Original Research

Exploring meaningful rewards for pharmaceutical employees during COVID-19

Thylanu Ankiah, Emmerentia N. Barkhuizen, Calvin Mabaso
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 50 | a2107 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v50i0.2107 | © 2024 Thylanu Ankiah, Emmerentia N. Barkhuizen, Calvin Mabaso | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 May 2023 | Published: 04 July 2024

About the author(s)

Thylanu Ankiah, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Administration, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Emmerentia N. Barkhuizen, Centre for Work Performance, College of Business and Administration, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Calvin Mabaso, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Administration, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: The emergence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has compelled various organisations to alter their human resource management approaches in response to a challenging work milieu. Providing meaningful rewards is imperative for maintaining employee productivity and business continuity during turmoil.

Research purpose: The main objective of this research was to explore significant incentives for employees of pharmaceutical enterprises amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, this study examined the reward preferences of pharmaceutical professionals in managerial positions concerning their age and gender.

Motivation for the study: Despite the extensive body of research on rewards during the COVID-19 pandemic, there exists a notable gap in the literature regarding the investigation of total rewards in the pharmaceutical industry from the vantage points of gender and age.

Research approach/design and method: A qualitative research approach was followed with data collected from managerial employees in a pharmaceutical company (N = 12). Thematic analyses were applied.

Main findings: Overall, the female participants exhibited a greater propensity towards all rewards than male counterparts. The COVID-19 pandemic mostly impacted female Millennials, who identified all aspects of total rewards as crucial. Male Baby Boomers were more inclined towards being incentivised by monetary remuneration than non-monetary perks.

Practical/managerial implications: The findings underscore the importance of leaders prioritising human-centred values such as trust, appreciation, interpersonal connections, and collaborative teamwork.

Contribution/value-add: The study’s results prompt researchers and practitioners to reconsider conventional characteristics and incentive inclinations of distinct age cohorts and gender categories, which have undergone modifications because of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Keywords

COVID-19; Fourth Industrial Revolution; gender equality; generational cohorts; total rewards

JEL Codes

J24: Human Capital • Skills • Occupational Choice • Labor Productivity

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Metrics

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