17 Jun 2021 | by Claire Woodbridge

The value of a successful reward and recognition programme in the workplace cannot be underestimated. An impressive 40% of us work harder when we’re recognised regularly. Just by doubling the number of employees who are rewarded or recognised on a weekly basis, organisations can see a significant boost in quality of work, productivity, loyalty and more. It’s because of results like those that 90% of HR professionals agree that an effective reward and recognition scheme helps drive business results and is, as a result, vital to any business.

It’s interesting stuff, but if you’re switched on to the benefits of a good R&R programme, you already know all that. We know being thanked for our work increases satisfaction and rewards can improve employees’ loyalty, but with that knowledge arises danger around complacency. It’s easy to assume that any programme you implement, and any reward you offer, will deliver all those fantastic results. It’s been some time since the discussion around R&R focused on whether you should offer it – we know we must. Now, what you offer is becoming more important.


Why is choice central to reward and recognition at work?

Rewarding your employees is an incredibly effective way to increase engagement, but incentives aren’t one size fits all. Though your staff are united by their place of employment, every individual is different from the next in endless ways. So knowing who those individuals are and what works for them is vital to success.


Personalisation, and more accurately, choice, are key. Where one person might be overjoyed at the idea of a lavish incentive trip, another might dread the prospect and so not be motivated to work towards it. The same applies for practically any incentive offering. So, why not offer a choice, giving your employees the freedom to choose a prize which they’re motivated to win?


Is personalisation becoming more popular in reward & recognition?

The idea of personalisation in reward programmes has always held some appeal, but it’s become more important in recent years as younger generations have entered the workforce. Millennials and Gen Z are so used to experiencing personalisation in so many areas of their lives – with targeted ads and countless services now using algorithms to provide more customised experiences – that it has become a preference for many.


Offering choice when it comes to reward and recognition signals to employees that you understand their preferences and shows that you care about them. That is only going to become more critical post-pandemic. As R&R schemes themselves have become decentralised and less formal, moving beyond only HR teams and stiff awards ceremonies, this customisation has become a more realistic and universally appealing option. Find out more here about the impact the pandemic has had on reward and recognition.


What does a personalised reward & recognition scheme look like?

A personalised R&R programme is defined by choice, so there is no one structure or system that will suit every organisation and every workforce. That said, one of the most common ways to build choice into your current scheme is to offer alternatives for existing rewards. Perhaps you hand over the decision and ask winners to choose a shop they’d like vouchers for instead of always opting for Amazon. You might simply adjust recognition processes to suit different personalities in your team.


It’s impossible to create personalised programmes for every single member of staff, but with the rewards you offer you can differentiate between individuals. Our own research has shown how important choice is becoming as it not only increases motivation but makes employees feel more valued. You might consider taking this one step further – we’ve certainly seen a trend towards employers giving their workforce not just a choice in what they might win, but a choice in who to award too.


Three tips for implementing a personalised reward & recognition scheme

 1. Start by asking questions.

The only people who know what your team really wants are its members. Organise small groups and get together to discuss not just what reward and recognition programmes mean at your company, but what the concept means to individuals on a more personal level. It’s only by better understanding your workforce that you’ll be able to customise incentives and recognition schemes to them.

 2. Draw on any data available to you.

Drill down into the desires, preferences and personalities that fit within your business to identify groups in your business. Making sure there is an option on offer for each will ensure everyone is engaged.


  1. Stay flexible.

Choice is all about flexibility, so be prepared to explore options beyond your usual offering and beyond what we might consider traditional incentive solutions. This is going to be more vital than ever post-pandemic so it’s a great approach to get on board with right now.


Still struggling to make your reward and recognition scheme a success? Our team are here to help. We have years of experience in delivering effective R&R programmes and incentives and have even carried out our own research in the area for 2021. Learn more about how these programmes are changing in our latest whitepaper: The changing face of reward.


Claire Woodbridge

By Claire Woodbridge

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