Changing landscape of rewards and recognition strategies

It is important for organisations to motivate employees by rewarding them when they perform well. Employees need to feel passionate about what they do. Though gift-giving has always been a relatively reliable way to \’motivate\’, it was not until the Industrial Revolution that Rewards and Recognition (R&R) programs were approached methodically. Throughout the 20th century, R&R programs evolved to meet the needs of employees. Recognitions were given to employees in the form of trophies, clothing, petrol, and vouchers to buy things the company deemed appropriate.

In today’s day and age, R&R frameworks & processes are in the midst of a transition from standardised to highly personalised. A Glassdoor survey found that 53% of employees believe they would stay with the company longer if they received more appreciation from their employer. In the face of a technology-driven, hybrid workforce, traditional methods of recognition are no longer able to drive a holistic strategy to enhance employees\’ personal lives and sense of purpose. Rewards no longer function in silos but are closely linked to personal performance and compensation.

As economies have returned from long lockdowns, it is observed that the future of work and employee expectations are leaning towards being hybrid-first. While businesses are collectively discovering the challenges and evolving along the way, the journey to find an equitable employee expectation landscape will be exciting.

A survey done by Great Place To Work ® indicates that recognition is the most significant thing for 37% of employees. When people receive recognition for their achievements, it pushes and further motivates them to accomplish more. Therefore, organisations must demonstrate that they have structured their R&R approach fairly. The need is to have transparent communication about the link between business performance, individual performance, and rewards.

Modern R&R strategies are different from what they used to be in the past because they are now evolving to be more social, flexible, and personalised for the hybrid work setup. Another study by Gallup states that if companies double the number of employees they recognise weekly, a 24% improvement in work quality, a 27% reduction in absenteeism, and a 10% reduction in staff shrinkage can be observed.


Suvarna Mishra
Head of Human Resources,
Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services

Businesses are now evaluating the needs of millennials and the Gen-Z workforce that is increasingly prioritising values, culture, and a strong sense of purpose. This is a learning from the India findings of a global survey, a healthy 87% of organisations are considering or have redesigned the employee experience around total rewards encompassing technology, personalised communications, etc. The focus goes beyond the role and compensation and needs to be aligned with the larger business objective.

There can be no one-size-fits-all strategy. Businesses are shifting their focus to the specific interests of their employees and offering rewards that speak directly to them. The need to personalise rewards as per individual preferences is also focused on rewarding behaviour that promotes eventual business goals. Flexibility and good communication are critical to a programme that guarantees employee satisfaction and adds to a positive culture.

A significant focus towards improving quality of life will further lead to positive employee attitudes. When a workplace transitions into positive humane spaces that are fuelled by a culture of trust and gratitude, measurable personal and business results accompany!


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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