Rewarding corporate culture

Use reward systems to manage your organisational culture


Rewards links to employee attraction and retention and as such have a role to play in managing talent. However, despite a range of research, there is still lack of clarity on employee preferences relating to reward. Reward and recognition are a lot trickier than they appear. It's well understood that feelings of underappreciation lead to demotivated and disengaged employees, which ultimately hurts the bottom line. Tha is why it is important to reward those behaviors and outcomes that are most important and valued by employees.


A company could have the world’s best recognition and reward program, run by one of the leading vendors. But if your employees don’t perceive the value of the motivational program, because the rewarded behaviour or outcome is irrelevant or arbitrary, then it will have little effect. In this case, the return on investment of the program will be minimal — no matter what.


Meanwhile, culture is created by the things leaders choose to reward and punish in their organisations. For executives struggling to manage organisational change, corporate culture has become an important tool for strategic or structural realignment. Yet, culture has proved to be a subtle, intangible phenomenon—pervasive but difficult to manage or influence. Many managers have found that culture cannot be manipulated directly.


Reward systems, therefore, represent a particularly powerful means for influencing an organisation's culture. Much of the substance of culture is concerned with controlling the behaviours and attitudes of organization members, and the reward system is, therefore,  a primary method of achieving control. The reward system defines the relationship between the organization and the individual member by specifying the terms of exchange: It specifies the contributions expected from members and expresses values and norms to which those in the organization must conform, as well as the responses that individuals can expect to receive as a result of their performance.