. A common way for organizations to show their appreciation for employees is through food and treats. There are many ways to provide this reward through office snacks, catered lunches, or company dinner parties. 
  3. A trip. Organizations can take it further and provide an all-expense-paid trip for their employees. This could be a company-wide trip or a special reward to an individual employee for going above and beyond in special circumstances and/or tenure and achievement. 
  4. Extra time off. A great way to reward employees for their hard work is by giving them paid time off. Time off is a great way to recharge motivation after a busy season, and employees love the time to themselves. 

BerniePortal Tip: Utilize BerniePortal’s PTO feature to document and track any PTO you reward to your employees.



Recognition is often more frequent, less expensive, and less formal. The following are examples of recognition:

  1. Congratulating an employee during a company meeting for accomplishing a task or overcoming a work obstacle can make an employee feel valued in front of the organization.
  2. An email or note applauding an employee’s efforts is a personal gesture that can make them feel validated and valued. 
  3. Posting recognition on company social media or internal company chat channels is an easy and effective way to boost morale among team members, especially if your team is still working remotely. At BerniePortal, our managers and team members post virtual recognition notes, called “High 4s,” on our internal messaging system and in our company newsletter.

BerniePortal Tip: BerniePortal’s Performance Management feature creates a digital trail of conversations you have with your reportees. This feature is a great place to document accomplishments and give them the recognition they deserve. 


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