Employee rewards are a powerful tool used for team engagement. Recognizing and rewarding your employees effectively is crucial for retaining top talent and keeping employees happy.
The key to successful employee rewards is being creative and thoughtful. Many companies have even begun to use rewards for recruiting as they’ve become a part of their company culture.
Inspired by our list of 121 employee wellness ideas, we sought out to find all the ways companies can reward their employees.
In a hurry? Check our favorite employee rewards for companies looking to scale their team incentive program in 2023:
|Nectar||😃 Peer-to-peer recognition, Amazon integration, boost your engagement and retention||Visit Nectar|
|WorkTango||🏆 Reward your team’s priorities, culture, and performance with premium incentives||Visit WorkTango|
|Bonusly||💯 Send redeemable points with social recognition||Visit Bonusly|
|Awardco||🎁 Award them an eGift||Visit Awardco|
|Mo||💌 Boost engagement with personalized rewards||Visit Mo|
|👉 Compare more HR-vetted and approved options here|
Below is a list of 121 ways to reward employees that you can easily implement at your office. No matter what your company’s culture looks like, there is something here for any business.
Employee Rewards Ideas
1. Offer a choice of meaningful rewards to accelerate your employee engagement program
Bonusly is an engagement program people actually use, powered by peer recognition and a rewards catalog with hundreds of rewards partners, including retailers like Amazon, restaurants like Chipotle, nonprofits like WWF, and custom rewards. Once your employees see how easy it is to recognize each other and save up for the rewards they want, they’ll be hooked! Bonusly also offers convenient chat app integrations as well as mobile apps for users, making participation irresistible.
“Chobani’s company culture was fostered by the spirit of giving from very early on. Bonusly makes it even easier for our employees donate to the causes we support, like Operation Homefront, because they can give their earnings directly to charity via the Bonusly app.”
-Andrew Schrader, HR Manager at Chobani
Learn more about Bonusly’s recognition and rewards platform here!
2. Celebrate milestones (large and small)
Employee milestone recognition is a great way to retain top talent. When you recognize and celebrate the special days in an employee’s life they feel connected with the organization and its people and are more likely to stay longer. Apart from sending personalized greetings, and crowdsourcing wishes from across the company, giving a reward creates a positive impact.
Alternatively, managers may choose to give employees additional time off or allow them to work from home. While there are many ways to reward employees for achieving milestones, what can be more motivating than a reward of their choice?
You can even surprise your employees with rewards using a tool like WorkTango. A resource that offers a growing catalog of rewards, experiences, gifts, and more!
3. Employee of the Month
The employee of the month. Another old-school idea that’s still super effective. You can even feature them on your website for some extra team incentive.
If you’re looking for inspiration, then we have a bunch of non-traditional employee of the month program ideas that focus on honoring employees for specific accomplishments, characteristics, and core values that other employees will observe and then aspire to emulate.
If you run a distributed or remote team, you may find a program like Mo helpful to create customizable rewards for employees to celebrate their success at your organization.
Mo uses rewards like “Win of the Week”, “Personalized Employee Highlights”, “Year-end Company Awards” and all types of customizable rewards to send employees.
4. Reward employees with a new experience
A truly memorable staff reward will stand out from the others because of its uniqueness and impact on the recipient. This is where a new experience can shine since your employee won’t expect their prize to push them to try something new and enjoy a bucket-list type activity.
Speaking of buckets, the team reward experts at Blueboard curate employee experiences that can upgrade your company’s existing reward program and offer events and activities for all types of people.
Request the updated Blueboard catalog to get a better feel for the kinds of new experiences you can send your employees. Here are just a few we wanted to highlight:
- ⛳️ Golf Trip
- 🤿 Ocean Snorkeling
- 🏟 Local Trip To The Ballpark
This is the kind of team incentive idea that will not be shoved into a drawer or never redeemed. Plus, your employee will come into work beaming and wanting to tell their new story.
5. Send them a digital gift card
Digital gift cards allow your employees to indulge in their favorite products and brands. With thousands of options to choose from, they can decide how and where they want to spend their rewards dollars.
If you find yourself shopping for gifts regularly, you might want to try a digital rewards service like Motivosity.
Their automated system makes it simple for you to send out gifts to employees across your entire organization. No more trips to the supermarket looking for that specific gift card or at the mall searching for a perfect item. Simply set up your Motivosity program and employees can choose from one of the largest digital gift catalogs on the internet. Woah!
6. Reward employees for living a healthier lifestyle
Since your employees spend so much of their time at work, thinking about work, commuting to work, or dreaming about work – it should not surprise you that this can have an impact on their health and wellbeing.
Employee rewards tied to supporting your team members’ health and wellness goals can have a positive effect on several areas of your business. The recognition experts at Terryberry get this and that is why they created a Corporate Wellness program that allows employees to redeem rewards for completing various wellness challenges and activities.
Plus, the Terryberry Wellness Suite provides an all-in-one hub for your team members to track their overall health vitals. A few examples of the features include:
- 🥦 Diet
- 🏋️♂️ Weight
- 🫀 Heart rate
- 🧠 Psychological state
- 🧘🏻♀️ Mindfulness minutes
Talk to Terryberry today to learn more about rewarding your employees for achieving their health and wellness goals.
7. Employee pitch night
Most employees crave recognition from company leadership. Reward amazing work by giving employees a chance to pitch their ideas and make a difference in your company. Offer monthly pitch sessions with leadership in different divisions, and let employees choose which group to “pitch to.”
Create a structure for the sessions to allow plenty of time for the pitch and just as much (if not more) time for feedback. Leadership should seriously evaluate the pitch and explain the idea’s pros and cons in detail. And hey, you just might discover your company’s next billion dollar idea!
8. Reward your staff with an upgraded workspace
With many teams working in a hybrid setting, the necessity to properly equip your workspace has never been more important.
