Engagement matters: The importance of recognition and rewards

When applying for a job, all of us evaluate and assess more than just the job ad or the number that determines our salaries. We think about the company, its stability, its reputation, the people in its working environment. In interviews we ask questions about the company’s values, vision, work-life balance, and learning and development opportunities. 

When joining a company, we wish to settle not just for a job, but meaningful work because, subconsciously or consciously, we realize that we spend a big portion of our lives working. According to the Edelman 2021 Trust Barometer Special Report on the Belief-Driven Employee, employees have now become the most important stakeholders for companies: 59 percent of employees want their work to be more personally fulfilling and to work in an environment where they feel more valued, with 6 in 10 choosing their employer based on beliefs.

Creating a workplace that gives its employees a sense of worth, meaning, and pride has a lot to do with how the companies are approaching employee engagement and motivation.

Employee engagement can simply be seen as the emotional bond employees have with their workplace. It has a lot to do with employees’ willingness to participate and contribute to the company’s success. In other words, it’s about motivation and meaningful work.

Employee engagement has become one of the top priorities for most companies for several reasons. Most notably, it increases productivity because engaged employees outperform their peers who are not as engaged. Overall, companies with high employee engagement are 23 percent more profitable. It also improves the morale in the workplace and reduces absenteeism by as much as 41 percent, according to another Gallup study. 

Money is quite obviously an important factor for engagement and motivation. Given the unpredictable environment and global events we are experiencing, it is clear that competitive salaries and bonuses are of essence in order to secure employees’ financial stability and attract new talent. However, money is not the only thing keeping employees satisfied, motivated, and engaged. 

A comprehensive study analyzing 120 years of research across 86 studies showed that the association between salary and job satisfaction is not as strong as we might think. Comparing it cross-culturally, researches revealed that these findings are similar across countries. In other words, money as the sole booster of engagement and motivation can only go so far.  

Motivation and engagement in the workplace need additional components to flourish. If the work we do matches our interests and skills and we work in a caring environment that recognizes and rewards us for our contributions, chances are high that our job satisfaction and motivation will rise and with it, the success of the company as well. If we flourish, the company flourishes. 

Ways of boosting engagement: recognition and rewards 

Part of what makes work more meaningful is recognizing and rewarding a job well done, or more specifically, receiving praise and rewards for our efforts.

There are numerous ways employers can boost employee engagement. At Allianz, the annual Allianz Engagement Survey (AES) is an important tool the company uses to receive open and anonymous feedback and assess the variety of engagement factors.

More importantly, the company uses the AES as a data-driven approach to take action and address all issues that the employees brought up. It leads the way for meaningful discussion and action taken across teams, functions, and the entire Allianz Group. For example, as a result of employee feedback, Allianz created an internal engagement hub that ties feedback and care into action focusing on five initiative pillars: health and well-being; strategy and top management; job, processes, innovation, and change; learning and development; and recognition and rewards.

The importance of recognition and rewards at the company has already been clearly understood by the company’s top management, who utilize AES findings to create an engaging and rewarding workplace environment through a variety of different programs and initiatives:

Gender equality: equal pay for equal work

The company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been recognized globally and as of recently, Allianz’s insurance business has been globally EDGE Assess Certified. On the journey toward gender equality, Allianz insurance companies have recently also successfully implemented equal pay for equal work. Since the end of 2021, there is no pay gap globally between women and men performing the same or similar work.
Two smiling Allianz employees, a man and a woman. Next to them is the text "Allianz is an Equal Pay" company
In order to have clarity and eliminate any possible blind spots, Allianz’s Reward and Performance team applied a data-based approach that made it possible for the company’s operating entities to compare and analyze salaries according to the equal pay criteria. Equal pay will now be measured on a yearly basis. This is an important step in the journey toward gender equality at Allianz. 

Embracing change: the Allianz Ways of Working (WOW)

In August 2021, Allianz rolled out a set of Global Minimum Standards for its new Ways of Working (WOW) applicable to Allianz companies Group-wide. Flexibility, collaboration, and agility became the building blocks of the Allianz WOW standards that revolve around five key action points: flexible work and reduced travel; digital tools; health and well-being; lifelong learning; organization and culture.

Focusing on hybrid work within our WOW Global Minimum Standards, employees can choose to work remotely at least 40 percent of the time. Allianz has also significantly reduced business travel, while granting employees the option to self-assess their eligibility for working abroad up to 25 days per year.

Furthermore, to support the company’s hybrid WOW, digital collaboration tools are utilized to help employees work across locations, devices, and borders. Employees are also given one hour of learning time per week to help them build the skills they will need for the future.

Allianz’s employees have also been given access to anonymous professional support hotlines, called Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). These hotlines are free of charge and can provide help and support for multiple challenging life situations, such as feelings of prolonged stress, anxiety, burnout, issues with one’s manager or peers, problems in relationships, families and more.

Shaping the future of the company and building personal wealth: Employee Share Purchase Plan (ESPP)   

Every year, Allianz offers its employees the opportunity to invest in the company’s Employee Share Purchase Plan (ESPP) and take part in shaping their own future and the future of the company. Within the scope of the ESPP program, employees choose a one-off amount they want to invest, while Allianz contributes to that investment—for every three euros an employee invests, Allianz adds one euro on top.

Recognizing and rewarding the successful contribution of its employees, the company is also giving its employees one free Allianz share this year, without the need to invest. Employees can choose to participate in one or both programs.

ESPP offers employees opportunities to advance their financial goals and build personal wealth by enabling them to save for near-term goals, such as buying a home and investing toward long-term goals, such as retirement.  

Extra leave day for all employees: the Allianz Day for Our Future

In 2021, Allianz decided to thank its employees for the outstanding performance during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic by rewarding them with an additional day of leave. 

This year, Allianz will once again offer an additional day of leave to all employees, focusing on sustainability. All employees are encouraged to take this time to both consider what a better future could look like and engage in creating a sustainable impact within their communities. On a global level, Allianz is also supporting the World Cleanup Day on September 17 as well as the World Run from July 6 to October 4.

Sharing common values: sports and culture partnerships

Allianz builds partnerships with organizations that share its values, especially the company’s belief in embracing new ideas and technologies that have a positive impact on peoples’ lives. As part of the company’s partnerships, employees are able to engage and participate in special sports and culture experiences. Partnerships with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) or with the pianist Lang Lang, for example, bring to life art, design, innovation, and sustainability, with initiatives and exhibitions that invite the employees to participate in the shared experiences. 

At the same time, Allianz is also continuing the successful relationships with traditional sports and cultural institutions like FC Bayern München and Paralympics that both capture the emotional spirit of our business and inspire millions of people around the world, including its employees. 

Learn more about Allianz’s sports and culture partnerships.


Employee rewards and recognition programs that acknowledge employees’ efforts result in high-performing workplaces, more satisfied employees, and reduced turnover rates. Such programs create values that go beyond just pure financial benefits: they make work meaningful and life more fulfilling. 

The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 746 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.8 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2023, over 157,000 employees achieved total business volume of 161.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.7 billion euros for the group.
* Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.
** As of March 31, 2024.
As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements:
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