4 Ways To Reward Employees Who Go Above & Beyond

Here are four fun ways to reward employees for their exceptional work

5
 min. read
February 4, 2022
White thank you card with a black felt marker

Employee engagement is quite a buzzword these days, and for good reason. Happy employees are the key to the success of any business. 

Rewarding employees for hard work is a great way to maintain engagement and motivation in the team, especially during intense periods of work. 

Here are four sure-fire ways to reward employees for their exceptional work while simultaneously building long-lasting relationships.

Four Ways To Reward Employees 

1. Experiences

Despite popular belief, not all rewards need to be cash-based. One of the best gifts you can offer your employees is the opportunity to improve their skills or experience new things. 

Not only does this show them that you’re willing to invest in them, but it also shows that you appreciate their hard work. 

Here are a few great experiences you can treat your employees to:

Paid Vacations 

Nothing says appreciation quite like a paid vacation. Now, you might think that a paid vacation is exorbitant. But, it doesn’t have to be an all-expenses paid trip. 

There are so many different ways to execute this reward.

Our personal favorite is setting up a vacation fund at the beginning of the year and making monthly contributions toward it. Then at the end of the year, whatever you’ve managed to save up can fund the vacation for your employee(s).

We would also suggest that you work with a resort to score a few exclusive deals. This could save you a ton of money. 

If your budget doesn’t allow for a paid vacation, you could instead opt for paid time off. This could be anywhere from a half-day to a couple of days off, depending on the occasion. 

However you choose to go about this, paid time off and paid vacations are great ways to reward employees. They build trust, loyalty, and improve your teams’ well-being and work-life balance.  

Tickets To Sporting Events Or Movies

Depending on your company culture, the industry you’re in, and the interests of your employees, you could consider rewarding your team with tickets to a sporting event, movie, or live show.

This is a great option because it accommodates different interests well, and stands out.

Not only will this show a deep sense of appreciation, but it will also show that you know your people and their personal interests. Event tickets are truly an amazing way to surprise hard-working team members and do wonders for employee engagement.

Playtime with Puppies 

A bunch of puppies lying down together

Who doesn’t love puppies! They’re cute and cuddly, and are guaranteed to brighten up anyone’s day. 

If your business is near a dog shelter, we recommend you ask them to bring some adorable puppies to your office. Alternatively, you can go on an excursion and take the team to the shelter.

Playing with puppies is a great way to relieve stress and have fun. It’s also a great way for your people to bond with each other and take a much-needed break. 

Spa Day

Another awesome experience that you can offer your employees is a spa day. 

A spa day is probably one of the best ways to relax. Not only does it offer your body an opportunity to destress, but it also allows your mind to temporarily shut out from the busyness of work. 

Spa days can include everything from a simple massage to a full on retreat! Remember, the best rewards are those that are tailored to your employees so choose an option that works for them. 

In our experience, everyone loves a good massage!

However, if you’re unsure about the kind of spa treatment your people might enjoy, why not try a voucher. This allows the person to choose the treatment while still ensuring their hard work is recognized and appreciated.

2. Set up a Professional Development Budget

One of the best ways to reward your employees for their hard work and show our appreciation is by offering them opportunities to improve their skill sets and progress professionally.  

A professional development budget is essentially a budget for educational resources like online courses, conferences, workshops, or any other activity that allows your employees to level up. 

This type of reward is especially valuable when the courses end with an accreditation certificate. 

In our experience, companies tend to finance courses that develop skills required to succeed in their industry . For example, if you run a software company, you could finance a few software development courses to ensure your engineers are keeping up with the latest technologies.

On the other hand, you could choose to invest in the interests of your employees. Use that software business as an example again - you could finance short courses and workshops in things like project or business management to broaden their horizons and make them more versatile. 

Either way, having a professional development budget in place lets your employees know that you are willing to invest in their futures.

Professional development budgets are a great way to build a relationship with your employees, and grow their confidence and commitment to your organization.

3. Swag

Who doesn’t love presents? Merit-based presents are all the better because they reward a job well done. Much like with experiences, gifts and presents are a great way to show your appreciation and make your employees feel seen. 