One of the ways many managers are ensuring their team members can maintain high levels of productivity while working from anywhere is to provide top-tier tech for them to utilize.
You can demo an equipment provider like Deel who can easily ship and manage all the tools (laptops, monitors, headphones, and more) your team needs to work from home in just a few clicks.
9. Get them something off their Amazon Wishlist
Chances are that every single person you work with uses Amazon. If they are anything like us, they probably have several things they have been looking at or keeping tucked away on their wishlist for a rainy day.
Why not make it easy by letting them pick the gift that they’ve been window shopping for! There are even recognition platforms out there like Awardco that integrate directly with Amazon. So while you are recognizing them for their contribution, they are shopping for the gift that they want off of their Amazon wishlist.
By partnering with Amazon, AwardCo offers a market of over 12 million products that can be delivered to your employees’ doorsteps. Reward them with items they actually want and, even better, can choose themselves.
Over 197 million people visit Amazon each month from around the globe. There’s a good chance your employees are included in that number.
10. Transform them into a cartoon painting
Did you know you could take a photo and transform it into a beloved cartoon character? Turned Yellow has mastered this cartoonery and can help you bring a little cheer to your team members’ day.
What a fun (and funny) reward idea for the television fans on your team! Who knew you could turn your boss into a cartoon character and call it “employee appreciation?” Their artwork helps add a little humor (and color) to your employee recognition program and is a great reward for coworkers who go that extra mile.
11. Company Offsite
A company-wide offsite is a great way to reward hitting team goals. It can be anything from a local bowling alley to an extravagant weekend ski trip in the mountains. An offsite is a great reward that also promotes team building and helps strengthen your company culture.
12. Provide a monthly healthy living and wellness budget
As a manager, one of your responsibilities is to get to know your team members and learn what kinds of rewards will incentivize them. Tying rewards to healthy living and wellness strategies can help keep your employees happy and avoid unnecessary stress and burnout.
A wellness budget for each employee offers a freedom that colleagues can use to set themselves up for success.
Whether it is used for a gym membership, their morning smoothie, fitness classes, or quality time with their family— a healthy living budget can go a long way to rewarding employees the right way.
13. Wine tasting
Whether you live down the road from a vineyard or thousands of miles from any growing grapes, a wine tasting experience is a great way to reward employees who like the classy, sophistication of a glass of wine. Or two or three glasses!
Since wine tasting is no longer something reserved for Sunday afternoons, you can deliver them a dedicated wine tasting kit where your colleagues can enjoy mini bottles of red and white varieties.
Pro-tip: Make it an event! You can plan a virtual wine tasting for all of your employees and run the event via Zoom. Or if you are all working in-person, set up a tasting room in the conference room and enjoy an afternoon of vino.
14. Plan an escape room
Virtual escape rooms are the perfect team-building activity for your remote workforce. No matter how geographically scattered you may be, these are a great way to reward your employees, test their teamwork, and strengthen your squad’s connections.
Almost 80% of employees admit they’re more likely to remain loyal to a team-focused employer. Keeping your employees connected with fun and rewarding activities can bring immeasurable value to your organization. If you want to explore some wild escape room themes, check out a few of our favorites:
15. Promote a more sustainable workplace
As we enter a new decade, the 2020s are marked by a more prominent focus on living a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
This shift has traveled into the workplace as companies make a concerted effort to run a more sustainable organization.
Revitalize your existing staff reward program with a social impact initiative where employee rewards support a better community or larger world issue.
For example, Guusto offers employee incentive gifts that support the One Drop Foundation. This partnership has pledged to donate 1 day of clean drinking water for every Guusto gift sent.
Incorporating more eco-friendly team prizes has a double impact since employees will be able to receive praise for their success while helping to support a good cause.
16. Hold a team scavenger hunt with prizes
Sending your employees on a strategic tour of your town or city, while also on a wildly wonderful scavenger hunt, is a fantastic way to motivate your team members. They’ll scour the area looking for hints to the next location till they (hopefully) connect the clues and reach the pot-o-gold. Ok, not a literal pot-o-gold but having some sweet rewards at the end would certainly up the ante.
When sparking a little friendly competition doubles as an exciting and entertaining employee incentive idea, that’s a win/win for everyone. Team scavenger hunts set the whole team out into the fresh air for some critical team-building and that’s something everyone can appreciate.
17. Swag them out with new company-branded gear
Setting your employees up with rewards like custom branded company swag helps support a positive employee experience and promotes an inclusive work environment. These items promote your company’s mission and values and reward your employees with useful, stylish products they’ll appreciate.
Whether your employees are hikers, bikers, sports fans, coffee drinkers, beatmakers, wine sippers, yoga lovers, candy cravers, organic eaters, journal fillers, or woodland campers, you can create the perfect swag pack. Customizing their gear with your company logo is a thoughtful way of rewarding employees for their best work with branded products they will want to use as much as they can. Here are a few swag ideas to get you started:
18. Host a Culinary Workshop
At the end of the day, few things get to a person’s heart than food. One great way to engender a sense of community among your hybrid or fully remote team is to get everyone together for an unforgettable food workshop. Everyone gets to pick up new chef skills to show off—and the great food during the event ain’t bad, either.
One of our favorite such events is the Charcuterie Board Experience from Unboxed Experiences. This hour-long team event is expertly led by a live event host who shows your team how to build stunning charcuterie centerpieces with included gourmet provisions.
What will your team get with the event? Oh, just gourmet meats, artisan-made cheese, imported olives, honeycomb, crackers and delectable spreads!
Like all of Unboxed Experiences’ events, the Charcuterie Board Experience is fully customizable. That means you can load up your event with company swag and personal messages for every employee, so you can let them know how much you appreciate their hard work.
Employee Incentive Ideas
19. Establish a professional development budget
This situation happens all the time: an employee stumbles on a conference she would love to go to. The event is relevant, highly rated, and rife with networking opportunities. Then she notices the registration fees, and they seem really high. She’s not even sure if the number is reasonable, and she doesn’t even know who would approve of her attending. She moves on because she’s busy and eventually forgets all about the conference.
