10 thoughtful ways to reward employee efforts

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Samantha Cortez

Employees are the most critical part of any institution. They carry out the day-to-day activities of an organization, and working with the right mentality and dedication means better team spirit, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Encouraging and rewarding employees is a proven way to maintain a healthy working atmosphere. Over the years, organizations have devised creative ways to reward staff for outstanding performances, from fantastic employee of the month awards ideas to yearly or quarterly recognition. There are many thoughtful ways to recognize employee efforts, some of which will be discussed below.

Verbal appreciation

Giving positive feedback to employees after work well done or outstanding performance is uncommon in today’s business world. A common mistake superiors make is going with the mindset that the pay should be enough reward. Appreciation goes a long way in showing gratitude, which can spur others to better work ethics. To make feedback more encouraging, try to make them more specific and non-generic. Rather than “Thank you for all you do”, you could say, “Your customer service is important to what we do, and I wanted to take a minute to appreciate your contributions”.

Customized gifts

A customized mug or T-shirt is a thoughtful way to recognize employees for specific accomplishments. It makes a statement that they are well valued, which can improve their morale in the organization.

Plaque or trophy

A plaque is an ornamental tablet made in commemoration of a person. A plaque is fantastic for recognizing exceptional employees or special occasions. You could use it to reward the employee who has exhibited unquestionable positive attributes and motivate them to continue doing them.

A trophy is another way to celebrate employee accomplishments. Trophies come in different types, shapes, and sizes. You could engrave the employee’s name alongside their achievement on the plaque or trophy before handing it to them. A glance at these items would boost the worker’s self-esteem and make them feel appreciated and more committed to doing even better. They are excellent for monthly, quarterly, or yearly recognition.

A surprise day off

In a workplace, only a few things feel better than hearing “You can have the day off tomorrow”. After achieving a significant milestone or company goal, giving employees a day off to show gratitude will surely be received well. Everyone will be elated to have extra time for family, friends, personal needs, or even to rest.

Free lunch

Offering employees free lunch as a reward for their hard work will most likely be looked forward to. Apart from the reward opportunity, it will allow having a conversation with the employee, which can improve relationships at work.

All-expense-paid trip

While this can be a little expensive, it is mightily effective. Once a year, promising an all-expense-paid trip to one outstanding employee is a great way to improve team spirit and healthy competition among employees. With everyone eagerly motivated to win the prize, you may observe an increase in work ethic and creativity.

Social media shout-out

If the employee and the company have a social media presence, it might be worth opting for a shout-out through the official pages. This idea would work well for organizations with an online presence and social media-savvy employees.

Wall of fame

The Wall of Fame has been around for some time. It is simply a designated wall in the office where businesses hang up photos of employees that deliver outstanding work periodically. The message this sends is simple, “We see you; we recognize your contribution, and you are an important part of what we do”.

Celebrate birthdays

In an organization, celebrating staff birthdays increases team spirit and cohesion between employees. It makes them feel special and understand that they are valued as people, not just for their work.

Tickets to an event

Giving your employees tickets to an event they are interested in gives them a chance to do something fun while feeling appreciated for their hard work. It could be a movie ticket, a music festival ticket, or just anything that they would like to attend.

One thing is certain; an unappreciated workforce will cost you more. In one way or the other, everyone loves to be appreciated, and a happy workforce is a productive workforce. It is worth noting that what works for some organizations might not work for others. Consider your staff size, budget, and policies before you decide on what creative way to appreciate your workers. Irrespective of the factors, the most important thing is the gesture. Always remember that even the little things count.


Samantha Cortez is managing editor for Scalefluence.com, an influencer marketing SaaS & marketplace. She has written for some of the largest publications in America, including Business Insider & 20/20 Magazine. Sam loves to travel, often working remotely from Europe.

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