5 differences between reward and recognition

 In Management & Organizational Performance

When it’s time to thank a member of the team for their exceptional performance and commitment, so many solutions are available to us, that we don’t know which one will be best suited, and above all, which one will bring an emotion to life. the employee and push him to perform even more.

One would think that giving a reward or recognition is exactly the same thing, that they bring the same impact, and that they can be used in the same way. And yet this is not the case.

Keep reading this article to learn more about the difference between these two concepts that we tend to confuse.

What is a Reward?

It is something (money, gift or other), given in exchange for a service, an effort or a result.

What is recognition?

It is a mark of appreciation that we express to a person to show him consideration.

Top 5 Differences Between Reward and Recognition 

1. Conditional or unconditional

The element that best exposes the distinction between the 2 terms is this one. Rewards are consequence-based and depend on certain conditions.

Recognition is independent in nature, and is not part of a fixed outcome from specific actions or behaviors, but results from a manager’s or peers’ willingness to emphasize a particular behavior.

2. Transactional or relational:

”Do this, you will get this in return”, this is the reward. It is never given without receiving anything in return, but it is expected, for example, that the employee completes a project to give him his promised reward.

Recognition calls for relationships and a personal exchange. Typically, the reward is helpful in attracting talent to your organization. Recognition is essential to retain them .

3. Expected or spontaneous

If we perform, we expect to receive a reward, because we strongly believe that we deserve it. However, recognition can take us by surprise, and happen spontaneously.

4. Rigid or flexible

Rewards are often determined based on desired performance and expected returns. Recognition, on the other hand, is very free and flexible in nature. It is felt even better when shared and extended to the rest of the team.

5. Impersonal or personal

Due to their tangible nature and documented performance indicators, awards have little human dimension. Gratitude, on the other hand, has a purely human connection, as it celebrates people for who they are and what they do. However, it is possible to make rewards personal by associating them with recognition.

In the end, it is possible to recognize an individual without giving him a reward. However, an award should never be given without recognition, for a more lasting impact.

In fact, don’t wait for one-off and special occasions, you have to be spontaneous in your attitude and celebrate and appreciate people every day.

A reward can be expected by the one who will receive it, but recognition creates a surprise effect that will be engraved in the deepest emotions. And it’s even better when it’s also a peer who recognizes the positive behaviors of another peer.

By carefully balancing the two, you will be able to take into account the differences and better apply them depending on the moment.

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Julie Lajoie, CRHA
Directrice chez Altrum reconnaissance, Julie est passionnée par la création et par la mise en place d’initiatives qui font une réelle différence en organisation. La considération et la motivation des employés sont au cœur de ses priorités. /// Director at Altrum Recognition, Julie is passionate about creating and implementing initiatives that make a real difference in organizations. The consideration and motivation of employees are at the heart of her priorities.
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