Rewards and Recognitions Programs for Small and Large Organisations

Rewards and Recognitions Programs for Small and Large Organisations

Find out why rewards and recognition for small and large organizations are different and important for employees.

Michael Gorman

Today, the conditions for doing business are tougher than ever, especially because of the amount of competition. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it does create some problems along the way. In this article, we tell you the importance of employee recognition programs for small companies and large companies alike.

As companies try hard to one-up each other by creating better products and/or services, they create a need for- Employees who are able to handle the requirements and pressure of such jobs, and who also possess all the necessary skills and knowledge, and ideally, plenty of experience.

Such employees, on the other hand, are in a position to ask for more from their employers, which is why reward and recognition programs play a huge role in keeping your staff loyal to your company, as well as boosting their morale and performance. Now, there is a lot of confusion regarding reward and recognition, mainly because they are used in combination or even interchangeably.

Let’s take a look at the fundamental steps on how to start a rewards and recognition program in any organization:

  1. Determine the Why (objective of the program)
  2. Specify what factors determine the elements of success
  3. Communicate to your employees about the recognition program
  4. Provide tools for recognition
  5. Determine recognition ideas
  6. Practice and revise

However, there is a difference between these two. On top of that, there is also a difference in how each is implemented in SMEs and large corporations. For starters, let’s take a look at what separates rewards and recognition.

Reward Vs. Recognition

The reason why most people get these two mixed up is that they share a lot of similar elements. However, they are different in nature. When it comes to employee rewards, they are usually a part of the program established by an employer to reward individual employees or teams for their performance and to motivate them to maintain that same level of productivity. As much as 41% of employees say that their employers’ reward programs are effective. Mind you, they are not the same as a raise, but they can often include some kind of financial compensation, from cash bonuses to leasing cars for your best employees.

In other words, all types of rewards have one thing in common: they cost the employer money or resources. This is the reason they used to be reserved strictly for large businesses. Nowadays, though, rewards are often used by startups, whether it’s a Manufacturing company or an IT company, and the reason why they can afford them is that it’s not uncommon for startups to experience rapid growth. And according to research, rewards are beneficial for companies as well, since those who use incentive programs demonstrate a 79% success rate when it comes to achieving their goals.

Recognition programs are primarily psychological in nature, which means they don’t cost startups and companies any money, yet they keep the staff motivated. That is probably the main distinction between rewards and recognitions since the former are financial in nature and the latter is emotional. However, that doesn’t mean that they should exclude each other. In fact, they are often used together. Using recognition alone is good for boosting the morale of your employee(s), especially in a situation where you don’t have enough funds to reward them, which is usually the case with new businesses and young startups.

Differences in Employee Recognitions Programs for Small Companies and Large Companies

Small and medium-sized businesses and large companies differ from one another in just about every aspect of a business. First, there is a difference in size, not just in terms of staff, but also in terms of brand recognition and market share. Second, SMEs have much smaller budgets, which means they need to be creative and react to changes much more quickly in order to stay competitive, as well as to be adept at adjusting to those changes. That is one of the challenges of running your own startup.

All this turbulence creates an impact on rewards and recognition programs as well. While employee recognition ideas for large companies can afford to include larger spend, startup owners, managers, and HR departments have to continuously come up with new and creative ideas for their R&R programs. As we have mentioned before, there is a huge difference between SMEs and large corporations, and the same can be said for their R&R programs. Here are some aspects which illustrate the difference:

Availability of resources

Needless to say, SMEs have much smaller budgets when it comes to just about everything, ranging from the money they spend on operational costs, inventory, and equipment, to their employees’ salaries, especially in case of startups which are brand new. It is not uncommon for SMEs to experience cash flow problems early on, which means they have to get loans or lines of credit. This, in turn, means that they tend to rely more on recognition, which doesn’t cost anything but still keep the employees engaged and motivated. Large companies don’t have to worry about things like cash flow, making the company more stable, and repaying different loans, which means they have enough cash they can forward to their reward program and keep their employees happy. Bigger budgets also allow large enterprises to hire more staff and ease the workload and stress of their existing employees. Many workers aren’t necessarily looking for a raise, but rather a job position which won’t cause them to burn out.


