Disecting Employee Engagement – Rewards & Recognition

Rewards and recognition also play an important role within the engagement equation. One must however be extremely careful in leveraging this component as Maslach et al. (2001) suggest that while a lack of rewards and recognition can lead to burnout, appropriate recognition is important for engagement.[i] The leveraging equation depends on the emphasis of well-being and employee benefits. Lambert (2000) and then Muse, Harris, Giles and Field (2008) showed that benefit and recognition use, depended on the perceived value and were positively associated with important work behaviours.[ii] Therefore, since people are motivated and engaged by the opportunity to obtain rewards, utilize aspects like increasing praise within a work environment, showing more appreciation and thanks, smiling, while creating an environment full of small easily won rewards is a first step.

 Distributive and procedural justice allows organizations to be predicable and consistent in regards to rewards as well as the procedures they use. One justice refers to an individuals’ perceived fairness of the means and processes used while the other refers to the perceived fairness of the distribution of resources (this aspect will become especially important when we look at the 2011 BlessingWhite  results of employee engagement survey in another post.  The employees who have a high perception of fairness of these two concepts are therefore more likely to feel obliged to be fair in how they perform in their roles. The remainder of employees will disengage from their work roles. Thus, organizations who wish to improve employee engagement should focus on employees’ perceptions of the support they receive from their organizations.

[i] Maslach, C. Schaufeli W.B and Leiter, M.P(2001) Job Burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 52, pp.397-422

[ii] Muse, L. Harris S.G. Giles W.F & Field H.S (2008) Work-life benefits and positive organizational behaviour: is there a connection? Journal of Organizational Behaviour 29 171-192. Wiley InterScience.

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