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7 Best Types of Rewards and Recognition for Employees

Performance Management
January 16, 2023
Rad time: 10min
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A job well done deserves praise. There’s a lot that impacts how employees feel about a job and how they perform on the job. Along with the various types of rewards and recognition for employees that are effective, employees need to be supported and cared for on a mental and emotional level. 

In this post, we’re going to share some useful employee rewards and recognition ideas. We’re also going to see what you can do on a deeper level to promote employee motivation and reduce employee absenteeism by prioritising employee mental wellbeing.

What is Employee Recognition?

An employee recognition scheme refers to informal and formal appreciation and acknowledgement of an employee’s contribution, efforts, behavior, business or attitude. 

Employee recognition can be provided by anyone within an organization, be it management, executives, or even peer-to-peer. Additionally, recognition can be granted for any contribution, whether it’s large or small. 

For example, you can publicly appreciate an employee for performing their day-to-day tasks or for reaching a major goal. For whatever you may choose to recognise, it should be genuine and timely. A sincere act can help to boost employee motivation and continue to reinforce desired behaviors

What is Recognition vs Rewards?

If you’re thinking about the different types of rewards and recognition for employees, you may also wonder how to reward employees without money. The truth is you can go either way! 

Let’s look at how to differentiate between rewards and recognition:

  • Rewards tend to be tangible. They are typically physical such as awards, certificates, gift cards, etc. They are also generally tied to performance, as in given when an employee reaches a set goal. 
  • Recognition can be shared at any time and isn’t  physical. It can be words of affirmation, employee spotlights, etc and are emotionally-driven. 

While rewards and recognition can make a huge and positive impact on your workforce, they won’t be properly received if employees aren’t in the right state of mind. It’s of paramount importance to support employees’ mental wellbeing so that they have the tools they need to reach their fullest potential.

Why is Employee Recognition Important?

Employee recognition programmes can help to shape the company’s culture. Employees who feel appreciated, rewarded, and recognized are less likely to turnover. 

Beyond the boost in retention, rewards and recognition can help to improve productivity levels, improve employee morale, and instill a sense of purpose in employees. 

What are Statistics of Employee Recognition?

The numbers don’t lie. 

Check out these intriguing stats about employee recognition and rewards:

  • Engaged employees are 17% more productive 
  • 78% of managers in the UK seek and desire recognition in their workplace 
  • 75% of employees who receive recognition monthly report feeling satisfied with their jobs 

69% of employees share that they would put in more effort if it was recognized

What are Types of Employee Recognition and Rewards?

Now, let’s get to the types of recognition at work and rewards that you can implement to help motivate your staff.

1. Bonus

A bonus is a monetary reward that is tied to reaching a certain goal. Bonuses can be small or large. They may be additional pay added onto the employee’s next paycheck or it could be a bonus like a vacation giveaway or gifts. 

2. Written Praise

Written praise, whether it's digital or hand-written, is a sentimental way to show appreciation for an employee. It doesn’t cost a lot in monetary terms, but it means a lot for the recipient. Plus, it’s something that the employee can hang onto as a keepsake or even hang up in their office for show. 

3. Verbal Praise

Verbal praise is commonly used amongst peers to share gratitude for one another’s contribution and efforts. Verbal praise is a wonderful way to provide recognition on an ad-hoc basis. 

4. Contests

Want a way to get everyone involved in pushing to reach a specified organization goal? Consider gamifying rewards and recognition. To do so, you can initiate contests. This is especially doable for sales teams and customer service. 

To illustrate, offer a reward like a day off or spa gift voucher for the customer service rep who closes the most open customer tickets by the end of the week or the sales rep who closes the most deals by the end of the month. A little friendly competition can spark fire. 

5. Points Systems

Similar to a contest, a points system can keep track of employee performance over a certain period of time. Each time an employee hits a mark, they’ll earn a point, or star, so to speak. This way, you can promote repeated short-term behaviors to hit long-term goals. 

6. Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Grant your employees the opportunity to recognize one another for their work. Peer-to-peer recognition is a wonderful way to build a positive and collaborative company culture on the foundation of respect. 

7. Public Recognition

While praise can be directed towards the recipient quietly, you can also publicise it to showcase an employee in the spotlight. You can shout out employees during company or departmental meetings, in internal company newsletters, on social media or publicly in front of customers, such as with employee of the month plaques on the wall. 

Keep in mind that even if you provide all the benefits and recognition in the world, if employees do not feel supported or struggle to overcome challenges at work, they will not be motivated to reach their potential. For any organization, employee mental wellbeing is absolutely crucial. 

