Division at work is in the news lately. From the news that on average, women receive 18% less pay per hour than men, according to research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) to the headlines that suggest over the course of the first 12 years following the birth of their first child, the pay gap widens to the point where women receive an average of 33% less pay per hour than men. Finally, the national gender pay gap is estimated in the UK to stand at 19%, and whilst there is a move towards greater salary transparency, we are just not there yet.
Whilst this concerns basic salary discrepancies, you may also need to take a close look at how your reward and recognition programme is working. Checking it is fair (and perceived as fair) is key to t’s success. Get it wrong and you could have quite the opposite effect.
Here are the 3 key factors you need to take a look at.


Do you only offer rewards on monetary success, or do you factor in other important changes? If you’re tracking month on month improvements to the bottom line, or volume work, could you be missing out on other key business areas? Everything needs to be looked at, from the development and tech teams through to support and website stats.You need a clear idea of what constitutes reward worthy performance. This will prevent sessions that are based on ‘focus grouping’ who is rewarded with a bias towards ‘who shouts loudest’. For example, the outgoing, vocal sales manager may be keen to put forward their team’s achievements, whereas someone more conservative may be unsure of how another activity (reduced hold times, increased web traffic) compares.

The procedure

Consistency is the key word here. How consistent are rewards in your business, and is it an understood procedure? Without consistency, trust in ‘getting something back’ is diminished. Consistency isn’t just about rewarding each month, but also about your tracking of rewards over a long period. Just as we mentioned in distribution, how are you tracking changes against base behaviours, for example someone that has made significant changes to long term procedures, affected a long term client relationship or added value through L&D?

Daily communication

Imagine being told that all the employees are invaluable to the business, and one day walking in to find that 3 members of your team had been let go?
What if you are thanked daily for your work, but at your annual review you are told you don’t quite meet expectations and wouldn’t be eligible for an increase in salary?
What if you work overtime to complete a project that gets pulled at the last minute, and you get thanked – but the new client that’s won a few months later without your help sees the sales executive getting a range of perks and a bonus?
If this left you feeling put out – then you’ve experienced the fairness perception. Every decision a manager makes has to be fair. This is something you absolutely need to check in your business. What are managers saying that is giving a perception of future reward? How are managers managing employee expectations in the area of recognition? And finally, how are reviews handled in your business – are they taken seriously, being logged and tracked and reviewed, or are they a tick box exercise?

Reward and recognition isn’t as simple as just producing some staff bonuses once a year or arranging a night out. Good quality data, a one on one understanding of what matters to each employee and a solid set of rules for management are all core principles towards making the programme successful. The great news is, with just a few tweaks, you can ensure that your programme is fair, trusted, and produces real results.