Employee Recognition

8 Types of rewards your employees will love

employee rewards

Employees love rewards. 

It motivates, encourages and boosts productivity. 

In fact, studies have indicated that 78% of people work harder when their work is being rewarded.

But handing out rewards because you need to tick it off your HR checklist is not going to achieve a more motivated and engaged workforce.

You need to know who you are rewarding…

Many companies today have multiple generations within their workforce, but here’s the catch...each generation requires different rewards to motivate and engage them.

Take a look:

  • Gen Z. They’re born after 1995. The original digital nomads. Traditionally this generation places value on personal growth and development. They’re purpose-driven and perceive philanthropic rewards as being meaningful.
  • Millennials. They make up the majority of the workforce at the moment. They’re digital disruptors that have led the charge in changing the workplace to be more accommodating and flexible. They’re passionate. Digital rewards will go a long way. 
  • Gen X. Work-life balance with this generation is important. Traditionally they enjoy the ability to choose, so vouchers go a long way to providing a reward of value and meaning. 
  • Baby Boomers. They’re known to enjoy the cash-like rewards. They’re traditionally goal-oriented and very ambitious. If you’re looking to reward outside of the realm of cash, you may want to consider luxury travel experiences.

Shew. That’s a lot to take in when you’re planning on rewarding a multi-generational workforce in a way that promotes productivity and engagement. 

So we’ve gone ahead and listed 10 types of rewards that your employees will surely love and appreciate. 

Let’s dive in:


1. Sticky notes 

You could try adding sticky notes to your employee’s desk. You could get everyone in his or her team to write a personal note of thanks. 

This is a fun way to publicly thank an employee and is sure to put them in a great mood and motivated for the next project or task at hand. 


2. Vouchers

Vouchers make great rewards. They give you the ability to reward each generation in a really thoughtful way. You could give a Gen X employee a restaurant voucher for the whole family, where you could give a millennial a voucher to a sporting event or a local market. Vouchers are a win-win for everyone.


3. Say thanks with plants 

We’re all looking to spruce up our desks in one way or another. Desk plants are a great way to to do that and create a greener office. 

In fact, according to research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology having some greenery in your office can make you happier and more productive.

Plants clean the air, green up your desk and have the ability to make your employees happier and more productive.

Plants are a great way to say thank you 🌿


4. Experiences

Who doesn’t love the gift of experience? Seriously tell us if you don’t.

A study by Harris Group indicated that 72% of Millennials prefer spending their money on experiences than anything else. 

There is not one generation who wouldn’t appreciate the gift of an experience. The key is knowing which experience they’re to enjoy. 

Your boomer may prefer a more luxurious wine and dining experience as a reward for a great achievement. 

On the other hand, a Millennial may prefer the gift of going kayaking with a friend as a reward.  There are endless options when it comes to experiences, all you need to know is what your employee really enjoys.


5. Something tangible 

No, I'm definitely not talking about a toaster or a kettle. But what about the coolest calendar that can be hung on your employee's wall? Or a notebook to help take down notes in style? Or one of those really cool cork styled pinboards with all the hipster pins you can find? Okay, my millennial gifting streak may have taken over there.

But...according to the IRF 84% of US businesses use non-cash rewards like merchandise to reward and recognise their employees.

There’s still room to gift the toaster, pots or even the kettle. But you need to consider your audience.


6. Recognition 

Timely recognition at the right time and in the right place has the ability to change behaviour and promote better engagement, motivation, satisfaction and productivity.

We even wrote an entire 10-step guide to building a recognition program to help you achieve just that. Take a look 👉 here, it’s a really helpful resource.


7. Take the day off

Rewards that recognise the needs for an out of routine experience are always enjoyed. You could offer an employee the opportunity of taking a day off work as a reward. This may give your employee the freedom to take a long weekend with friends or engage in activities that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy on a regular workday. 


8. Books

Books are a great way to encourage constant learning and development. You could gift a book that your employee will find interesting and related to their career development.

In a more digitally-focused work environment, this could look something like a subscription to educational content or a short course through Udemy or Get Smarter. You could also consider gifting a Kindle where books can be delivered electronically.


Key Takeaways 

Rewards are a proven mechanism for promoting employee engagement and satisfaction. These 8 rewards are surely not an extensive list of what can be given to achieve this, but we promise that this is a great place to get started.

The key is to reward your employees with the right rewards. This is where maximum satisfaction takes place. Why not give it a try for yourself.


Are you looking to develop a holistic recognition program that drives engagement and job satisfaction? 

We have the perfect guide for you, simply click the button below to get your 10-step guide to building a recognition program from scratch.

employee recognition