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What’s the Difference Between Rewards and Recognition?

What’s the Difference Between Rewards and Recognition?

When part of a larger employee retention strategy, implementing rewards and recognition within your organization can make or break your employees’ wellbeing, productivity, and satisfaction in their roles. In order to successfully boost efforts to both reward and recognize your team, it’s important to know the difference between the two, and how they fit into retention strategy.


What’s the Difference Between Rewards and Recognition?

Rewards are gifts and awards that are given to employees, whereas recognition is praising an employee and calling out their accomplishments, without a tangible transaction. It’s important to note that rewards are in addition to—not a replacement for—an employee’s salary and benefits. 

Rewards and recognition are components that contribute to employee retention and engagement efforts. A retention strategy is a plan that employers develop and implement to help with employee retainment. Employee engagement is driven by company culture and involves the state of a worker’s opinion of their employer, as well as towards their role, position within the organization, colleagues, and more.


Why are Rewards and Recognition Important?

While benefits like health insurance remain the most attractive for employees in recruitment efforts, rewards and recognition can play an instrumental role in keeping employees engaged and motivated. A research found that in a work environment, efforts that demonstrate appreciation and affirmation can promote employee engagement and performance.

Employee engagement is important because workers who are motivated are generally more productive in their jobs. Plus, turnover is costly—employers can save time, money, and stress by keeping high-performing employees on their team. 

Simply put, employees want to feel valued for their hard work and contribution to the company they work for. With regular and consistent rewards and recognition as part of a larger engagement and retention strategy, employers can help employees feel appreciated.


What are Examples of Rewards and Recognition?

Since rewards are usually fixed, employees usually know what to expect when they accomplish certain 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 employers to recognize employees is through food and treats in the office, like sweets and catered lunches. With many companies still operating remotely, employers can instead send food deliveries or provide gift cards, as mentioned above.
  3. Extra time off. After an especially difficult period of time for the company—perhaps a busy season or series of issues being fixed—sometimes employees need to be rewarded with paid time off more than anything else. 
  4. A trip. Employers can go a step further than extra time off and provide an expense-paid trip for an employee for going above and beyond in special circumstances and/or tenure and achievement. 

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

  1. Congratulating someone during a meeting for accomplishing a task or overcoming a work obstacle can help recognize an employee in front of other team members at the organization.
  2. An email or note recognizing an employee’s efforts can go a long way in helping the employee feel validated and valued.
  3. Posting messages 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. A BerniePortal, our managers and team members post virtual notes of recognition, called “High 4s,” on our internal messaging system and in our company newsletter.

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