Evidence-based actions for recognition and reward

These actions and responses can be implemented with a minimal investment of resources or cost to the organization.

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Description: In a work environment with positive recognition and reward, there is appropriate acknowledgement and appreciation of employees’ efforts in a fair and timely manner.

You can access our free workshop materials to engage your team in a discussion about the type of recognition that matters to them. 

Understand how different employees are motivated by different types of recognition and reward.  

Maintain clear practices for recognizing effort and providing feedback. 

  • Recognize both individual and group accomplishments. These may include non-monetary awards for particular tasks or milestones. Consider a variety of rewards for accomplishments, like: 
    • Monetary compensation 
    • Vacation time 
    • Benefits 
    • Bonuses  
  • Create a system so employees at all levels are made aware when any employee receives positive feedback from customers, patients or clients. 

Train managers and supervisors to provide constructive feedback effectively.  

  • Recognize effort, not just outcomes. 
    • Recognize employees’ accomplishments regularly and promptly. Among other ways, you can do this by sending a personal email message or thank-you note, or by recognizing them in a team meeting. 
    • Acknowledge good performance frequently – not just during performance reviews. By promptly and consistently recognizing good performance, you reinforce the behaviours that help make the employee effective. 
  • Check out Building stronger teams for activities that recognize accomplishments, like: 
    • Positive and specific feedback, which offers leaders ways to increase positive emotions and reactions in the workplace. 
    • Acknowledge our accomplishments, which gives employees the chance to share their accomplishments and time to reflect on their successes. Their leader can also acknowledge the positive impact employees have had on their organization.  
  • See the resource Healthy break activities, for Create a wall of gratitude – an activity that encourages supervisors to recognize employee efforts, and employees to support their co-workers.  

Additional actions and resources  

  • Review employee salaries regularly and adjust as needed to be considered fair and equitable from both an economic and comparative perspective. Compensation can include more than salary: to help boost job satisfaction, consider adding opportunities for growth and development, engagement in work activities that an employee is passionate about like organizing social events, or attending higher-level meetings. 
  • Review Psychological health and safety policy recommendations to see where you can improve psychological health and safety. 
  • Review Evidence for psychological health and safety for a literature review of studies demonstrating how factors that impact psychological health and safety also have a positive impact on business goals and objectives. 

Putting recognition and reward on the agenda provides you with materials to support a team discussion on approaches to recognition and reward as well as materials to support policy review and development.


Adapted from Guarding Minds at Work™

© Samra, J., Gilbert, M., Shain, M., Bilsker, D. 2009-2020, with amendments by Stuart, H. 2022.  All rights reserved. Website development and data storage by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).

Guarding Minds at Work was commissioned by Canada Life and additional resources are supported by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health.

Contributors include.articlesDan BilskerDavid K. MacDonaldDr. Heather StuartDr. Joti SamraDr. Martin ShainMary Ann BayntonMerv GilbertPhilip PerczakSarah JennerSusan JakobsonWorkplace Safety and Prevention ServicesWorkplace Strategies team 2022 to present

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