Recognising and rewarding staff

It is the HoD’s responsibility to explore how to recognise and reward staff in the department and to either put in place strategies within the department or seek to utilise those provided by the institution. 

Strategies for recognition and reward are numerous and should be tailored to suit the individual’s needs and values. While some individuals value public recognition for accomplishments and achievements, others value financial rewards, others value the time and interest shown in their work or personal development or the support for personal development activities or even being prepared to assist when needed.

Formal institutional strategies for recognition and rewarding of staff include:

  • Personal Promotion: While this process is one of individual application, it is desirable that the HoD encourages staff to apply. Some staff need this encouragement as they find the process of self-promotion difficult.  If the staff member so wishes, the HoD can also spend time with the staff member looking at the application.  The HoD should also encourage the staff member to visit the Dean to discuss his/her application. For more detail on the personal promotion process, see:

  • Academic Merit awards: While academics can apply for these awards themselves, it is preferable that HoDs identify worthy staff and make an application of their behalf. If you are unsure of what qualifies for a merit award, discuss this with the Dean or Director: Human Resources. More detail on the awards is available at:

Other strategies that can be pursued but which are not currently formalised include:

  • Career development discussions: Discussing a staff member’s future career plans and being prepared to invest time and energy in facilitating the needed development, is regarded as staff as recognition of their hard work and commitment to the department.
  •  Support for staff development: Supporting a staff member’s request to participate in staff development activities can also be used as a strategy to recognise hard work and commitment;
  •  Time-off: Where staff have been working very hard or have done a particularly good job or been prepared to work after hours e.g. for a departmental function, you may wish to surprise them with an afternoon off. Many staff view the flexibility shown around attending children’s functions, also recognition of hard work.

 Within the department, the following may also be considered:

  • Celebration of achievements e.g. a tea when someone has had a paper published or received a special award;
  • Public recognition of achievements at meetings;
  • Small gifts e.g. bottle of wine, chocolates or flowers;
  • Thanks to staff for a job well done


Last Modified: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:08:31 SAST