Recognition and Rewards

Satisfied, dependable and productive employees make business happen. Often a consumer will choose to purchase your product or service based on the employee who represents that product or service.

It seems that one of the secrets to a productive workforce—and therefore a successful business—is an elusive thing called good morale. Just what is good morale? It usually refers to how your employees feel about their jobs, you and your business. And that can directly affect your bottom line.

So the next question would be: “What contributes to good morale in the work environment?”

It’s a myth that good employees care only about money. Money is important, but there are many items that contribute to an employee’s morale. Interestingly, some are so fundamental that we tend to miss them completely. For instance, do your employees feel:

  • Treated fairly and respectfully?
  • Valued and appreciated?
  • Recognized and possibly even rewarded for their work?

It shouldn’t take you long to realize that if you wish to attract, recruit and retain good employees, fair and respectful treatment is a given. Employees who do not feel valued and appreciated will either contribute less effort as time goes on, or leave for greener pastures where they will be appreciated.

In addition, everyone likes to have achievements and efforts recognized. Even though personal satisfaction is usually generated from within ourselves, it is always more meaningful if someone else notices and shares the success. Thus the concept of recognition and rewards.

Rewards can motivate and encourage employees to contribute to their own success and that of your business. Now, we’re not talking big-ticket items like a car or trip to some exotic locale. On the contrary, employees are often delighted with a range of rewards that can be provided at little or no cost. Most importantly, ensure your program fits the culture and image of your company.


  • Achievable: Set achievable standards. If it can’t be accomplished, it becomes a de-motivator.
  • Objective: Tell employees exactly what it takes to achieve a reward or recognition.
  • Sensible: Include rewards that are logical motivators. If you are in your busy season, don’t award additional time off if your schedule can’t tolerate it for another six months.
  • Timely: Waiting too long to deliver a reward or recognition will lessen the impact.
  • Useful: If possible, measure and reward something that helps to produce useful business results.


  • Productivity/quality
  • Customer service
  • Peer recognition
  • Superior performance or extraordinary achievement
  • Safety
  • Length of service


Midway through each busy season at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver, the senior management team would line the employee entrance, greeting each employee with coffee and donuts in the morning, or ice cream bars and soft drinks for the afternoon shift. It was a sincere gesture to say “thanks” and “we know it’s busy; but hang in there!”

On Valentine’s Day, they would transform the employee cafeteria with linen-topped tables, and a special Valentine’s menu was served to all staff by the managers..

Other typical rewards are certificates, plaques, sports or cultural event tickets, time off, or even a voucher for a free coffee and pastry. How about an informal thank-you party with cake and cookies between shifts on a Friday afternoon?

Remember, recognition and rewards need to be offered with sincerity and thoughtfulness. Recognizing employees is about giving thanks and credit where credit is due and making those employees feel valued and appreciated for a job well done.