Why spontaneous rewards & recognition is a smart investment

People leaders – when do you reward & recognise staff ?  If it’s the same time each year, you’re missing a golden opportunity to leverage a fundamental of human emotion. The joy of a surprise.

I get it – you’re deeply focused on the cyclical weekly activities of hitting a sales target, launching an initiative, managing staff (and the bosses) expectations or just keeping the business momentum going in the right direction, so it’s often difficult to put the time for some proactive people management activity. I’m specifically talking about recognising outstanding personal achievements in the moment.

EOFY, annual performance reviews or project completions. These are the three typical occasions managers recognise a team member (good or bad). But the irony is you are missing an opportunity to really show someone they are valued and super-charge their engagement… therefore their performance throughout the year.

Think about it. To meet those lofty business goals, you need everyone performing to their best as often as possible, not just before or after a specific date.

I know this is only one aspect of a successful team. Training, clear vision, financial and other workplace benefits all have critical roles to play, but using the instantaneous leverage of reward & recognition tools to increase staff engagement on a more frequent (and spontaneous) basis is a no brainer to assist with performance. Here’s why.


Confident, autonomous decision making comes through growing personal confidence. Accelerating an individual’s confidence in their role through recognition provides an opportunity and discussion to shift more autonomy as capability increases.

The simple act of taking the time to publicly look someone in the eye and say ‘hey, you’re doing a great job and here’s why…’ is undeniable in personal growth benefits for both the managers and staff.

A surprise reward wins every time

When you can clearly identify a contribution from a team member that’s above and beyond their role, jump at the opportunity to recognise it! A lot of us have worked in environments where everyone knows precisely when their annual bonus is dropping…. right down to the hour of the day.  It becomes an expectation… not a bonus and can lead to more of an ‘oh’ moment rather than energising, recognising and rewarding performance as it was initially designed to do.

We know that physical contact with a gift results in the ‘endowment effect’ – a sense of ownership over an item which translates into an individual valuing it more highly, according to a study on the effects of gifting on business outcomes. Sure – we know some people just re-wrap / re-gift away, but the majority don’t… which brings me to my next point.

Big isn’t always better, but cheap is always worse

You don’t need to be giving away a weekend getaway to a resort every month or a five figure surprise bonus. A thoughtful gift has an incredible impact if delivered with genuine authenticity – no matter the size or value. Small gifts can have a significant impact, especially when delivered at the right time. However – it is well known that the only thing worse than looking cheap and thoughtless… is being cheap and thoughtless when it comes to corporate gifts.

Our number #1 rule – don’t let your CFO convince you to buy ‘in bulk’ the cheap, branded company stationery pack and expect clients & staff to show any genuine appreciation.”

Why? well, you’ve just created a new expense item for the business and not any genuine investment in your people. With the right philosophical approach to corporate gifting, you can make sure every dollar spent is a true investment in people and customers. Christina Concord share’s a lot of our thoughts and highlights the benefits of putting together a gift strategy as part of your overall reward and recognition program.

Lastly, happiness is contagious

Happy people will always outperform unhappy people in the long-run. Sprinkling some joy into a workplace with legitimate recognition on occasions keeps those virtual happy pills floating around the workplace.

If you want some help putting together and managing a strategic corporate gifting plan, we’re here to help.

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