Recognition by Gender

Dear Levy,

Gender equality is a hot button issue in workplaces across the country. Should we be concerned about our recognition program? Do male and female employees need different types of recognition?
--Recognition by Gender



Dear Recognition by Gender,

Tackling the question of how gender affects performance and recognition in the workplace poses a sticky situation. No one wants to offend an employee who may not identify with gender stereotypes. No employer wants to be accused of discrimination. It’s not surprising you’d be concerned about gender when constructing a recognition program.

Before trying to find a fair and even approach to recognition, let’s look at the type of recognition each gender prefers and then look at the type of recognition they receive.   

A study by P&MM Employee Recognition Analysis found that men tend to be most invested in their pay and benefits, advancement and professional success, and authority and overall status. There’s no doubt that women also value pay and benefits, but research suggests that they place even higher value on other aspects of the workplace experience. These include being verbally thanked for their work, building professional relationships and gaining friends at work, receiving recognition and respect from colleagues, and enjoying excellent communication and collaboration with coworkers.

The same study also revealed a “pay gap” when it comes to how men and women are recognized for their work. More than 74% of all recognition received by men has a monetary value, compared to 64% of women.

Another thing to point out, even though both men and women reported the same levels of job satisfaction, men cited slightly higher levels of motivation, feeling valued by their employer and working harder because of the recognition they receive. About 56% of men say their supervisor provides recognition effectively compared with only 47% of women echoing the same sentiments.

Are you starting to see the issue here? An employee’s personality plays a big part in the type of recognition you should be giving. But, when monetary incentives are part of the equation, many companies are finding that their female employees aren’t happy just accepting a simple, “Thank you.” while their male counterparts are raking in the cash.

If you are making efforts to eliminate the gap in your recognition program, you may want to consider a recognition program that does not utilize monetary incentives. In fact, to ensure employees are receiving a far amount of recognition, you may switch up your program to a points-based system. Using a points-based recognition system will motivate your employees, male or female, to be more engaged in the workplace. Employees can earn points for various things and later redeem them for gifts and prizes they choose themselves. every time they get points they get the satisfaction of using those points or steadily saving points to get an item that is important to them personally. Once they receive that item – whether it’s a big screen TV or a grill or a laptop computer – every time they use it they will remember how they got it – through their own productivity or achievements.

Points-based recognition appeals to both men’s and women’s psychological need to be recognized and appreciated. A recognition program that allows them to choose their own rewards appeals to both genders as it makes them a proactive part of the recognition process.

They say cash is king, but when it comes to recognition in the workplace, I’d be cautious to make it an incentive to motivate employees. Studies show that it’s less effective than other recognition methods.

Keep it Fair for All,

Recognition Rachel

A Beginner’s Guide to Corporate Gift Giving