Should Rewards and Recognition be only for Entry-Level Employees?

Should Rewards and Recognition be only for Entry-Level Employees?

Employees today are no longer satisfied only with good pay packages and benefits, even though these are still considered to be the two most important aspects of career growth. It is this fact that has led organizations to have well-defined employee rewards and recognition programs in place. However, the one major error that most organizations make in this context is to have such programs only for their entry-level employees.

What makes this approach inappropriate?

Most organizations feel that while rewarding and recognizing entry-level employees is of utmost importance, it does not hold much significance for employees working at other levels within the organization. They believe that since the other professionals have a greater experience level and in most cases have been associated with the organization for too long to feel insecure or not being valuable enough.

Unfortunately, most mid and senior-level employees do not share this thought and feel the need for consistent motivation and appreciation as much as entry-level employees. Thus by opting to focus only on the newest members of their workforce, in terms of employee recognition, organizations can actually end up demotivating their older and better-performing employees.

Consequences of selective or restricted employee recognition programs

Organizations having recognition programs focusing only on entry-level employees are likely to suffer from several disadvantages. Sadly, such organizations fail to acknowledge the consequences of the absence of a fair recognition program valid for all employees.

The most common consequences are discussed in brief as follows:

1. Development of divisive company culture

One of the biggest consequences that organizations face by opting to have a recognition system focusing only on entry-level employees is the birth of divisive organization culture. This culture is rarely beneficial for the organization, as it will not only breed dissent among the employees and affect the level of cooperation and support that new employees receive from the older ones.

This can further hinder the proper functioning of the business and may even hamper effective communication between co-workers and even with the management.

2. Reduction in employee engagement level

The absence of a fair rewards and recognition system increases the disappointment levels of even the most dedicated employees. As a result, they tend to become indifferent towards the happenings around them and this naturally increases their disengagement level.

The decline in engagement levels can also result in a significant rise in employee turnover. This can hamper smooth operations in the organization and also cause a decline in its productivity and even credibility as an employer.

3. A decline in the employer brand

Organizations that prefer to ignore the efforts and contributions of their highest performing employees while rewarding and recognizing their entry-level employees lose their credibility as a preferred employer. In fact, the best candidates might stride clear of accepting any employment offers from such organizations as they feel that their hard work and contribution towards will not be appreciated or even acknowledged after a specific time period.

Most young professionals may value this above any additional perks and benefits; the absence makes them least inclined to take up any job offers with such organizations. This naturally has a negative impact on the brand value of the organization as a recruiter, making it increasingly difficult for them to find quality candidates for various roles.

4. Demotivated employees lack innovation and creativity

When organizations fail to acknowledge their long-serving employees, it naturally brings down the overall motivation level of the entire workplace. The members of the workforce tend to carry out different tasks in a programmed manner rather than feeling any kind of excitement or involvement in the same.

They also tend to become less creative and innovative as they see no point in exploring unique ideas and options to enhance organizational growth. In most cases, the employees even stop taking any initiatives and wait for instructions from their superiors to perform tasks that they could have done voluntarily if recognized and rewarded appropriately. 

This, in turn, makes the overall work environment somewhat dull and boring and promotes absenteeism among employees.


There is a debate among HR practitioners that employee rewards and recognition programs should be targeted only at entry-level employees. However, as mentioned in this article, it is best to adopt a comprehensive employee reward and recognition system across all levels of the organization.

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