Employees | 10 MIN READ TIME

21 Types of Employee Rewards and How to Use Them


Types of employee rewards

Employee rewards are powerful incentives used to drive engagement, celebrate achievements, and encourage progression.

The benefits of recognising and rewarding employees are endless. And they go both ways – for you and your workers.

But, how do you choose the best reward for employees? Well, there’s more to it than certificates and verbal praise. The key indicator is to be creative, thoughtful, and above all, considerate.

Let’s dive straight in and look at 21 types of employee rewards and how to use them:

1.    Show gratitude

It’s probably one of the most underrated methods for rewarding employees. Who doesn’t love a bit of gratitude for our hard work and efforts. Whether it’s a shoutout in the morning meeting or a handwritten note – don’t skip out on showing gratitude to deserving employees.

2.    Celebrate birthdays

Most of us usually wake up forgetting our own birthdays. But, that’s no excuse for employers. Make a note of your employees’ birthdays and surprise them on their special day. A card, cake, and singsong never fails to make people feel valued and remembered.

3.    Give personalised business cards

What’s the perfect way to show affiliation to a workplace? – Personalise business cards. They’re commonly used to reward an employee for their ongoing progression and business loyalty. Just be sure to check for any spelling errors before you press ‘print’!

4.    Create a recognition wall

Some of us may blush at the thought; but having a recognition wall really helps celebrate outstanding employees. Charge up your camera and create an ‘employee of the month’ board. Or use digital screens to share live gratitude feeds across the workplace.

5.    Offer designated parking spots

Classic examples of employee rewards come in the shape of a spot – a designated parking spot. It’s a timeless reward that really screams ‘workplace privileges’. Offering personal parking can also inspire motivation and ‘drive’ in other employees, too.

6.    Get those gift cards ready

What’s a very popular type of reward? Giving gift cards! They offer guilt-free spending and endless shopping experiences. There’s probably a gift card for everything – making it the best way to give employees rewards you know they’ll love.

7.    Recognise employee milestones

Employee milestones deserve a special kind of recognition. You can give these rewards to those who’ve passed their 6-month probation. Or throw a party for veteran employees who’ve dedicated decades to the company. Now, that’s dedication in need of a reward!

8.    Invest in personal interests

It might seem a little crazy… but most employees tend to have personal interests outside of work. They could be in a band, dress up in cosplay, or collect trainers. Why not invest in their hobbies and offer them personalised rewards; like tickets to concerts and expos.

9.    Help their career development

Some people may prefer to have a career-based employee reward; like a salary rise, promotion, or even work-shadowing opportunities. You can reward them by setting up a meeting with a senior or executive person – helping to encourage their career development.

10.  Gamify recognition and rewards

Gamification is when you digitise a non-gaming situation, like a workplace rewards program. There are thousands of ways to offer virtual rewards for employees to motivate or recognise their achievements. Remember, a little healthy competition never hurts anyone.

11.   Spur-of-the-moment rewards

Sometimes, despite all our hard efforts, the workload doesn’t seem to get any smaller. In times like these, spur-of-the-moment rewards can really help reset motivation levels. Offering free ice cream, hiring food trucks, or letting staff finish early can all show gratification.

12.  Take a day off or two

Companies often give out extra annual leave as a reward for hard work or recent achievements. A few days off can be enough for employees to rest, recharge, and return fighting-fit. Why don’t you spend it in your pyjamas, lounging around with the kids all day.

13.  Offer rewards they really want

Nothing shows appreciation more than a well thought-out gift. Go the extra mile and offer rewards employees actually want. It doesn’t have to be a diamond ring or fancy tech. It just needs to have a personal touch – they’re guaranteed to remember it for life.

14.  Write handwritten notes of gratitude

Despite living in a digitalised world, handwritten notes are still popular. They often show a person’s inner thoughts and capture it on paper. It’s the type of reward that sits on the mantelpiece or is added to keepsake boxes for future reminiscence.

15.  Give out company merch

Who doesn’t love getting free stuff from work? Pens, mugs, hoodies, electronic gadgets –  company merchandise shows comradery, loyalty, and free marketing. We see it as a ‘win-win’ type of employee reward.

16. Promote them as an ambassador

When employees constantly go out of their way to achieve company goals, they deserve more than a ‘pat-on-the-back’. Consider promoting them as a company ambassador. They’ll be able to help grow an inclusive work environment and stand as aspiring role models.

17.   Upgrade their work tools

A great way to enhance employee performance is to upgrade their work tools. Think about buying equipment that’ll help them produce better results. Maybe upgrade their old desktop or invest in some new tech that’s guaranteed to make their job easier.

18.  Offer discounted travel benefits

Commuting is set to become a hefty expense, especially with the recent cost of living. Employers can offer discounted (or free) travel benefits as rewards. From train passes to shared taxi rides – why not help employees get from A to B without emptying the bank?

19.  Give a glowing reference

In an age where decent work experience can be hard to come by, a glowing reference can truly be beneficial. These can be added to CVs, portfolios, or online job profiles. Don’t wait for them to leave to give a reference – help them progress up the career ladder!

20.   Give out a promotion

For employees who go beyond their expected duties, there’s no bigger reward than a promotion. Promotions offer solid recognition for hard work, determination, and loyalty. Don’t forget about the salary rise, new work benefits, and swanky new office (if it’s in the budget!)

21.    Money, money, money

Most of us agree, that money is a great type of employee reward. Who doesn’t love receiving commission pay, end-of-year bonuses, or even some well-earned profit shares? A little extra cash can go a long way for some people. Just be sure to budget carefully for financial rewards – or else it can leave your business out of pocket.

Love2shop offers the very best advice on how to reward employees

Recognising hard work and achievements works wonders when it comes to business progression. Without it, employees have very little reason to go beyond their work norms.

What better way to encourage commitment than through employee rewards?

At Appreciate, we offer an Employee Recognition Platform that helps manifest your company’s mission. We guarantee to provide the very best employee reward ideas that work for you.