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Recognition programs can pay multiple dividends part 4 – Inequity

By January 23, 2018 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

This is part four of our five part blog on how employee recognition programs can pay multiple dividends, and the challenges and mine fields to beware of.


Inequity is one of the few ways a recognition program can backfire, and actively harm engagement and morale. Some of the most frequent offenders in this area include ‘Employee of the Month or Quarter’ schemes and large annual bonuses. Think carefully before applying these strategies. They can play a role, but you need to fully consider how to do so effectively.

Think about it this way: if you only recognise the value of a few people’s contributions, why have anyone else on the payroll?

Why is inequity a problem?

It’s a problem because you do have other people on the payroll, and they’re all contributing daily to the success of your organisation. Those contributions might be less visible, but they’re not any less crucial, or valuable. All the pieces in the jigsaw need to fit together to create the true picture of your business.

It’s a major problem when only a handful of employees are being recognised for their hard work. It’s even worse when those rewards are outsized in comparison to what others might receive for their contributions. Think carefully about the rewards you offer – keep them in proportion to the recognition given and the value to the business.

How to fix this issue?

Avoid ‘winner takes all’ reward schemes like the plague! Recognising and rewarding just one person for their contributions is like telling everyone else their contributions don’t matter. You will have one “winner” and many more “losers.” This can be highly demotivating.

And that’s not what you are trying to achieve, is it?

Give recognition as widely as possible — not just peers. Include managers and senior leadership too, because they’re often forgotten in a recognition scheme. Make sure everyone receives the credit they deserve for the hard work they’re putting in.

Provide rewards for that hard work, but make sure those rewards are given on equal ground. And always remember that consistency and transparency of recognition is very important. If you need help coming up with some great rewards you can provide that would inspire any member of your team, why not ask them? It will help with their “buy-in.”

It’s time to engage your staff

If you haven’t already put an engagement and internal communications plan or recognition programme in place as part of your engagement strategy make the time and do it now. Not only is it crucial to business performance, it’s now a competitive advantage to an employer. It’s about your corporate brand, your ability to attract the right staff as well as engage them whilst they are with you, and ideally keep them if you can and want to.

When it comes to achieving the ideals CEO’s, the C-Suite and HR all yearn for through enhanced engagement and recognition; lower recruitment costs, higher attendance, lower staff attrition rates, improved morale and productivity, the best way to start the engagement journey is to get support from the top as well as any influencers across the business that will add support and evidence the benefits more engaged staff deliver both to business and employee wellbeing.

In Conclusion

In truth, there are a lot more ways a recognition program can go ‘right’ than go ‘wrong.’ By keeping a few key considerations in mind, you can ensure the bandwidth you’re dedicating to this effort will return the maximum value possible, and provide your team with the recognition-rich atmosphere they’ve earned.

Brownie Points, in conjunction with its international distributors, is helping thought leading organisations implement employee recognition programs to maximise employee engagement, and to improve business performance.

To learn more, or to arrange a no obligation demonstration, call us today on +61 (0)3 9909 7411, or email the team at

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