The University of Queensland (UQ) Recognition and Reward Framework outlines an approach which will enhance the University’s ability to attract, retain, motivate and engage staff and assist us to achieve our goals.


The University of Queensland (UQ) Recognition and Reward Framework is an important part of our approach to recognising our people and celebrating our achievements and performance. It is designed to be used by all staff to support recognition and reward efforts across the University and provides an overarching approach for individual and team Awards.

The UQ Recognition and Reward Framework supports the University of Queensland Strategic Plan 2014-2017, UQ Values and UQ Leadership.

UQ Strategic Plan:

People and culture objective

Through effective leadership at all levels, we will have a positive, performance-based culture and community.

People and culture strategy

Recognise and reward innovation and the strong performance of our teams and individuals.

UQ Values 

Supporting our people: We create an inclusive and supportive university community in which achievements are celebrated and rewarded.

UQ Leadership

Values people and builds culture

Achieves results and drives accountability

Through this Framework, we seek to create an environment where UQ staff are acknowledged for their contribution to the University’s achievements. All UQ staff are responsible for contributing to a culture that recognises and rewards staff achievements and performance.


The following principles underpin and guide recognition and reward at UQ.

  1. Recognise achievements and performance that advances the UQ Strategic Plan, UQ Values and UQ Leadership.
  2. Recognise and reward staff so that we attract, retain, motivate and engage our staff.
  3. Be specific, sincere and personalise recognition and reward.
  4. Provide timely recognition to individuals and teams.
  5. Be fair, equitable, transparent and consistent.
  6. Be simple to understand and implement.
  7. Be clearly communicated to staff.

What is Recognition and Reward at UQ?

Recognition and reward at UQ is about valuing and celebrating the contributions of our staff. It caters for different preferences in the way recognition is given. All staff are encouraged to provide recognition to peers and colleagues appropriately and when warranted. Recognition and celebration of achievements and performance should be part of our day to day way of working.

Types of Recognition and Reward at UQ

At UQ we acknowledge that recognition and reward is most effective when it takes place on a regular basis, in a variety of ways and at all levels across the University. There are a number of formal and informal mechanisms for recognising and rewarding the achievements and performance of staff.

a) Informal

Informal recognition and reward focuses on immediate, sincere and personalised appreciation of a staff member’s efforts. It is one of the most effective means of acknowledging the work of others and letting them know their contribution is valued. All staff can participate in providing recognition across the University. Depending on what is appropriate and meaningful to the staff member it could include for example verbal or written thanks/recognition, a certificate and/or small gift.

b) Local Level

At the local level formal recognition and reward is locally managed, coordinated and funded by the Faculty, School, Institute or Division. The UQ Recognition and Reward Framework, Guideline and the Recognition and Reward website resources may be used to assist organisational units in implementing recognition and reward practices.

c) UQ Awards for Excellence

UQ Awards for Excellence recognise and reward significant and outstanding achievement and performance of individuals and teams who demonstrate exceptional achievement in activities that are aligned to the University’s Values. Our staff work across a diversity of roles and these Awards celebrate and reward leadership behaviour and staff achievements and performance across all levels of the University, regardless of position.

The Awards are open to all UQ employees and they may nominate an individual or team. The Awards are by nomination, assessed against selection criteria and considered by a committee. The finalists are advised and invited to an annual ceremony.


For recognition and reward to be effective and meaningful it needs to be integrated into daily work practice. A successful recognition and reward approach includes a range of recognition and reward practices, according to staff and UQ needs.

The Recognition & Reward website contains information on formal and informal recognition and reward practices. There are resources and links to support organisational units to implement a successful recognition and reward program.

UQ’s Staff Development Program includes training on developing skills in delivering effective recognition, such as Recognition and Development, Skills for First-Time Supervisors, Leading & Managing Self & Others and Demonstrating Your Leadership Behaviours.


The Recognition and Reward Framework applies to all continuing, fixed-term and casual staff.

Eligibility for formal recognition and reward Awards will be specified within the UQ Awards for Excellence and Local Level Awards selection criteria.





These guidelines are to be used in conjunction with the UQ Recognition and Reward Framework.

Explaining Recognition and Reward

Staff recognition is acknowledged as a key driver of employee engagement, satisfaction and organisational loyalty. A recognition and reward program that aligns to UQ’s Values, Strategic Plan and/or UQ Leadership Framework can positively influence workplace morale, improve employee motivation and drive desired behaviours. It is also important in attracting and retaining high quality people. A good recognition and reward program should include both formal and informal elements and allow for direct and indirect recognition from supervisors/managers, peers and colleagues.

