Your business is nothing without the employees and team members that make the wheels turn day in and day out. Rewarding hardworking employees is a simple and effective way to let them know how much they are appreciated, which can then lead to increased productivity and output.
So employee rewards are an essential component of effective employee engagement strategies, but many leaders still struggle to implement them successfully. By aligning the rewards you offer with your team’s values, you can positively influence how they’re received.
When it comes to rewarding your employees, cash is king—but only for a few hours. Money is not a long-term motivator. Sure, employees love a check—who doesn’t?—but finding ways to engage with them rather than pay them off will result in more loyal, harder working employees.
Here are 101 ways to say, “I appreciate you and all your hard work,” without breaking your budget.
1. Team outings
Taking a group of employees to a movie, group dinner or bowling is not only a nice reward for a job well done, but it also helps to build company morale and culture. You double-dip — you keep your employees happy and build a stronger overall team.
One of my all-time favorite places to take teams is Top Golf. It’s such a fun environment — one that is competitive and social. This is the best kind of setting to use when you want employees to bond and strengthen their chemistry.
2. Lunch with the president/CEO/leader
You might be surprised how many employees would love a chance to sit down and break bread with the leader of the organization. If your employees want to get to know you better, why not give them a chance in an informal, relaxed setting?
3. Training and courses
There are countless courses that employees can enroll in to improve their skills and gain certifications. Consider curating a list of online courses you can provide subsidized or free access to.
4. Flexible Hours
Let your team work when they want to work. The flexibility can be worth a lot more than cash. Maybe they won’t need daycare services for their child, for example, if they can make their own schedule.
5. Wall of Fame
Create a wall of fame for each recognized employee. Be sure to write below their picture what they did that you’re recognizing them for.
6. Concert tickets
Local events are another great, custom-tailored reward you can offer your team. Are there any events coming to town that you know your team would be excited to attend? Those would be some excellent rewards for a job well done.
7. Gym membership
More people are focused on health and fitness now than ever — rewarding employees with a company-paid gym membership shows them that you care about their health and well-being.
8. Books based on personal interests
According to experts, reading makes us smarter and nicer. “Giving an employee a book is a subtle gesture that shows you want to help them better themselves, and when you give them a book based on a personal interest it shows that you are interested in them as a person and not just an employee,” says Justin Farar of Farar & Lewis.
9. Celebrate Birthdays
Everyone likes to be remembered on their birthday. Celebrate with a cake, or take the whole office to lunch and buy the birthday person’s lunch.
10. Sleep-in day
Have you ever woken to an alarm in the early morning hours — sunlight barely peeking through the curtains and the world just beginning to hum — wishing that you could indulge in that moment just a little longer?
Providing the option to enjoy that time could be a great way to reward an employee’s contributions. As an added bonus, it might help eliminate grouchy behavior.
11. Learning Library
Create a “learning library” of CDs, DVDs and audiobooks that employees can check out. Show your appreciation to employees by allowing them to select new programs based on what they want to learn.
12. Happy hour
Happy hours are a great way to get everyone together outside of the office in a more neutral and relaxed setting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be at a bar, or include alcohol — the real goal here is to provide an environment that gives everyone an opportunity to kick off their shoes and get to know each other better.