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Aligning Rewards & Recognition With Business Strategy


Here’s a joke for you –

If you ask an employer or HR personnel about their favourite season, most of them would say that it’s – appraisal season!


While the above joke is in good humour, it does touch upon an integral aspect of workplace culture. Appraisals are a time to showcase how growth opportunities have been seized, as well as to receive corresponding rewards and recommendations. For the employers as well as the HR departments, however, this ‘annual’ cycle of appraisals becomes a pitting match between individual employees. Additionally, they are too constricted to recognise or remember all the positive and negative events that may have happened over the year.


It also becomes quite cumbersome for employees to walk the fine line between having a productive workplace culture and an overly stressed, rigid one. Employers across Singaporean workplaces have begun to take note of this phenomenon in the recent few years.

This widespread realisation has led to many active efforts put behind creating robust rewards and recognition strategies for a flexible workplace. The aim is to help business strategies while acknowledging the high points of the employee lifecycle and integrating the same with workplace wellbeing.


A study conducted in 2017, titled ‘Aon Hewitt’s Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing’, reiterates the previous points by highlighting the following

When employees can understand the total value of the rewards that they receive from their employer, a proposed salary increase alone from a prospective employer will appear less significant.


Factors to consider when formulating a constructive rewards and recognition policy:


Employee-Employer bond

When an employee sees that their employer is taking the initiative to reward their efforts, a bond of commitment takes root. It indirectly shows the employee that their employer is keenly involved in their wellbeing and aims to promote their interests. A rewarding system which checks these boxes will boost employee morale and drive up productivity.


Departure from force-ranking employees

HR departments and employers in recent times have begun to observe that true potential for business growth is when employees work as teams, rather than working as individuals. Often employers may put down KPIs that govern only individual performances or involve themselves in force-ranking employees. This essentially means that employees are assessed through a comparison to each other rather than against a fixed pre-defined system. When this happens, the focus completely shifts from business growth to unhealthy competition among employees. All in all, the strategy put in place for rewards and recognition at the workplace should not become counterproductive.


Alignment of rewards with measurable business goals

It is the professional duty of employers to translate their vision into measurable goals. It will help put down a framework of brass tacks that would enable the employers and employees to achieve these goals in a stipulated period. Furthermore, goals can be distributed among the various tiers of the organisation, and metrics can be set up, the fulfilment of which, will further be rewarded. It might help employers get a realistic perspective of their employees’ capabilities and get an idea about rewarding them. This also ensures that individual goals are aligned with organisational goals, and vice versa.


Policy dissemination

When an employer decides to revamp their rewards and recognition policy, the thing of utmost importance is to ensure that all their employees are on the same page. It helps employees to distinguish between - what they are rewarded for, and what they should be rewarded for. Thus, every innovation to the rewards system must be openly communicated to all the members of the organisations, to foster change. Transparency, uniformity and inclusion must be the driving forces behind these policy changes.


When an employer pays close attention to the above factors, they can reflect on the ongoing business goals and employee growth in one go. From the smallest of incentives to an extensively conducted appraisal session, a robust reward system proves instrumental in furthering overall productivity as well as business development.

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