Can rewards and recognition increase staff productivity?

The simple answer is YES!

In fact, reward and recognition increases motivation in our day-to-day lives, not just whilst we’re working.

Imagine you’re walking to the gym. You’ve been hitting it hard over the past few months! The smell of chocolate cake as you walk past the bakery is almost irresistible... But you say no and keep walking. As you walk round the corner, you bump into a friend that you haven’t seen in well over a year. “Wow – you’re looking in great shape!” They say to you. How does that make you feel? Proud. Happy. Confident. Motivated! Being recognised for your hard work and efforts encourages you to keep going. To become even better and stronger!

The same feeling of motivation applies when you receive a gift. 

This time, imagine you recently took your neighbour’s dog for a walk as they had errands to run. A few days later, there’s a knock at your door and your neighbour is standing there with a thank you card and a bottle of wine. Now how do you feel? Appreciated. Respected. Valued. This kind gesture has given you positive feelings so if you had to walk the dog again, you’d happily say yes!

Now let’s take it back to business and get a bit technical! 

To measure your team’s productivity you’ll likely evaluate the efficiency of each of your employees by the output of work they completed within a specific timeframe, and measure this against an average benchmark of work that has been set for a similar employee.

But does this go far enough? After all, most businesses want their employees to be more than just task-tickers. 

When it comes to improving staff productivity, look beyond how much work they’re doing and consider the impact they have across other team members and the innovations they bring to the table. Recognising and rewarding employees for living up to your core values, such as going the extra mile and delivering great results, will help increase engagement and motivation -  resulting in increased productivity. 

Increasing staff productivity with reward and recognition

One of the keys to increasing productivity is incentivisation of employee performance. It's a simple formula: reward + recognition programmes = increased employee productivity. Let's focus on each aspect, one at a time.

Take a look at how you can achieve the behaviours you desire through utilising  reward and recognition by downloading our guide.


It’s important to differentiate between rewards for achievements, contributions, and effort and the benefits that come as part of your employment package such as health insurance, pension schemes, and flexible working hours. 

The traditional thinking when it comes to an employee reward revolves around the straight-up cash bonus. Of course, there are pros to this type of reward, but it’s not always feasible for all organisations and it may not achieve the productivity outcomes you hope for. Cash can quickly diminish in value since it's taxable. What’s more, it offers no opportunity for personalisation; it’s a detached way of rewarding someone without guarantees that the reward will be used as intended––towards something personal and enjoyable for the employee. Another thing to mention about a cash reward is once they’re spent, there is nothing to associate the “reward” with. Cash does not bring back fond memories. 

A non-cash reward is more memorable and their effect is longer lasting than cash. Every time a non-cash reward is used, the recipient may remember why and how they earned it. By receiving something tangible and personal, the individual will feel appreciated which motivates them to go above and beyond.


Recognition needs to go hand in hand with employee rewards. Recognising an employee for a job well done is incredibly easy to do — but is often overlooked by busy managers. But it shouldn’t be!

Firstly, research shows that 82% of employees would rather receive praise than a gift. And secondly, let’s look back to the gym scenario above. Recognising someone’s efforts and hard work can encourage them to want to become even better and strive for success. If you don’t share this feedback, that person will never know just how amazing you think they are!

If you haven't already done so, look for ways to introduce recognition into your organisation's culture. In that same vein, consider partnering with Incentivesmart for assistance.

The Incentivesmart platform for reward

At Incentivesmart, we've developed a points-based reward system that offers employees a wide variety of categories from which to choose. These include:

  • Merchandise and gifts
  • Food, drink, and entertainment
  • Travel and experiences
  • Digital and physical gift cards
  • Fashion and retail
  • Health and wellness
  • Fulfilment services

Employees can choose their preferred reward from the predefined categories listed above, or work with the Incentivesmart team to develop a customised reward plan.

The Incentivesmart platform for recognition

Incentivesmart also has an innovative platform to drive social recognition. Employees can receive personalised recognition from both managers and peers in the form of badges, achievements, e-cards, and nominations. In addition, the platform's optional Social Feed feature allows employees to stay up to date on their colleagues' personal and professional milestones.


Find out how you can leverage reward and recognition to drive positive behaviour and plan a strategy for your organisation by downloading the ‘Guide to Encouraging Positive Behaviour in the Workplace with Reward and Recognition and Cheatsheet’. Alternatively, why not book a demo to see how our employee engagement platform works?

creating positive behaviours through reward and recognition

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