By establishing and communicating a development budget – money specifically set aside for conferences and professional education opportunities – you reward employees who have the ambition to learn. This reward says, “you’re worth the investment,” and gives employees the co-sign they need to seriously consider personal development.
20. Care-packed appreciation
Reward employees with the good stuff, the stuff they want: your appreciation + a bunch of unique items.
The Caroo care platform makes it easy to provide tangible rewards for employees that make it clear how much you care. Each appreciation box is a reward that shows you’re thinking outside the box. Select premium curations and goodies and then add your personal touch to make each reward personal and memorable.
21. Start a competition
Whether it’s a step-off, or most sales for the month, set up a competition where employees can compete for the top spot. Compass is a great option to let employees compete through an app and collect rewards and sales incentives!
22. Money for a personal growth experience
Our good friends over at 15Five reward their employee’s with 500 dollars to spend on a personal growth experience. The only catch is they have to share what they learned with the team… oh, and skydiving counts as a personal growth experience.
23. Home brew kit
Beer brewing is a great hobby that rewards you with beer, which is awesome. Give your employee’s the reward that keeps rewarding.
24. Day Pass
Let them take a day off any time, no notice, no questions asked. Hopefully, it’s not a big meeting day.
25. Refillable water bottles
Water is crucial for health and wellness. Get your team some refillable water bottles to help them stay hydrated. Check out these 9 hacks to staying healthy at work, one includes your water bottle.
26. Do their laundry
The last thing you want to do after a long day of work is laundry. Set them up with a laundry service that will pick up/drop off their laundry at the office. Washio is one of many services you could use. This reward gives employees more than just clean laundry; it also helps restore some work-life balance to their lives.
Which of the following employees do you imagine will be more happy and productive? The one who spends her Saturday morning at home doing laundry, or the one who comes home Friday night with clean laundry and goes on a glorious Saturday-morning hike?
27. Reserve unique office space for the team
Reserve a space for your team to work outside of the office for a day. Whether it’s a park or a café, it will be a nice change of pace from the office.
Bonus: New office equipment
Get some new equipment around the office.
Upgrade to standing desks, new monitors, and even comfort-designed keyboards, and mouse pads. All make great rewards and show your employees you care.
Check this out! Here are the most popular employee rewards, as voted on by our readers.
Vote on your favorite employee reward below (and see how others voted):
Company Rewards For Employees
28. Work from Home day
Let your employees have a day to work from their couch. It will be a nice change of pace from the office.
29. Bring your dog day
Reward the office with a Bring Your Dog to the Office day. It will lighten the mood and is proven to relieve stress.
30. Breakfast of champions
Cater or bring breakfast for the team. Show your appreciation for their hard work while getting them fed for the day ahead. Here are some healthy office breakfast ideas to get you started.
Bonus: Netflix subscription
Simple reward that’s almost guaranteed to be used. Load up 50 dollars on a Netflix gift card and feed their binge watching habit for a few months.
Bonus: End of year party with awards
Our friends over at TINYpulse have some big awards they give out at the end of every year including rookie of the year, going the extra mile, MVP, and other gifts for employees. They are peer-nominated and quote “we go all out”, including video nominations and a huge party.
31. Wall of fame
Make a wall of fame and reward your employees with a spot for their picture to live indefinitely.
32. Connecting with employees out of the office over a shared interest
Reward your employees with something they already love – beer! Two decades of Gallup polling show that beer is preferred to wine or spirits. City Brew Tours offers all-inclusive behind-the-scenes brewery tours in cities across North America.
Corporate brew tours are a great way to get your team out of the office and show them how appreciated they are! Staff will receive VIP treatment at top breweries, cideries and distilleries; up to 15 beer tastings; and a perfectly paired meal. Tours include round-trip transportation with plenty of add-ons and customizations to make your event unique. Even large groups can get in on the fun – City Brew Tours can arrange a tour for up to 500!
33. Health club membership
Spinning class, yoga, Crossfit, or a free month at the gym. Everyone appreciates the gift of good health.
34. Work happy hour
Let each department know that you are planning a night to go out to a local eatery and celebrate another great week of work. Time to go out for a drink and some appetizers and have the company pick up the bill. Not only is it a great reward, but it also allows your employees to get to know each other outside of the office. For remote employees, you can even plan a separate virtual happy hour and send them a cocktail kit to whip up a delicious drink at home!
35. Casual dress day
If there is a “dress code” at your office, incentivize the company with a day/week when people can dress casually.
36. On-site fitness classes
Glassdoor, which was recently named a top place to work, set up an employee reward system to treat their staff to on-site fitness classes and catered lunches.
37. Dance Lessons
Help your employees get rid of their two left feet. You can offer dance lessons at the office, or set them up with a local studio for a great team night out. It’s a fun way to stay in shape and keep the brain healthy.
Buy a ping-pong table for the office. It’s fun and will keep your employees up and moving. Also, most can fold up and be easily stashed away when they’re not being used.
39. Invest in their continued education
This is a big incentive for your transformational employees. Help them get to the next level in their education. Investing in their education will not only reward them but reward the company in return.
40. Reduced prescription drug costs to keep employees happier and healthier
Providing high-quality and affordable healthcare is one of the most important benefits when it comes to attracting and retaining employees. However, even the best insurance plans can leave something to be desired. For this reason, thousands of companies are adding a free solution from GoodRx to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for their employees. For example, while $15 and $20 copays are common with insurance plans, thousands of drugs are under $10 with GoodRx.
Many are surprised at how often GoodRx provides lower prices than even “good” insurance. One such case comes right from a GoodRx employee who was prescribed modafinil to help with sleep apnea and daytime fatigue. Despite having good insurance, he learned that this generic drug was not covered by the plan — and that the retail price for thirty 200 mg pills would be $798! However, the discount price through GoodRx for the same medication was only $26, which is more than 95% off the retail price!