So, whether you decide to splurge on a luxury item or something simple, a little bit of swag goes a long way when showing your employees that they matter. 

Here are a few great swag gift ideas:

Tech Accessories

Our work environments are incredibly technologically-driven, which makes tech accessories an amazing gift idea. These could include everything from a smart watch, some fancy headphones, wireless earbuds, or a wireless charging dock. 

We suggest you choose something current and suited to your team. For example, if your employees love listening to music while they work, a pair of headphones or wireless earbuds would be ideal! 

You could also choose to personalize the gift with an engraving to make it feel extra special. 

As far as ways to reward employees go, tech accessories are tangible gifts that will last for years. As valuable items that fit into our digital lives, they are great rewards for hard work and dedication. 

An Uber or Lyft Stipend

Keeping a car is expensive, and not everyone has one of their own. If your business is situated in a bustling city, you might consider gifting your employees with an Uber or Lyft stipend. 

This is a thoughtful and practical gift, especially for people who commute to work using public transport. This saves them both time and money when trying to get around the city. 

You could also offer weekly or monthly transport top-ups as part of the reward. 

This gift is great for showing your appreciation and letting your employees know that you care about their safety. 

Birthday Gifts

happy birthday chocolate cake with candles

Gifting your employees with birthday rewards or gifts is a meaningful way to show you care. 

Unlike the rest of the swag tips given, we suggest you choose a birthday gift that doesn’t have much to do with the company or the job. Cater the gift to the personal interests of your employees. 

For example, if they love video games, why not offer them a PerkUp reward that can be redeemed at a gaming store. This lets your employees know that you care about their interests and that your interests in them extend beyond work. 

Personalized birthday gifts are great for increasing employee engagement and building a good relationship with your employees. 

4. Special Treatment

Not every sign of appreciation needs to be a tangible item or experience. Sometimes a simple thank you and word of recognition can do the trick. In our experience, the mere act of recognizing and showing appreciation can do wonders for building employee engagement. 

Here are a few special treatments that you can reward your employees with:

The Wall of Fame

This might sound a bit corny but having a wall of fame where you honor the hardest working employees is a great way to show your appreciation. 

Depending on your preferences, you can choose to set up a physical wall of fame with framed pictures such as an employee of the month wall. Alternatively, you can feature top employees on the company blog or newsletter. 

This gives employees the recognition they deserve and shows your customers and competitors how much you value your employees. It signals your company values and goals. 

Don’t take things too seriously here - have fun with the wall and make it something that everyone can give their input on.

If you’d like to implement this technique, we suggest you pair it with some swag or a fun experience. Depending on how often you’re placing names on your wall of fame, you could add small gifts of appreciation such as gift cards or gift baskets. 

Afternoon Off

Who doesn’t love an afternoon off? Leaving work early is such a treat and really goes a long way to ensuring that your employees are well rested and well taken care of. 

We suggest offering afternoons off to hardworking employees to ensure that they can fit in some self-care and much-needed rest. You’ve got a sure-fire winner if you offer employees Friday afternoons off since it lets them get a jump start on the weekend! 

An afternoon off might seem like a small gesture. But it really shows that you care about the well-being of your team and appreciate the hard work they put into making the business a success. 

End of Year Parties

year end company party

Offering fully funded end of year parties are a great way of letting your employees blow off some steam, relax, and just have fun. 

End of year parties are also a great way to end the year on a high note and make sure that everyone feels appreciated and cared for. 

We suggest you involve your employees in party planning as much as possible. This is to ensure that the party lives up to their expectations and is suited to their interests. For example, you could host a poll where employees are able to vote on things such as the party theme, food choices, and dress code.

Another great idea is to add an awards ceremony to the party. These awards can be lighthearted and fun such as “Rookie of the Year” or “Best Dressed.” 

You could also make these awards peer nominated to increase camaraderie between employees. 

In Summary

Offering rewards to employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty is a great way to increase employee engagement and morale while highlighting your appreciation. 

The best way to go about this is to ensure that the rewards you offer bring value to the lives of your employees and suit their personal interests. 

Our comprehensive guide to offering employee rewards should help you figure out which rewards work for you and your business! 

So, go out there and show your employees that you care.