The investigation of how reward and recognition impact on the levels of employee engagement of professional services staff at University of KwaZulu-Natal.
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In today’s high-paced and boundary-less organisations, businesses world-wide are competing for high quality talent. Human resources practitioners are faced with having to provide responsive business solutions like ensuring that once talent is employed in the organisation, they are fully engaged in order to drive and achieve business results. Employee engagement entails the extent to which employees are committed and involved with the organisation and its values. Literature has indicated a direct link between employee engagement and performance, which in turn ensures that organisational goals are achieved. This study investigated on the Professional Services sector employees of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, to determine their level of engagement, how do reward and recognition influence different demographic groups and work-life variables in Professional Services, as well as to determine the impact of reward and recognition on employee engagement. The mixed method approach was used to collect data for this study. The study revealed that there is a strong relationship between reward and recognition and employee engagement, irrespective of the employees’ demographic cluster. It was also showed that these two factors are not the only important factors that drive employee engagement. Other factors related to recognition, as determined in the study, also impact on engagement: working on an interesting assignment, participating in professional development activities, performance bonus pay, as well as being nominated for a monetary performance award. Given these findings, this therefore calls for holistic employee engagement strategies that will seek to maximise the engagement of employees by addressing all these factors to the employees’ satisfaction. Based on these findings, several recommendations were made, among them, the fact that the University of KwaZulu-Natal investigates more cost-effective benefit packages which will allow for more net pay in the staff members’ accounts. While the study revealed that benefits are important for all categories of staff, irrespective of age, race etc., it also came out strongly that the staff needs the flexibility and choices that will balance both needs for healthy benefit structure and enough cash in the pocket to make ends meet.