​​​​​Useful resources

Rewarding employee performanceMan standing on a target with others around

Rewarding good performance is just as important as managing, motivating and monitoring performance. Meaningful reward and recognition strategies can positively influence employee attitudes and behaviour. You may wish to consider a range of financial and non-financial rewards to attract and retain quality employees.

Financial rewards

The minimum rates of pay you are required to pay your employees are typically set by State or National awards, agreements or legislation. Often awards will include a classification structure that will dictate rates of pay for particular classes of work or particular skill levels.

Employers and employees cannot agree to lesser rates of pay that those set by an award. However an employer may decide to pay above award wages as an incentive to employees or to reward performance.

To attract the best employees to your business and then retain them you may need to consider paying competitive salaries, and that might include offering above award wages.


Bonuses are often used as an ad hoc system of financial reward. They may be irregular and linked to particular performance measures or they may occur at specific times such as the end of the financial year or Christmas.

Non-financial rewards and recognition

Non-financial rewards may include recognition, higher status, positive feedback, more responsibility and greater participation.

Recognition is an important non-financial reward that is particularly valued by some employees. Having efforts noticed and publicly acknowledged can be a great motivator and encourage employees to stay with an employer.

For more information and ideas about what you can do to keep your employees motivated and reward their performance check out the Ways to motivate and reward your employees’ template







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Important information
Most small to medium businesses operate in industries that are covered by the State or National award system.  Awards are legal documents that outline the wages and conditions of employment for groups of employees in a particular industry or type of work.

If an employee is covered by a particular award, the award is legally binding on you as the employer. You must provide the entitlements outlined in the award including wages and penalty rates, hours of work, allowances and a range of other provisions.

Employers and employees cannot agree to lesser conditions or agree to ignore the award. However, arrangements providing for pay and conditions better than those in the award are legal.

Western Australian State awards
Western Australian State awards apply to employers and employees in the State industrial relations system. 

For advice on whether a State award applies to your business call Wageline on 1300 655 266 or visit commerce.wa.gov.au/labourrelations

National modern awards
National modern awards apply to employers and employees in the national industrial relations system.

For detailed information about modern awards, or advice on whether a modern award applies to your business call the Fair Work Ombudsman on13 13 94 or visit fairwork.gov.au

Keep up to date on all award changes with Wageline’s e-services.

The Workplace regulations section may also help you with State and National industrial award systems, duty of care​ and equal opportunity and employment. 

Tax implications
Remember there may be tax implications associated with some benefits for both you and your employee, so check with your accountant or the Australian Taxation Office.