Low recognition and reward

Low recognition and reward can have serious psychological health impacts at work and is a hazard. It means there is an imbalance between the effort workers put in and the recognition or reward they get. Or in other words, a low level of acknowledgement, reward or recognition for an employee's contributions. If you believe that your lack of recognition or reward is based on your role as an HSR see our page on discrimination for OHS reasons. 

Remember, if there are psychosocial hazards present in your workplace your employer must consult HSRs when addressing these issues.

Examples of low recognition and reward include: 

  • Lack of or inadequate feedback about performance
  • A mismatch between a worker's efforts and the formal and informal recognition and rewards received for that effort 
  • A lack of skill development opportunity 
  • Skills and experience are not utilised effectively
  • There are unfair award processes that do not reflect worker contributions to an organisation or team
  • Worker's are discriminated against or their contributions not recognised because of their union activity or activity as health and safety representatives.

This list is not exhaustive. 

Some risk management steps - and steps you can take to identify low recognition and reward as an HSR - are: 

  • Make sure your employer's Health and Safety Committees have at least 50% representation from workers. Encourage feedback, especially on any changesConsult workers and HSRs.
  • Utilise surveys and tools to assess psychosocial risks in the workplace.
  • Establish a system for workers to report their concerns, while ensuring anonymity and treating their concerns with respect and seriousness to encourage reporting.
  • Observe work and behaviours.
  • Use your powers under section 69 to request and review available information related to health and safety. This could include employee retention, incident reports, complaints, time-off records, injuries, incidents, and workers' compensation.
  • Ensure HSR's and workers are consulted.

Some measures employers can take to control low recognition and reward include: 

  • A workplace culture that values and encourages union and HSR consultation and participation. 
  • A recognition or rewards system that recognises and facilities the appreciation and celebration of individual and group contributions to a job. 
  • Systems to make sure that recognition and rewards are fair and equitable and are not unrealistic. 
  • Redesigning work to maximise worker's involvement, enrichment and engagement. 
  • Meaningful acknowledgment of employee's work.
  • Listening to workers needs, concerns and ideas and consulting them as a meaningful form of recognition. 
  • Providing opportunities for career development that are fairly and evenly distributed on the basis of merit and not favoritism. 
  • Ensure feedback and performance management focuses on things workers can control and that it is specific, practical and fair. 

For useful information on how low recognition and reward can be addressed see:

Updated July 2023