Top 5 Employee Reward Ideas

How many times have employees been awarded something that they end up never using, or are never interested in? Or worse, after receiving a gift, the employee feels less engaged and less motivated? A lack of meaningful rewards can be especially damaging to your high performers, who will be out the door once they’ve realized the reward is not genuine.

Dude Quits Job After Receiving Meaningless Award

By alphaspirit: Shutterstock

“Bye, Felicia!”

As such, the key to any award/recognition program within an organization is giving out rewards that employees value and will actually use. In addition, once you’ve established various recognition programs, it’s important to have rewards in place that further instill value and purpose within a job position. Today, employees want to be recognized for job performance. Meaningful rewards are not just a nice thought—they’re a must.

Below are five employee reward ideas to help keep your employees motivated and engaged so they can continue their outstanding job performance.

  1. Gift lists

Gift lists are a great solution for finding your employees the right and personalized reward they deserve. It not only allows them to be more motivated to receive a future item, but is a better way to show appreciation than a generic gift.  

At Awardco, our focus is to increase engagement and satisfaction through effective recognition programs. The Awardco Platform is the easiest, most affordable way to implement employee recognition tactics into your organization. How it works is that employees can choose from an entire range of products that are available on, hotel stays from, Visa Reward Cards, tickets to sporting events, broadway shows, concerts, Disneyland, and merchant gift cards for dining, shopping, and entertainment. In the end, it’s personalized products that motivate employees.

  1. Service awards

Service awards recognize employee loyalty and hard work throughout the years. Cash prizes do not cut it anymore, as they don’t leave a lasting impression of an employee’s service to the company.

Celebrating work anniversaries is important for increasing employee engagement, and plays a crucial role in overall employee retention. If workers aren’t recognized for their years of service, it’s more likely they’ll seek other employment.

What type of service awards best show appreciation and instill purpose within a job? Here is a sample of service award ideas that best recognize loyal employees:

  • Engraved plaque, trophy or award (colored glass, marble, crystal, etc.)
  • Receptions, such as a luncheon
  • Dinner/trip vouchers
  • Watches
  • Gift certificates

Again, the key is to make the service award personal and meaningful to the employee.

  1. Traveling trophy

A unique take on employee awards is creating temporary awards within the office that gets passed from employee to employee. The physical trophy can be a creative collaboration developed by employees, such as a figurine or a meaningful object that relates to the company culture.

As for what you give as a reward, work with your employees to develop what work and/or job performance the reward recognizes, how often the trophy rotates (weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc.), and how the winners are announced (in a meeting, in an email, on social media, etc.). The traveling trophy needs to have an appeal to employees and should act as encouragement for more peer-to-peer recognition.

  1. Time off/travel awards

Looking for a cost-effective employee award? Time off awards are a great example of intangible awards that are “just as effective and cost the company far less” and “have a huge impact.” Plus, employees can use the time off to restart and come back to work more refreshed and productive.

Business Woman Gets More Vacation Time From Company

By alphaspirit: Shutterstock

“Casual Friday offices are the BEST.”

Furthermore, you can even keep the travel award career-related, such as flying employees to industry-related conferences or giving them an extra day in the city after meeting with a client.

  1. Promotion

Lastly, in addition to bonuses, promotions should be considered when rewarding your top performing employees. The best way to do this is to create a company culture of career advancement.

Again, when it comes to retention and building employee loyalty, you need to make sure your employees are being paid competitively and have career growth opportunities. As a recent Forbes article explains, “Empowerment and motivation happen when people solve their own problems, and create their own aspirations and expectations.” In addition to building skill sets and personal growth, advancing in an organization needs to be available to employees and serves as a great motivator.  

The more genuine your employee rewards are, the better engagement and retention you’ll have within your organization in the years to come. Learn how to build a personalized recognition culture through Awardco’s customizable programs and how they can be tailored to your organizational needs.

Contact us to see how we can increase employee engagement by improving your employee recognition programs and save you money while doing it.