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20 thoughtful ways to motivate your employees with Reward and Recognition

Pooja Kanabar | March 28, 2019

Happy people montage who are all motivated.

If you want to retain your top talent and keep them excited and engaged about coming to work, then outdated reward and recognition tactics won’t be enough. What may have worked 10 years ago isn’t going to cut it in today’s workplace.

The key to success in keeping your employees happy and taking your reward and recognition experience to the next level lays in being thoughtful in your approach. After all, great work shouldn’t go unnoticed.

No matter the size of your company, below are 20 thoughtful reward and recognition ideas that you can use to instantly motivate your employees.

1. Shadow or be CEO for a day
Letting employees shadow or be a ‘CEO for the day’ is a great way for employees to feel valued, respected and get a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes of your business. Maybe it involves getting involved at board meetings, making a company speech or simply having the opportunity to pitch ideas directly to the CEO.

2. Get involved with a Charity initiative
Allowing your employees (and their teams) to get involved with or organise a charity project of their choice provides them with the opportunity to feel that they’ve contributed and added value to a meaningful cause that they feel passionate about.

3. Host a ‘Thank you’ meeting
Mark a meeting in your calendars and invite an employee into your office to say thanks for their hard work. It’s most impactful if you simply say thanks for a particular thing and nothing else. Don’t discuss any other projects; simply talk about their good work.

4. Hand-written notes

A personal note written with heart felt sincerity and specifics can often mean more to an employee than a generic email. Taking the time to write a card shows thought and care.

5. Breakfast treat
Start the day off on the right foot by showing up to work up with your employee’s favourite breakfast snacks. Think pastries, granola, coffees from Starbucks, fruit platters or whatever else sets them up for the day.

6. Team birthdays and work anniversaries
Whether it’s a team members birthday, work anniversary or they’re reaching a significant milestone in their personal lives such as getting married or having a child – make your employees feel extra special by hosting a team lunch, throwing a small get together or handing out cupcakes in the office. These simple acts of celebration go a long way.

7. Family invites
Having a work get together? Awards ceremony or charity initiative? Getting your employees family members involved provides them with an opportunity to blend their personal and professional lives and share special moments.

8. Bring-your-dog day
If your employee has a dog, give them an opportunity to occasionally bring their dog to work. Not only will this lift their spirit, it will also help to lift the spirits of everyone else in the office.

9. Charitable donation
If your employee has a particular charity which is close to their heart such as Cancer Research or The Red Cross, donate an amount in their honour. This is a great way to show them that you care about what matters most to them.

10. Travelling trophy
Trophies don’t need to be limited to sporting events. Creating a ‘travelling trophy’ such as a golden award, special hat or a branded figurine which moves from employee to employee based on mini achievements is a fun way to keep the motivation going in your workforce. It also makes for great content for your internal newsletter as you can share photos and updates on all of the great wins in the day to day running of a business.

11. Book a babysitter
Are your employees busy juggling work and childcare responsibilities? If so, gifting them a voucher for a babysitter for a night or a few nights is a great way for them to take some much needed ‘me’ time or have that long overdue date night.

12. Hidden praise
Nothing is more exciting than the element of surprise so why not leave a few positive notes of personal praise around your employees’ desk. You can do this yourself or encourage teams to each leave a note of praise and thanks to brighten their day.

13. Educational investment
Investing in an employee’s education doesn’t need to be limited to professional development. Sending an employee to a seminar or course which caters to their personal interests and hobbies is a great way to show them that your company cares about investing in their personal development too.

14. Office massages
Has your team been working extra hard on a stressful project? If so, you can bring an air of calm and hire a professional masseuse to reward your employees with an afternoon of zen.

15. Thank you videos
Creating a thank you video can be one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give someone. Creating a montage of video clips from team members and senior members in the business is a great way to show your appreciation and is something employees can cherish forever.

16. Book a mini getaway
Depending on your budget you can send an employee on a mini getaway. It could be to a local spa retreat, a music festival or even a weekend trip to Europe. Helping your employees to get away and relax with a friend or loved one is a great way for them to feel rewarded for a job well done.

17. Health club membership
With an increased focus on health and wellness, offering your employees a free membership to a local gym or to fitness classes is a great way to keep them fighting fit. Everyone appreciates the gift of good health.

18. Work from anywhere in the world
If you have a global company with offices in multiple locations around the world, you could offer employees an opportunity to work from a different office for a month. This is a great way for them to experience a different culture and to form bonds with other members of the business.

19. One-on-one mentoring
Mentoring from an executive who has a wide range of experience is one of the most valuable things for an employee who is keen to progress. Rewarding employees with a few mentoring sessions from a senior person in the business is a great way for them to feel motivated and valued.

20. Help with household chores
Taking care of those tedious tasks your employees have to do outside of work such as cleaning and laundry can give them back the time to focus on the things they enjoy doing. Hiring a cleaner for a month or a service which manages their laundry is a great way to eliminate the mundane and bring some spark back into their lives.

Your reward and recognition efforts don’t need to follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Providing employees with meaningful and thoughtful rewards is the recipe for success when it comes to keeping your staff happy and making the world a better place to work.

To find out how we can help you to form a bespoke Reward and Recognition programme, book a demo of our award-winning platform here.

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Topics: Reward and Recognition

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