GoodRx is accepted at 70,000+ pharmacies and is 100% FREE to employers and employees. Plus, there are no deductibles, pre-authorizations, or drug-tiers — just great prices on the prescription drugs your employees need to stay healthy.
41. Paid Paid Vacation
Nope, that’s not a typo. HR Software company BambooHR offers employee’s a certain amount of money to put towards vacation once a year. Paid PTO allows for many benefits including better engagement and loyalty, improved well-being, an advantage in recruiting and work-life balance for employees.
42. Play with puppies
Hire a service, or work with a shelter near you, to bring puppies to the office for your employees to play with. Not only is it awesome, but it’s proven to relieve stress.
Bonus: Transportation reimbursement
If your office is in a busy city, chances are a lot of your employees use alternative transportation methods. Reward them by reimbursing their expenses for a week.
Bonus: Movie Tickets
Movie ticket coupons will help your employees get out of the house for a night. Throw in some popcorn too because it’s crazy expensive…and delicious.
43. LinkedIn Recommendations
Reward your employees by having their managers write them LinkedIn recommendations. They are a great way for the company to express their gratitude while helping the employee’s career.
Rewards For Employees To Motivate Them
44. Hold a murder mystery party
Complete with crime scene photos, case files, interrogation tapes, and subtle leads, these murder mysteries bring out the best CSI minds and put your teams’ skills to the test. They’ll follow the clues and work together as a team to answer the only question of the game… who did the crime?
Whether you’re looking to plan virtual team-building activities or in-person events, Outback Team Building has your whole squad covered. They’ll handle all the details and coordination so the experience is simple, yet something your employees will talk about long after it’s over.
45. Custom coffee cup
Create a design and fancy up a coffee cup that lets them show off their reward every morning while getting caffeinated. You can create the design on Canva for free.
46. Branded tech
What’s an even better reward than the latest technology? The latest tech items branded with your company’s logo!
Pro-tip: combining branded tech with some form of office reward/incentive is a great way to maximize productivity and morale. We run a wellness competition every quarter at SnackNation and the winner gets a branded pair of Bose Wireless Headphones. Trust me… People LOVE free branded tech.
This smile-inducing employee reward is at your fingertips thanks to Swag.com. This company offers a range of electronics—including e-readers, speakers, and headphones—all customizable and ready for you to order for your fantastic employees.
Reward your employee with a life-sized sticker of themself. The funnier the picture the better. You can create your custom stickers on their website.
48. Offer a rewards program for employee recognition and appreciation
“Kudos” to Kudos for their employee recognition and rewards platform that lets you easily customize the way you show your team you recognize and value their contributions.
Kudos is a little different because they emphasize that recognition – in the form of messages sent through their platform – is the most powerful reward. It’s hard to beat the amazing feeling from a simple “thank-you” or “good job” from a team member. And recognition is a proven way to inspire employees to go the extra mile.
Points earned in the Kudos platform (from recognition by team members) can be cashed in on a huge selection of gift cards or on customizable rewards like your own branded merchandise, local gift cards, time off, or the always favorite VIP parking.
This personal touch by Kudos lets you offer rewards more… well, rewarding.
49. Meaningful experiences that build authentic connection and community
Whether you’re building a hybrid work environment for your employees or staying fully remote, there’s a deep craving to recapture authentic connections and a shared sense of community lost during the pandemic.
No amount of cash, points, or gift cards will fill that void. But experiences will. That’s because employees can share their experiences with family members, close loved ones, and other coworkers. Watch as they turn their kitchen into a science lab, learn new languages together, master difficult culinary styles, or even take group trips and staycations.
Whatever you choose, Blueboard has you covered. They make it easy for companies to celebrate their employees at scale with a menu of hand-curated experiential in-home or out-in-the-world rewards to suit anyone’s specific needs, wants, and comforts.
There’s no better reward than giving your employees an experience that they’ve always wanted. Consider implementing an employee rewards program for work anniversaries, employee referrals, sales incentives, President’s Club, spot recognition, and more.
Be it simple or luxurious, giving your co-workers an unforgettable Blueboard experience is a great way to reward them for their hard work.
50. Spa day
Give the reward of relaxation. They need it after all of their hard work.
Alliteratively, treat your talent to a socially distanced spa getaway with this luxury collection of Cru de Provence Lavender Vanilla.
51. Cooking lessons
Most people try to cook, and most people fail. Incentivize your employee, or small team, with cooking lessons one day after work. They’ll learn a lot and get to eat some outstanding food.
Bonus: Airbnb credit
Get them a gift card to enjoy a weekend stay at an Airbnb. It’s the next best thing to sending them on vacation. Let them decide where they want to go and cover their accommodations while they are there!
Bonus: Gift them a personalized gift
Showing appreciation doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all gift box. While standard cookie-cutter gifts may seem practical and might even be easier to order in bulk, personalizing your employees’ rewards sends a distinct message that they matter as individuals.
If you are looking into personalizing your company rewards, then you may want to take the time to think about what your employees’ interests are. A truly memorable gift is not necessarily the most expensive or high-tech gift on the market, but something your colleague will appreciate and find useful in their own way. Plus, you can personalize just about anything from gift boxes that support their well-being to customized office gear to promote their professional development.
Staff Incentive Ideas
52. Half-day Fridays
Most companies see a dip in productivity during the Summer months. So implementing a program to help fight this dip has become a popular strategy with many companies. This non-monetary incentive idea known as “Half-day Fridays” can be instituted during a three month span to keep employees happy and maybe even result in a nice bump in productivity.
53. Food Truck Lunch
Get a food truck to come to the office for lunch. Some food trucks can pull up right into your company parking lot or outside your business to serve employees who have been working hard all morning!
54. Company-wide email
While handwritten notes are great, there’s something about an open message that means a lot. Send a company-wide email thanking the employee and celebrating their accomplishments. You can also post the message to your company’s recognition platform to give your thanks an added boost!
