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Matt Curran
New Business Development

How does reward and recognition impact employee engagement?

19th February 2018

Employee engagement is a key priority for every employer. This is particularly so with the dominance of Generation Y in the workplace. Generation Y - more than any other generation before them - value feelings of self-worth, belonging and community.


To a certain extent, employee engagement depends on the motivation of the individual employee concerned. However, there are many more factors at play.


What is employee engagement?

There are many different definitions but one of the most useful is this. "Engagement is the extent to which employees commit to something or someone in their organization - the amount of discretionary effort they provide and how long they stay with an organisation as a result of that commitment." (CLC, 2004)


So, an engaged employee goes much further than merely showing up, completing a list of tasks and taking home their pay at the end of the day. They are subscribing to the company's objectives and immersing themselves in the company's culture. It's not difficult to understand why this produces better results for businesses. From employees who stay with the business longer, to an increase in productivity.


How does reward and recognition impact on engagement?

Reward and recognition taps into two key drivers of engagement - the positive impact of a reward and the affirmative effects of recognising certain positive behaviours.


Rewarding employees acknowledges that pay is not the only motivator for employees. By going beyond the standard pay and remuneration package there is an opportunity to engage employees, not just with the job, but with the vision of the business.


Recognition broadens out the ways in which employees can feel valued for their performance. It can be used to encourage behaviours that make a positive contribution to the organisation as a whole and more than just the progress of an individual.


Employee engagement in practice

There are four key elements that have been identified as fundamental to employee engagement. Reward and recognition touches on each one.


Strong, visible leadership - Employees are always more engaged with a business that leads from the front. Training, empowering and recognising your managers is essential to generating high levels of employee engagement and helps make a genuine connection between the strategic decisions being made at the top and the way employees behave down the ranks.


Management engagement - Listening, treating people as individuals, offering opportunities to progress, acknowledging achievement and fostering team-to-team cooperation are the fundamental qualities of engagement management. Reward and recognition helps to reinforce many of these, in particular, by enabling managers to show appreciation for the positive contributions employees have made.


An employee voice - Making employees understand they are central to solutions is important in terms of giving employees a voice. Introducing reward and recognition creates a sense of feeling valued in employees - that they have a role in the progress of the business and that they matter. This boosts employee morale, which makes employees generally more productive, reduces employee turnover and increases employee engagement.


Business values - Rewarding employees for demonstrating company values reinforces the importance of those values throughout the business. This ensures the company's values become integral to the way your employees think and behave. This in turn helps employees to align themselves with the company's vision and play an important part in moving it forward.


Active are experts in delivering employee engagement programmes and our online recognition platform provides a comprehensive range of modules to help you build a successful reward and recognition strategy for your organisation. To find out more please contact us.


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