By fostering an environment and providing an employee wellbeing platform, employees have resources and tools to become their best selves, manage their stress levels, and proactively overcome challenges rather than becoming overwhelmed. These benefits promote employee engagement and employee motivation.

When Should Employee Recognition be Given?

With so many types of rewards and recognition for employees, you can be doling out rewards and recognition continuously. However, knowing when to recognise and reward an employee is an important part of the equation. 

Here is a look at the best timing to give rewards and recognition:  

1. Events

Events like birthdays, an employee’s first day, or an employee appreciation day can be deserving of rewards and recognition. These are times when employees are already tuned into the special person’s big day, so reward and recognition is memorable. 

2. Milestones

Consider rewarding and recognizing employees when they reach milestones. Milestones can be work anniversaries, year-end reviews, quarterly check-ins, or upon project completion, to name a few. 

3. Positive Behavior

Rewards and recognition don’t always have to be premeditated. If an employee is displaying positive behaviour and a good attitude, you can dish out rewards and recognition on the spot. Being timely is an essential part of rewards and recognition because you want employees to know exactly what they are being praised for.

What are Employee Incentives Ideas?

Want more ideas to keep employees incentivized to put in their maximum effort? Here are some employee incentive ideas that piggyback on the different types of rewards and recognition for employees.

1. Gift Cards

You have unlimited options for gift cards to give to employees. You can choose from Visa gift cards that are just like credit cards essentially with pre-set amounts, Amazon gift cards, gift cards to coffee shops, or whatever else suits their fancy. 

2. Company Swag

Giving our company swag is a great way to excite employees and also to market your brand! Some company swag options include sweatshirts, branded pens, notebooks, tote bags, and beach umbrellas, etc. 

3. Gift Bags

Mix and match your offerings by giving employees a surprise gift bag stacked with exciting items. 

Keep in mind that all of these incentives are short-lived and fleeting. You can develop an inviting company culture in the long-run by being a company that prioritises employee wellbeing. 

An employee wellbeing platform offers all you need to support employees in every way. The right wellbeing platform helps employees better understand their own mental wellbeing and grants access to tools they need to strengthen their mental fitness and resilience. 

By doing so, employees have what they need to manage their stress, overcome challenges, maintain a positive outlook, and connect with their colleagues.

Workplace party
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What are Employee Reward Ideas?

Even with an employee wellbeing platform implemented, you can still give out rewards when the time is right. If you’re unsure what kind of rewards to give, here’s another list of options:

1. Donations

You can donate to an employee’s charity of choice in their name and on their behalf. This is a win-win as you get to give back to a cause and employees know their hard work has made a difference in the bigger picture. 

2. Host a Party

When employees have been pushing hard to reach a goal or complete a project, they deserve a way to let loose and celebrate. As an organisation, you can host a party to toast to their efforts. 

3. Premium Tools

Want a reward idea that benefits organizational and personal goals? You can pay for premium products or tools on behalf of employees. These tools can make an employee’s day-to-day tasks easier and also improve productivity.

How to Build a Successful Rewards and Recognition Programme?

When you’re ready to kick off your rewards and recognition programme, these are the steps to follow:

1. Define the Goal 

Write down your goals and objectives. While you’re aware of the benefits of rewards and recognition programmes, it’s important to define exactly what you wish to accomplish within your own business by initiating one. Also, estimate the budget and cost of such a programme. 

2. Establish a Team 

Build a committee to implement the rewards and recognition programme. Make sure that everyone involved is aware of the scheme and understands the benefits. You should focus on choosing people who believe in the company values and have their own interest in the programme. 

3. Request Employee Feedback 

Ask employees to share their thoughts and feelings about the programme you choose to initiate. You can even brainstorm with employees as to what types of rewards and recognition mean the most to them. 

4. Measure Effectiveness

Once you have a recognition and rewards programme defined and implemented, be sure to track how it’s doing in terms of its impact on employee productivity, brand value, and overall business results.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are so many types of rewards and recognition for employees to improve productivity and increase morale. As effective as rewards and recognition can be, it’s useful to note that they can only do so much. Employees must be supported on a daily basis, and the most effective way to do so is to prioritise their mental wellbeing as it sets the tone for all they do and everything that they feel. 

By caring for your employees’ mental wellbeing, you can develop and promote a workforce that is capable of handling tough problems, shows up to their jobs with excitement, and feels loyal and committed to do their best for a company that is genuinely invested in its employees’ lives. Learn more about how an employee wellbeing platform can make a world of difference in your organisation.

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