Bonus: Company stock
Give them stock in the company they love. Not only is it rewarding for them, but it keeps them invested in the company and shows that you value them.
55. Ice Coffee Keg
Or growlers of iced coffee. Either way, it’s a nice change of pace from the traditional pot of coffee in the break room.
56. Birthday PTO
It’s totally acceptable to celebrate birthdays as a kid, yet for some reason, as soon as we hit adulthood we tend to skip the celebrations and treat our birthdays like any other day. The folks at BambooHR give their employees birthday PTO with zero obligations. They find that giving employees a little “me” time helps their employees relax a bit and come back more focused and engaged.
57. Dream car rental
While you probably can’t afford to give them the raise to buy that sports car they’ve always wanted, you can rent them one for a week. Enterprise has an exotic car rental service that is a great place to start.
58. Uber/Lyft credit
Everyone needs a ride occasionally. Get your employees an Uber/Lyft gift card for their next night out. This could also be a team-wide reward by setting up a promo code for them to use over a weekend.
59. Football helmet stickers
If you want to take it to the next level you can copy the Ohio State Buckeyes Football Team with helmet stickers. Get mini-helmets for everyone and reward them with a sticker every time they do something great.
60. Healthy Cookie Gift Boxes
The ultimate cookie care package for your employee who has a sweet tooth but without all of the sugar. Bursting with protein cookies of all flavors and sizes, go out and thank your talent for trekking with the team.
Thoughtful Employee Rewards
61. Give them a “passion pass”
Reward employees by giving them time to pursue their passions, and you’ll have an office full of satisfied, inspired individuals. Give everyone a free hour to pursue a project they’re passionate about, work-related or not. Some employees might paint; others will hit the skate park.
Whatever they decide to do, they’ll return to work feeling revitalized. This reward shows employees you don’t value them just for the work they do at the company; you also value them for the fascinating individuals they are.
62. Thank you video
This can be one of the most thoughtful rewards/gifts you can give someone. There is an amazing company called Tribute, that makes the process of recording and organizing videos simple. Try them out and reward your employees with a video showing your appreciation.
63. Secret slow clap
Pack as many people as you can into a room and have the employee being rewarded walk in unknowingly. Proceed to start a slow clap that runs into a standing ovation. It sounds funny, but I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t appreciate a good slow clap.
64. Handwritten note
It’s old school, but effective. Write your employee a note sharing your appreciation for them and their work. It can be in a simple card, or on the first page of a journal you give them. Plus, a sincere note could stay pinned on an employee’s wall for years, while a meaningless tchotchke could end up in the trash.
65. Self-portrait oil painting
Originally made famous by Scopely, it’s funny and awesome at the same time. Who wouldn’t want a beautiful oil painting of themselves to put above their fireplace? Hear about Scopely’s other crazy awards (including 11k wrapped in bacon) in their interview on the Awesome Office Show.
66. Surprise birthday gifts for employees
Celebrating an important milestone like a birthday can have a tremendous impact on your employees’ morale. Not to mention, with so many employees working fully or partly remote, an employee birthday box is a great way to surprise them on their birthday, with a gift sent to their home address.
67. Life-size cutout in the lobby
Let your employee greet everyone in the lobby for a day. Have a life-size cut out of them made and leave it at your entrance for everyone to see.
68. Godiva Chocolate Gift Box
Nothing says appreciation than best-in-class chocolate! 36 pieces of delicious gourmet chocolate are packed in this custom gift box that will reward your employee’s sweet tooth for all the hard work they have put in this year.
69. Volunteer at a charity of their choice
Your only real commodity is time. Give some of it to those who need it most. Studies have shown volunteering makes people happy, and the effect increases as people volunteer more. Plus, as Helpguide.org points out, volunteering also presents the perfect opportunities to try out different work roles and even build new career-relevant skills. You can also find a good gift that donates to a charity as a nice welcome present for them to see on their desk when they walk in for the day.
70. One-on-one mentoring
One of the most valuable things for an employee who wants to improve. They are looking to learn from people with experience. Reward them with a few mentoring sessions with one of the executives.
Employee Incentive Gifts
71. Custom phone cases
Get a picture of their team, company logo, or anything else, and personalize their most used item.
72. Sporting event tickets
Who doesn’t like a good game? Bonus points if their team is from out of town, and you get them tickets to the game when they play the local team.
73. Gran Patron Engraved Tequila Decanter
Make a memory with an engravable Gran Patron Platinum tequila bottle. Each etched bottle is handcrafted from crystal, signed and numbered, and comes in an elegant presentation case. Great for top performers, retirement, promotions and to commemorate great achievements.
74. Standing desk
Standing desks are becoming more prevalent in offices and for good reason. It has been said that sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for hours at a time can have serious negative side effects on your health. Luckily there are so many options now that you can find the right standing desk for your workspace.
75. Dunk tank day
Let your employees get that revenge they’ve always wanted. Pick a nice summer day and rent a dunk tank. Everyone can take turns trying to dunk his or her manager. Combine it with some food and drinks, and it’s guaranteed to be a fun event.
76. Dinner on the boss
Take your employees out for dinner on the house. Everybody loves food, and getting a meal on the boss’s tab is much more rewarding than cooking one yourself. Plus, this reward brings employees the leadership facetime they crave more than any tangible reward.
Get as creative with these awards as you want. People love showing off their achievements. Awarding a personalized plaque is the type of employee reward that will make a big statement.
78. The throne they deserve
Chances are your employees are sitting most of the day. Well, now they’ll be sitting on a modernly designed, memory foam chair that is temperature regulated and gives massages.
79. Alo Moves Annual Subscription
Give the gift of year-round yoga with the Alo Moves digital subscription. Includes thousands of on-demand yoga, fitness and meditation classes for every level from beginners to advanced.
