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2 min read

Balance is one of those words we use a lot in Human Resources. In fact we often have it as a key objective of one or more of our HR programmes. But what exactly does it mean, and how do we achieve balance with our recognition programmes, and in our employee recognition strategy?

These are exactly the questions I addressed when I spoke recently at Reward Gateway’s Engagement Excellence Live event in London.

I started out the presentation by showing a video of a gymnast performing on a balance beam. Why? I wanted to get the audience thinking of the importance of balance. In this situation, without balance the gymnast would fall and possibly hurt themself. I then asked the audience, isn’t this what happens if we don’t get our recognition programmes right. They’ll fall over, and you (or your organization) will wind up hurt.

So how can you keep your own recognition programme from falling over, or falling flat?

Balance is about creating equal or correct proportions for your employees. 

Not all employees want to be recognised in the same way, so balance is critical in how we recognise them.  

To prove this point, before the event we conducted a survey, with a team of Reward Gateway colleagues hitting the streets of London and Birmingham and going out on social media to ask a very simple question:

If your company recognized you, how would you want them to do it? 

The choices were cash, a shopping voucher of the same amount, a Kindle and an experience valued at the same amount as the cash or the voucher. 


What did the survey tell us? 

We had a great response, with 1,104 people participating in the survey, and a good mix of men (45%) and women (55%). As you can see by the results below, 48% favoured cash and the other 52% favoured the other options. Experiences came second to cash, with respondents saying they selected this as it was something they would remember more than cash and also could share with someone else.


So what does this survey say about how we should develop our recognition programmes, and how to generate more employee engagement ideas? It proves that a “one-size-fits-all” approach just doesn’t work. Yes, something like cash may make a large percentage of your employees happy, but what about the others? It’s critical to understand your employees, either by doing your own survey or talking to them, and develop a recognition programme that balances the needs of all of your employees. Do this and you’ll get an VOI (value on investment) from the time and money you spend on your recognition programme. 

Debra Corey

Debra is the co-author of "Build It: The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement," which she wrote with Reward Gateway Founder, Glenn Elliott, along with "Bringing Your Values out to Play" and "Effective HR Communication." She's a Rewards guru, having over 20 years experience as a rewards leader, speaker, teacher and a frequent contributor to the Reward Gateway blog.

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