Compensation vs. Reward: A New Mom's Perspective

August 6, 2019 Sarah Mulcahy

3-minute read


Have you ever taken a look around your house and felt a surge of gratitude for your job?

Though most of us work to provide for our families and have a comfortable home life, there’s often a disassociation between our compensation and the things we’re able to afford because of that compensation. A paycheck or even a bonus is often spent before it even hits your bank account. It becomes less a gift and more an expectation. That’s just reality.

But if you work for a company with a healthy Social Recognition® program – like I do – you likely feel that sense of gratitude outside of the office more than the average worker. You have the opportunity to earn rewards from your peers and your wider network of colleagues for those incremental moments that are essential to getting projects across the finish line. Rather than waiting for that big bonus in January, you are surprised with smaller awards throughout the year that can be redeemed for things you might not otherwise spend your money on.

A few years ago I wrote about a trip I took to Iceland with my boyfriend, Andrew. We ran a half marathon together in Reykjavik and rented a car to explore the southern part of the country – waterfalls, glaciers, and sheep. I was able to take that trip by redeeming my awards for various airline and hotel gift cards in the Workhuman® reward network.

I was recently thinking about how my life has changed since that trip in 2016 – and consequently, how my redemption habits have changed. Just a year after that post, Andrew (who’s now my husband) and I got engaged, bought a house, and had a baby girl, Mabel. Now a huge chunk of both of our paychecks goes toward the mortgage and daycare expenses.

But Workhuman’s Social Recognition program, Gratitudes, has been there through all my major life events, too. Working in my home office the other day, I looked around and started to tally all the things I’ve redeemed for in Gratitudes that have made life easier for me and my family. Here are just a few:

  • Baby furniture: I was that pregnant woman ordering a bassinet, changing table/dresser, and bookcase for my daughter’s room just two weeks before my due date. Amazingly, everything arrived on time. Thank you, Pottery Barn.
  • Home improvement: From building a gate to babyproof the deck, to buying mulch, pool supplies, and too many tools to count, my husband is now a regular at Lowe’s.
  • Toiletries: When you have a newborn, what was once a simple trip to the store can be a major hassle. Amazon gift cards have been my lifesaver when it comes to diapers, toilet paper, soap, baby wipes, and so many other basic necessities delivered right to my door.
  • TV: Moving from a one-bedroom apartment to a three-bedroom house meant we were in need of a major TV upgrade. Rather than getting a cheaper TV that’s only going to last a year or two, we used Best Buy gift cards to splurge on the hi-def smart TV.
  • Self-care: I redeemed for spa gift cards before I became a mom, but I don’t think I really appreciated how sweet this perk is until now. With Gratitudes, I make spa appointments without feeling guilty for spending money on facials or massages. It’s amazing.

Of course, I’m only able to consistently receive these awards because Workhuman invests heavily in Gratitudes. The program is truly owned by employees, who are empowered to show gratitude and appreciation in the everyday flow of work. Best practice for any company with social recognition is to invest at least 1% of payroll into your program in order to reap all the wonderful ROI – decreased turnover, increased engagement, and those emotional connections between employees that help you ride out changes in your business or industry.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. Check out some of our case studies that show how Social Recognition is building more grateful cultures at companies like Cisco, P&G, Hershey, and LinkedIn.


Running in Reykjavik: What Iceland taught me about recognition

I am a special snowflake

Party on: A case for celebrating life's biggest moments at work

About the Author

Sarah Mulcahy

Sarah is senior content marketing manager at Workhuman. When not writing and reading about all things culture, leadership, recognition, and appreciation, she enjoys iced coffee, running, and spending time with her daughters, Mabel and Eva.

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