80. Monday Night Football
Hold a Monday Night Football viewing party for the team/company. Order a few pizzas, get some beverages, and celebrate their hard work.
Team Incentive Ideas
81. Edible arrangement
Chocolate-dipped fruits in the shape of flowers are a great reward for anyone. You can go to Edible Arrangements and get them delivered right to the office. There are also several alternatives to Edible Arrangements out there if you are looking to send gift baskets, gift boxes, or something special!
82. Five Minute Journal
The Five Minute Journal is one of the more thoughtful rewards you can give someone. As the name says, it’s a journal that takes just five minutes a day to help practice mindfulness.
83. Karaoke day
Take the second half of the day to set up a karaoke machine and let your employees sing their hearts out. You might want to have some earplugs ready.
84. Lift tickets
If you’re located around a mountain or some ski slopes, reward your employees with a few lift tickets. It will get them out of the house and active during the winter months.
85. Oversized trophy
Employee incentives come in all shapes and sizes. However, there’s something about an oversized trophy that will make their accomplishment just a little bit sweeter.
No more sneaking in naps at the desk. Set up a nap area in your office where employees can hide away and catch a few Z’s.
87. Menlo Innovations
Our friends over at Menlo have one of the coolest company cultures around. Along with letting employees bring their puppies to work, they also reward them with team activities like whirley ball. To learn more about Menlo’s amazing culture, check out the Awesome Office interview with their CEO, Richard Sheridan.
88. Let employees reward each other
The good people over at ZipRecruiter use bonus.ly to allow employees to send micro-bonuses to their co-workers. They also reward their top performers with a trip to Costa Rica.
89. Meal delivery for a week
Take away the burden of cooking for a week. Set your employee up with a delivery service that will bring them their favorite meals for lunch or dinner.
90. Brewery tour
Take the team to a local brewery for a tour. They can drink some good beer, and learn about the processes behind it.
Unique Rewards And Incentives For Employees
91. Swap jobs for a day
Maybe not for all responsibilities, but enough to make it fun. They’ll have a good time and get some perspective on what other people in the company do every day. Many companies do regular job swaps to make sure some employees know the essentials of a few different roles.
This practice provides another hidden reward: employees can go on vacation and rest assured that someone is prepared and qualified to fill in. According to a recent survey, about 22% of Americans don’t take vacations because they “can’t take time off work.”
92. Concert tickets
Get tickets to a local concert and reward your employees with a night out and some good music.
93. Art shows
For those who appreciate art, reward them with a few tickets to a local art show/gallery. You can throw a dinner for two in with them.
94. New and improved job title
Reward their hard work with a new job title. This reward costs nothing and will mean a lot. The Harvard Business Review discusses a study on job titles that suggests employees who get to choose job titles reflective of their purpose and talents felt less emotionally drained and more recognized. They also felt free to take more risks.
95. Super Soaker 9000
Reward your team with a water gun fight during a hot summer day. It is a great way to cool off and act like a kid again.
96. CEO for a day
Reward your employee by letting them use the boss’s office for a day. It’ll be fun and they’ll get a taste of what it’s like at the top.
97. Audible account
Start your employees off with a month of Audible. Audiobooks are a great way to tear through your reading list.
98. WWE Belt
Reward your top performers by letting them be the world champion of the office. That is until the next title fight…
99. Student loan contributions/Educational Pursuits
Many employees dream of completing or furthering their education. Retain your best employees by helping them pay off their student loans, or pay for a portion of their educational expenses. It means more than simply giving them cash, and can ease their minds of that lingering payment.
100. Painting with wine
Take the team out to enjoy some painting and adult beverages. You might discover the next Picasso! With both in-person and virtual painting classes available, this is the kind of team building event that will attract all types of employees at your company. Plus, it is a low-stress activity that is light on competition!
Fun Rewards At Work
101. Guitar/Music lessons
Help your employees learn the new skill they’ve been wanting to. Bring a teacher into the office and let the team rotate for 30 minutes sessions, or do a group lesson.
102. Baby on Board
Menlo Innovations rewards their employees by letting them bring their baby/dog to work for a day. It helps their employees relax and have a fun day with their loved ones. Plus, who doesn’t love babies and puppies?
103. Send them a video from a celebrity
Have a personalized video message from their favorite comedian or celebrity recorded for them to replay forever. Or blow their mind by coordinating a live video call with an NFL legend as a recognition reward.
The most impacting employee rewards ideas aren’t necessarily tied to a monetary gift. Cameo connects your team members with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment to deliver an unforgettable message and keepsake.
104. Pajama day
Go one step beyond casual and let your employees wear their pajamas to work for a day.
105. Sticker Face
Create a sticker of the employee’s face and pass them out at the next team meeting. Your team can have some fun with them and recognize the employee’s accomplishment. Stickermule has a super simple and affordable service for custom stickers.
106. Paintball outing
Depends on the personalities at the office, but if your team is up for it, paintballing can be a great reward. There are a lot of places that take large reservations and have group deals.
107. Company clothes
Design some new company gear and give it away as rewards. Shirts, hats, socks, anything you can put a logo on.
108. Hit the track
Take your team go-Kart racing for a half-day, or after work. Remember, if you ain’t first, you’re last.
109. Cool Socks
You show me a person that says they don’t like cool socks and I’ll show you a liar. Check out YoSox and reward your employees with stylish feet.
110. Prize wheel
You hit goal and you spin the wheel. What’s on the wheel? Anything you want.
Ways To Reward Remote Employees
111. One-on-one mentoring
One of the most valuable things for an employee who wants to improve. They are looking to learn from people with experience. Reward them with a few mentoring sessions with one of the executives.
Tracking your movements is a great way to stay motivated on your health goals. You can even give them to the whole team and set up competitions with prizes.
113. Camping supplies
If your employee enjoys the outdoors, reward them with some new gear to test on their next camping trip or trail adventure. They’ll appreciate it the next time they head out into the woods.
