18 Ways to Reward Performance and Keep Employees Happy

Retain the best talent by recognizing great performances. Learn how a variety of rewards can maximize productivity and keep your employees happy!

Did you know that one of the most effective drivers to keep employees happy is by providing regular recognition of your employees’ achievements? In a survey conducted by Psychometrics, 58% of the respondents said they’re more motivated at work when recognized. And in a survey from Curiosity at Work, most employees today said they put more energy into their work when recognized often.

When you recognize employees, you show that your organization believes in the value of improving the employee experience in the workplace. They can become the best versions of themselves when they know that their work matters! Read on for employee recognition ideas you can easily implement.

1. Give Them a Personalized Note from the CEO

What better way to show your employees that you understand the value they bring to the company than giving them the message straight from the top? A simple “thank you for your contributions” from the CEO or another top executive can contribute to an employee’s success in the organization and inspire them to keep up the great work. Make sure your managers, directors, and the heads of the departments keep an eye out for team members who are performing exceptionally well or are adopting behaviors you’d like to see continue. A letter of appreciation, even just a simple one, can reinforce company values and motivate employees to keep accomplishing their work goals.

2. Support Their Extracurricular Activities

Supporting your employees’ hobbies helps you connect with them personally and shows them that you care. If your team members like visiting parks or gardens, hitting the gym, or playing team sports, find a time to join them or give them free passes or memberships. Being active outside of work encourages other team members to do the same, and it promotes a healthy work-life balance.

3. Reward Them with Travel Perks

Traveling is one of the most effective ways to unwind and de-stress. By giving your employees perks like an all-expenses paid trip to somewhere fun and relaxing, it’ll make them realize how much you value their contributions. Bonus: other team members may start working even harder to earn a free getaway!

4. Set Up Memorable Experiences

Hotel vouchers that include breakfast and local excursions? Sounds great! Tickets to a concert, a movie, a basketball game, or a food festival? Consider employee satisfaction boosted! Giving your employees a day off of work for a memorable event or staycation can have a positive impact on them — and even increase employee retention.

5. Organize Quarterly or Biannual Employee Recognition Events

Formally acknowledging the exceptional performances of your team members can boost their self-esteem and confidence. Invite the CEO or the founders so they can see and celebrate the high-performing employees as well. To make it even more memorable, consider giving plaques of recognition so your team members have something tangible that they can show to their friends and family members.

6. Book Brewery Tours or Wine Tastings

Do you have wine lovers or craft beer enthusiasts on your team? Book guided wine tastings or brewery tours to create a fun and educational experience for everyone! You could also give them a bottle of fine wine or a six-pack of their favorite microbrew.

7. Schedule Lunch or Dinner at a Fine Dining Restaurant

So long, regular old pizza party. Lunch or dinner is a great way to spend some quality time with your team members, talk about non-work-related topics over a meal, and establish a connection with one another. Consider treating them to a nice dinner at a local fine dining restaurant — and if they closed a massive sale, a Michelin Star restaurant!

8. Schedule a Catered Lunch

A catered lunch is a great way to meet and interact with new employees while awarding current employees for all their hard work. The next time your team hits their target, set up a catered lunch from a popular local eatery for everyone to enjoy together.

9. Gift Them with Gift Cards

A gift card to a local eatery, coffee shop, or online retailer is an easy and effective way to show employees you appreciate them. Consider giving them out on a regular basis — because your employees will feel valued and recognized, they may work more productively and efficiently!

10. Offer Free Coffee

A Starbucks a day won’t drive your employees away! Caffeine can be a real productivity booster, and some people function better with their daily cup (or cups) of coffee. Consider giving out coffee memberships or free coffee to your employees, either on a day-to-day basis or when they’ve hit their targets.

11. Sign Them Up for Free Online Courses

Make it part of the company culture to promote learning. One easy way to make this happen: give out free online classes on interesting subjects that will enhance your team members’ skills. Another way: invite experts to your workplace to teach a class or skill your team members will appreciate — this can boost productivity and employee engagement!

12. Boost Their Health with Fitness Apparel or Equipment

A healthy team is a productive team. Reward high-performing individuals or teams with workout clothes or exercise equipment they’ll use. You’ll make your team members feel valued by giving them something that they’ll like that also helps them stay healthy.

13. Book a Spa Appointment

A free pampering session? Yes, please! By booking a spa appointment for your employees, you’re showing them that you understand work-life balance and care about their well-being. They might need a break more than you think, and there’s nothing more relaxing than a spa session.

14. Award Them with Electronics

If your employees are doing exceptionally well, consider giving them an electronic device they’ll use frequently. Getting a cell phone or an iPad from you could motivate them to be even more productive.

15. Hand Out Personalized Gifts

A coffee mug sporting the face of their favorite cat. A jacket monogrammed with their name. A personalized tote bag. These are just a handful of fun, creative gifts to let your employees know you see them and appreciate them.

16. Encourage Team Building

Team outings or a simple get-together can encourage collaboration — plus, it’s fun! Consider rewarding an entire team with a group activity. Your team members will feel appreciated and may be motivated to work even more efficiently.

17. Create Reward Categories

Want to encourage team members to be more productive in the workplace? Continuously reward them when they do a good job. Set up three reward categories with different types of recognition:

  1. Small wins (free coffee or gift cards)
  2. When they exceed expectations (local hotel accommodations)
  3. When they’re consistent with their performance (travel perks)

18. Surprise Them

When an employee has a birthday, buy a dessert for the entire group or give them a special birthday gift to let them know you appreciate them. Surprises are great, especially when they involve free food and gifts.

Plus, showing appreciation can do wonders — good employees who are recognized at work are very unlikely to look for other jobs.

At RecogNation, we help companies transform their team members’ experiences in the workplace, and we’re proud of our commitment to provide innovative and customized solutions for your business. Get in touch with us today to schedule a demo and learn more about transforming your workplace culture.