Applying Recognition and Reward

Who can recognise others?

All employees at UQ can recognise individuals and teams.

Who should be recognised and rewarded?

All employees should be considered for recognition and reward where appropriate.  One of the most important aspects of recognition and reward is the message. Ensure it is timely, personalised, specific and sincere.  Recognition and reward reinforces positive behaviours of employees.

Individuals and teams may be recognised and rewarded. It is possible and encouraged to provide recognition to staff outside of your work area with different reporting relationships, where they have provided outstanding service and engagement, support towards achieving a goal or project or positively impacted the success of your area.

Why is recognition important?

Recognition is a powerful motivator. By recognising staff members according to the achievement and performance may lead to an increase in performance, morale, retention and overall job satisfaction.

When should recognition and reward take place?

Recognition and reward should occur as close to the actual activity as possible. Timely recognition has the greatest impact on individual or team performance and workplace culture.

What should you recognise and reward?

Some suggestions of what could be recognised and rewarded are:

Considerations when providing recognition and reward to staff

  • Ensure that the level of the recognition and/or reward is commensurate with the achievement, level of performance or impact on the University
  • The recognition and reward process should reflect equity in the distribution of rewards and be aware of perceptions of favouritism and bias
  • Ensure the type or form of recognition and reward are specific and meaningful to the particular staff member by taking into account their different recognition and reward preferences. For example, some individuals enjoy public recognition and others prefer private recognition in person or with a thank you note
  • Ensure that the reason for the recognition and reward, and the impact of the behaviour or actions has been clearly communicated, firstly to the individual or team and then to a wider audience, if appropriate. (eg their supervisor, if they work in a different organisational unit)

Involve staff in Recognition and Reward

The best approach to ensure an effective recognition and reward program is for supervisors/managers to ask team members what they value and appreciate. You may decide to put recognition and reward on the next team meeting agenda.

Suggestions for Informal Recognition and Reward

  • Praise, in person and/or in front of others
  • Writing a note, email or thank you card
  • Acknowledgement at staff meetings or other appropriate forums
  • A certificate or letter of appreciation
  • A small gift such as a gift voucher, movie tickets, flowers, book
  • Setting up a notice board to display thank you memos, photos or progress towards goals
  • Celebrate milestones in projects through an acknowledgement or staff activity
  • Implementation of a staff idea or proposal
  • Developmental opportunities (given priority to attend higher level meetings, attendance at external conferences or seminars)
  • Selected to represent an area at a meeting or attend as an observer
  • Opportunities for the staff member to provide comment on specific issues or policies
  • Coordinate and chair a meeting
  • Provide special project/assignment work

Monetary Prize

A Faculty, School, Institute or Division may provide a monetary prize for a Recognition and Rewards Program operating at the local level.  The monetary prize is subject to PAYG tax and the superannuation guarantee.  It should be processed through the University’s payroll system and must adhere to the Financial Delegations Policy 1.10.02.

Small Gifts, Awards & Celebrations

From time to time supervisors/managers may find it more appropriate to provide individual staff or teams with a small gift, gift card, award or celebration to recognise their achievements. All purchases using University funds must be in accordance with University policies and procedures and the Code of Conduct.


Where budgetary conditions allow Faculties, Schools, Institutes or Divisions, may procure rewards in accordance with University Procurement.

The recognition and reward should be selected to reflect the staff member’s interest.

Fringe Benefits Tax

Whenever University funds are expended for staff recognition and reward other than through the payroll system, fringe benefits tax (FBT) must be taken into consideration.

Gifts for staff that are under $299 in value and are not frequently provided may be classed as a minor benefit by the ATO. A minor benefit is exempt from FBT. Gifts to staff purchased by the University and $300 or more in value will incur FBT.

FBS can provide advice on the FBT implications by emailing or refer to UQ FBT Guide.

Gift Register

Any gift provided to a staff member that is provided under a rewards and recognition program does not need to be disclosed in the gifts register.  The University's Financial Delgations Policy 1.10.02 will apply to the purchase of the prize and this will set the limit on the amount of the prize. Refer to the reportable gifts policy for more information.


There is no requirement for reporting on recognition and reward activities. The success of recognition and reward at UQ may be measured through the UQ Staff Engagement Survey and improvement in workplace culture.

However, if Faculties, Schools, Institutes or Divisions would like to track financial transactions relating to recognition and reward, FBS has created fund code 156 to assist in this instance.

Further assistance

Staff are encouraged to consult with Human Resources if they require assistance with understanding any aspect of the framework, guideline or advice on recognition and reward or visit