114. Crossfit membership
Start them with a month-long membership at a local Crossfit gym. They’ll get to try something new, challenge themselves, and stay healthy.
115. CEO for a day
Reward your employee by letting them use the boss’s office for a day. It’ll be fun and they’ll get a taste of what it’s like at the top.
116. Group golf lessons / Mini Putt
Buy the team a group golf lesson or take them to play Mini Putt. You can finally learn how to fix your slice and increase your distance, or just get outside in the sunshine for a day. Just make sure you work on your putting drills beforehand.
117. Hot air balloon
Reward your employees with a hot air balloon ride. It might help them cross something off their bucket list while having a great time in the process.
118. Personal chef
Hire a personal chef to go to the employee’s house for a night and cook them dinner. It will take the stress out of preparing and go a step beyond taking them to dinner.
119. Hair cuts
Whether it’s on site for a day or coupons for later. Reward them with a fresh cut for the weekend.
120. House cleaning
Hire a cleaning service to go to your employee’s house and clean while they are at work. They’ll return to a clean house and be able to relax.
121. Cool meetings
What could be more rewarding than workdays packed with meetings employees actually enjoy? To boost your company meeting game, consider how you might “brand” your internal meeting process. You have a unified look and mission statement, so why not unify how you run meetings?
A rewarding meeting strategy will look different at every company. Maybe at your company, healthy snacks and awesome icebreakers should make appearances at every meeting. Maybe your employees would love to have music breaks every 15 minutes. Get creative and let your culture shine through in your meetings.
*Bonus* Ways To Reward Your Employees and Staff
➤ Shoe polish
Bring a shoe polisher into the office for a day to freshen up your employee’s dress shoes.
Bring a tailor into the office to get employees’ measurements and tailor their favorite suit/dress shirts.
➤ Development conferences
Everyone is trying to master their craft. Helping your employees improve personally, and professionally, not only rewards them but your company in return.
➤ Phone bill
Call, text, data, streaming, anything they can think of on the company for a month.
➤ Custom briefcase/bag
Set them up with a custom bag to carry their stuff. Embroider a company logo and their initials on it to show your appreciation. Topo Designs is a great place to find some high-quality briefcases/backpacks.
➤ Give employees credits to redeem rewards and experiences
One of the leaders in employee rewards, YouEarnedIt, uses a program that gives its employees the option to redeem credits for rewards and experiences. Below are a few examples of fun ones.
➤ Magazine subscription
Buy them a year subscription to their favorite magazine.
➤ Scratch offs
The reward that keeps on giving. $20 of scratch-offs is more fun than a gift card and has the potential to pay off big.
➤ Hire them a personal assistant
This employee incentive is a fun way to help them relieve some stress. Everyone could use a personal assistant to take care of the tasks they can’t get to. Reward your employee by hiring a personal assistant for them for a day, week, or month. FancyHands is an online option that is easy to use.
➤ Portable chargers
Great reward with a wide price range. Smaller sizes you can keep in your pocket, to larger, more powerful models for camping. Ideal for employees who like to travel or camp.
➤ Car wash
Give them a gift card to the local car wash, or, go the extra mile and wash it for them while they’re at the office.
➤ Their favorite liquor
Age restriction (21+) for this reward. Depends on the person, but if they have a favorite brand of whiskey, beer, or wine, reward them with a bottle of the good stuff.
“Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison. Kindles are relatively cheap and make for a great reward. They will motivate your employees to keep reading and expanding their education.
➤ Healthy snacks
Keeping the break room stocked with healthy office snacks will keep your employees feeling cared for and productive throughout the long workday.
➤ Exclusive guest speakers
Start an employees-only guest lecture series with inspirational industry leaders. Employees will love getting industry perspective from subject matter experts outside the company. They’ll also love hearing about big-picture topics that broadly relate to their work but aren’t specifically about it. Tap into your employee network for this one: ask around to find out who knows someone who could give a good lecture. Within your company, you probably have plenty of contacts to fill up a whole year of programming.
➤ Fix their watches
Have your employees bring in all their watches that are broken or need new batteries and get them fixed. It’s simple to do, but never makes it on the to-do list.
No more excuses for being late to those Monday morning meetings.
➤ Psychic in the office
Bring a psychic to the office for a few hours and let your employees have some fun while learning whether or not they’ll get that promotion they’ve been working for.
Choosing a one-size-fits-all gift is challenging. Employees all have different tastes and preferences, and it can be tricky to satisfy everyone while avoiding gotchas like allergies, dietary restrictions, gendered items and items recipients simply have no use for.
Sending an E-gift is the perfect solution! Unlike gift cards which can leave gift-givers with remaining balances or force them to spend more than face value for their perfect gift, the CorporateGift.com gifting platform allows you to send a curated selection of gift options for each recipient to choose their favorite.
As an automated solution, CorporateGift.com lets you set up rules such as gift category, price, interest, or other attributes or pick your own selection for their large marketplace of unique and customizable bulk items. You can also set up automated triggers such as birthdays, work anniversaries, or holidays.
When a gift is redeemed, it’s shipped directly to the employee on-demand — no storage or handling required.
Some of our favorite categories to explore on CorporateGift.com:
➤ Upgrade the kitchen
Your employees deserve all the comforts of home and then some. Invest in a few Vitamix blenders so employees can make their own juices and smoothies at work. (The only catch is a cleaning policy!) Bring in a quality espresso maker complete with a milk frother. Set up a panini press station. There’s a fun and fancy appliance to match any office style.
Probably the most underappreciated object in the office, and often misplaced. These simple gifts for employees sometimes mean the most.
Employee rewards are a way to set your company apart from the rest. They let your team know that their hard work is being recognized and can even become a part of your company culture.
So, what ideas are you using to reward and appreciate your employees? If we’ve missed any cool ideas let us know in the comments below.
People Also Ask These Questions About Ways To Reward Employees
Q: How should you reward employees?