We are talking about visibility of achievements here, and this is perhaps the biggest difference between SMEs and large companies. If you are running a small startup, it is fairly easy to see how much each of your employees is contributing, which makes it easier to single out people which are most useful for your business and reward and/recognize employee efforts. In large companies, each employee is a small cog in a big wheel, and sometimes, no matter how much effort they put in, all of their hard work may end being unnoticed, especially if they are working inside a large group. If an employee gets passed over for a reward or doesn't get proper recognition, ít can affect their performance or motivate them to seek out a different company.

Peer to peer recognition

In large companies, you have managers on multiple levels, whereas in SMEs, you are often in direct contact with the owner or CEO of the company. Technically, it doesn’t make a difference from who you receive your recognition or reward, but in reality, peer to peer recognition does matter and brings out the performers who are not noticed by the top management. At the end of the day, large organizations have the advantage of huge cash reserves, startups have the advantage of lesser workforce making it feasible to recognize and reward their employees.

How to Design a Recognition Program for small and large Companies?

The most crucial element of every recognition tool is timing. Employee recognition needs to coincide with your employee’s hard work. This doesn’t just apply to reacting in a timely manner, but also to the frequency of recognition. What does that mean? Well, let's say you have an employee who is able to turn in one stellar performance after another. You need to time your recognition so that they don’t feel perfunctory or automatic.

On top of that, you need to make sure that the method of recognition corresponds with the level of achievement. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recognition since every employee responds differently to different types of recognition. Because of that, employee recognition programs for small companies need to be flexible when it comes to their methods of recognition.

What forms of recognition should you try and implement?

Well, it can be anything from gift certificates, an employee of the month recognition, getting to work from home, leaving work early/arrive later, enabling your employee to move up in terms of authority and choose their assignment, and perhaps even the team they will work with. Keep in mind that. The larger and more successful the company, the bigger the recognition needs to be.

How to Design a Rewards Program that caters to small and large Companies?

The most well-known option for rewarding your employees, apart from giving them a raise, is to provide them with a bonus. However, if you are looking to motivate your employees in the long run, bonuses are probably not the best option, since they have a relatively short-term effect. On the other hand, they can be powerful motivators that will push employees to give outstanding performances time after time, which certainly benefits the company.

Stock options are another type of reward you might consider. In the past, they used to be reserved strictly for upper management in well-established companies which have been in business for years. However, they have become more common in startups. If you are looking for rewards which motivate your employees for a longer period of time, stocks are a good option. They not only reward the loyalty of your employees which have been with the company for years, but also make your employees more invested in your company’s future, and less likely to jump ship.

Profit sharing is a type of reward which allows you to distribute a percentage of your profit among your employees, in accordance with how much they earn. This sort of reward is usually given at the end of the year, after you have closed your books. And it doesn’t have to be an addition to someone’s salary, but rather their 401(k) plan.
Empuls, an Employee Recognition Vendor for Companies of all Sizes

In the course of this article, we have understood how to start a rewards and recognition program in an organization, the difference between rewards and recognition, and how their implementation differs in small and large organizations.

No matter if you are a small organization or large, an employee recognition vendor like Empuls can help you design a rewards and recognition program to suit your needs and organizational DNA. Schedule a demo today and talk to our executives to find out why Empuls is the right employee recognition vendor for your organization. You can also start a 30-day free trial now.

Build a culture of reward and recognition with Empuls. Effective rewards and recognition programs can ignite purpose and potential in your team. With Empuls, you can start an RnR program that’s candid, social, frictionless & fun. Want to know more? Book a demo or start a free trial.

Michael Gorman

Michael Gorman is a highly skilled freelance writer from UK who currently works for the best essay writing services. He shares his writing experience and useful tips for budding writers on his blog.