Role of Reward & Recognition in effective Employee Engagement

Written by guest blogger Lottie Gunn 19th May 2016
James Murphy, Founder & Director of Membership Services of the Employee Engagement Alliance, welcomed the group of HR and engagement specialists to Instinctif’s offices in Gresham Street and kicked off the event, where we discussed the business benefits of reward and recognition being part of an employee engagement programme.

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14% of R&R programmes fail as they are financial; top down and extrinsic, as opposed to intrinsic (values based) which can also include gamification and the impact that has.

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Kate Reilly and Sheneen Harris from PPL spoke about their R&R programme and the review and benchmarking they did before they implemented an old one. Their new programme takes into account what employees want and their demographic. Since implementing their programme they’ve seen a rise in revenue for the company. They said that some of the more low cost benefits such as fruit had the highest impact.


Antonella Vaughan, Business Advisor from Purple Cubed, talked about the fact that reward and recognition schemes are used to retain employees and change behavior. Antonella emphasized the need to use both reward and recognition together (reward is tangible and recognition should ideally be a surprise and spontaneous). Antonella emphasized that when organisations link their R&R programmes with their employee engagement strategy there can be a 30% increase in retention.

She discussed a number of case studies in which giving gifts and not ‘cold, hard, cash’ enable people to have more of an emotional connection with the item and the perceived value is greater. You also don’t need to justify the spend to yourself… I.e buying a really expensive coffee machine that you wouldn’t normally do.


The afternoon concluded with a panel discussion with the speakers and Victoria Lewis-Stephens, Managing Partner, Engagement from Instinctif. The summary points were:

  1. Make sure your R&R scheme is applicable for your culture and demographic and links with your employee engagement strategy
  2. Small, low cost perks can make a big impact, including a simple ‘thank you’
  3. Communicate your rewards and benefits (through induction, Total Reward Statements, reviews, intranet pages, etc.)
  4. Link your recognition scheme with your values – people should be recognised for what’s important to the company and what will ultimately help it succeed
  5. Don’t get complacent – keep your programmes up to date and relevant to your company/ demographics
  6. Measure your R&R programme through business performance. Ensure you have the basics in place first – pay, job descriptions, tools to do the job, etc.

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