- A: There are a million creative ways of rewarding your top talents. But whether you’re doing thank you notes, gift cards, and company swag, or passes to sporting events, movie tickets, and winery tours, you’ll want to keep these 3 key factors in mind:
- make it specific – spill the tea on why they’re receiving the reward so it’s clear how they’ve made a difference
- make it timely – present the reward for the specific action(s) promptly so the situation is still fresh
- make it meaningful – personalizing these rewards magnifies the impact on the receiver
- Most importantly, always be authentic and sincere with your recognition. These little perks show your employees that they’re valued for their good work and often even help support a healthy work-life balance.
Q: What are some ways to reward employees without money?
- A: There are tons of options for fantastic non-monetary employee incentives like customized swag, experiential packages, wine boxes, and exciting group activities. Let’s be clear… cold, hard cash is still a much appreciated reward that can definitely motivate employees and encourage improved performance. But cash is easy and can often be viewed as somewhat impersonal. Recognizing them for their great work over and above deserves a little more. And “more” doesn’t have to mean “more expensive.” Some great rewards programs offer low-cost suggestions that still yield a high return on your investment. Just remember… make it meaningful. Personalization is also important. Taking the time to recognize an employee can make them feel great, but they’ll appreciate it even more if you give them something that speaks to their personality. Whether that be a note or a printable picture of their favorite celebrity/athlete congratulating them, you can reward them in many ways without breaking the bank.
Q: How to incentivize employees?
- A: The first step to implementing a successful employee incentive program is to identify what motivates them personally and professionally. Not what motivates the employees of 100 other companies – yours. Some may be influenced by public recognition and social media mentions. While others prefer a more quiet, personal approach like a handwritten note or an extra day off work. Many could be enticed by monetary bonuses while others would love a front-row parking spot. Appealing to their interests and understanding what drives them will help you zone in on the most effective ways to recognize and reward your outstanding team members.
Q: How can I reward employees for their hard work in 2023?
- A: Recognizing and rewarding your employees effectively is crucial for retaining top talent and keeping employees engaged. We understand that every manager works with a different budget, access, and time to reward their employees. With this in mind, we set out to create the ultimate guide for Creative Ways to Reward Employees Who Kick Ass in 2023. This unique list of ways to reward employees will inspire you to celebrate those who go above and beyond the call of duty!
Q: How do you reward employees working from home?
- A: The ways that you reward employees working from home differ greatly from those that are on-site. There are several cost-effective online recognition tools that are perfect for interacting with employees who may be working from home or remotely in another part of the world. For more ideas, we’ve listed our favorite ways to reward employees, and with over one hundred of them, many of them are perfect for WFH.
Great article! Dunk Tank FTW!
Great ideas! Thanks for compiling these all in one place!
No problem! Glad you enjoyed them!
AWESOME POST. FOUND VERY USEFUL.
Good to hear!
Heckuva good job. I sure appiecrate it.
We’re currently creating a “Shout Out” wall that employees will be able to write compliments on and put “Good Work” stickers on. I really enjoyed reading about these other ideas and hope to implement some of them soon!
That’s awesome Morgan! Glad you enjoyed it. Keep us updated on how it goes and which ones you decide to implement!
Awesome article with some great ideas! I will most definitely be stealing a bunch of these.
Thanks Wes! Let me know how they go.
These are some GREAT recommendations and would certainly make me feel appreciated!
Thank you Jeanne. That’s the goal!
Love this list! My favorites: half day Fridays, scratch offs and the surprise birthday gifts.
Glad you liked it Rochelle! Those are some of my favorites as well! Especially half day Fridays.
Great article, love the ideas!
Thank you Aaron!
Wow! Some creative ideas in here and lots of them!
Happy you enjoyed them Karen! What were your favorite ones?
Love this article, definitely a lot of great ideas to pass along! Our company pays for in office yoga, free healthy snacks, we can bring our dogs to work, theres a basketball hoop, ping pong, in office lunch option, free movies, and standing desks.
Thanks Lauren. Sounds like a pretty sweet office!
We have done several of these (chair massages, office olympics, healthy snacks, outings, etc) but the one we do regularly is for their anniversary. Everyone sends 1 word descriptions about the person we are celebrating and it is shared via slide during out monthly meeting. It’s awesome to see how creative they get and so far it has been a big hit. Of course, the gift that goes along with it usually puts a smile on their face too!
That’s a great idea Joy! Thanks for sharing.
Whoa! This is quite the list! So many of these apply to awesome things you can do for your customers as well as employees. Sending video texts to my team is also one of the easiest and highest impact ways to say thank you.
Didn’t even think of video texts. Easy and effective. Thanks Shane!
Since we started offering healthier snacks, employee morale has for sure gone up. People gather in the kitchen and get excited about trying new snacks. It has created a sense of togetherness. Its pretty cool.
Also, I feel that every office should have puppies. How could you not be happy when there are puppies! I am currently looking into it for our office. A once a month puppy play-date is just what we need. 🙂
That’s awesome Christy! So cool to hear that snacks are bringing your employees together.
I think everybody needs a once a month puppy play-date!
Great article! Our office provides us with healthy and delicious snacks, massages, and standing desks.
Great article. Every bosses should read this! Love the ideas.
Where did you get the prize wheel? Love the idea but don’t know how to do it.
I think the one in our office is this one – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L3748DE/ref=s9_acsd_top_hd_bw_b86gurD_c_x_w?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&pf_rd_r=Z5MQ5GQ0CBNQZ43PJ4PP&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=726a7232-22c1-57d3-bf00-c7c70e982039&pf_rd_i=7427949011
Thank you very much for the quick response.
Late to the game…but loved it! Thanks!
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The facts that have been discussed here are really important. Thank you so much for sharing a great post.
Thank you for giving this valuable information
Love this article, definitely a lot of great ideas to pass along!
Great points here. Love all of these! It all boils down to trust and treating people well