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Green reward system
A green reward system

A green reward system

Organisations set reward systems to recognise their employees’ performances and to motivate them to keep high standards of productivity or service. Rewards can be monetary, non-monetary and psychological. In the literature, rewards are generally divided into intrinsic and extrinsic:

  • Intrinsic rewards are non-physical, intangible rewards and are internal to the individual. Examples: words of praise from seniors, working with higher level of freedom and autonomy, personal achievement and growth, and receiving more challenging tasks.
  • Extrinsic rewards are tangible, physical, and external to the individual. These rewards may be in monetary form or as other forms of benefits (e.g. company car, discounted or free health insurance, better office, etc.).

With the increase of green businesses, reward systems also have to align with the new approach. For example, giving employees free access to printing and copying may not be in line with a green mindset. In order to be effective, rewards and incentives in green companies need to reflect the comprehensive sustainable approach embraced by the organisation. They need to connect to the organisation’s culture and conceptually sustain the behavioural change the business is promoting.

To summarise, today the reward strategy is not, or should not be, simply about paying employees more or offering them fleeting forms of benefit. The concept of reward should be extended to the point that an organisation needs to redesign the work so as to give employees the opportunity to perform well and find a meaning in what they do.

As a business, think about how you’d establish your green credentials. And once established, how you might include a green reward to staff.


Rank a Brand is an independent brand comparison website that assesses and ranks consumer brands on sustainability and social responsibility. It’s a tool used by suppliers to show their ethical credentials and by consumers to check which product/s have been produced ethically.

Let’s imagine you are a business owner who has a high placement on ‘Rank a Brand’ which demonstrates progress in your sustainable business practice. Through consistent hard work your staff finally takes your business into a top placement on Rank a Brand.

Now how would you develop a green reward strategy for your employees?

Post your thoughts in the Comments area below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Business Futures: Sustainable Business Through Green HR

RMIT University