Josephine's Personnel Services, Inc.

Employee Engagement: Rewards vs. Recognition

April 8th, 2014

Are you giving your workers enough employee recognition? The lack of employee engagement in today’s business world not only puts a damper on overall productivity in the workplace, but it also creates hostility and stress for both employers and their employees. What most people don’t see is that the solution to the lack of employee engagement is fairly simple: Appreciation.

Many studies have proven that appreciation in the workplace can dramatically improve employee engagement. Based on employee surveys taken from around the globe, many workers feel that if recognition and rewards were more prevalent in the office than they would feel more engaged and motivated.

Are you actively engaging employees?

Are you actively engaging employees?

Now this doesn’t mean that handing out free candy, paid time off (PTO) and large bonuses will solve all of your problems. According to the Towers Watson Global Recognition Study, “In order for recognition to be effective, managers must clearly define performance expectations and, with equal clarity, convey to employees what shape the rewards for performance will take.” 

If the lines are getting a little blurry, it may be because an employer hasn’t taken the time to understand the difference between employee recognition and rewards. According to, employee recognition is an “after-the-fact display of appreciation for individual or team efforts,” while a reward is an “item given to an individual or team for meeting a pre-determined goal.” Let’s dive in a little deeper into the differences between these two employee engagement tactics.

Four Ways to Recognize Employees: 

  1. Recognize years of service. Do this through a public announcement or party to appreciate an employee’s loyalty.
  2. Recognize high performance. Take an interest in employees’ work and their success.
  3. Recognize accomplishments. Even if it’s a personal accomplishment or small victory, take the time to say, “Good job!”
  4. Recognize ability. Give an employee a challenging task that develops skills to push them forward.

Four Ways to Reward Employees: 

  1. Gift cards. Make it specific to that employee by making it renewable at their favorite restaurant or golf club.
  2. Vacation/PTO. An extra day off to spend with family can greatly improve morale.
  3. Public announcement. Create a “Bravo!” board where people can publicly see when employee recognition has taken place.
  4. In-office special treatment. A massage, hot breakfast delivered to the employee’s desk or a trophy to show off for a month can prolong employee recognition longer.

Employee engagement may be in danger of decreasing, but there are easy ways to bring it back up in your office. Try out these employee recognition tactics and let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Texas A&M University

About Josephine’s Professional Staffing

Founded in 1988, Josephine’s Professional Staffing has nearly 25 years of business success and is continuously committed to providing superior quality staffing solutions to companies in the Bay Area. We proactively and consistently search for avenues to provide staffing solutions in the field of administrative, accounting, healthcare, light industrial, technical and professional services while taking pride in each of our employees. Josephine’s Professional Staffing is a Certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (UDBE), and Minority Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWOBE). We can be reached at or 408.943.0111 and are located at 2158 Ringwood Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131

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