8 Employee Recognition Prizes Powered by Experience

Date: February 9, 2023
employee receiving recognition prize

The success of an employee recognition program heavily depends on the rewards you offer. Showing appreciation for employee efforts involves in-depth research, close attention to detail, excellent structure, and high-quality employee recognition prizes.

While different types of employee rewards exist, one of the most effective approaches is leveraging experiences. Experiential rewards drive positive memories and create a long-lasting motivational effect.

Let's take a closer look at employee recognition ideas that involve experiences.

Employee Recognition Program Prizes and Experiential Learning  

Experiential learning is the process of learning something by doing. Participating in activities that hone employee skills and boost their satisfaction outside work can encourage professional and personal growth. For many employees, experiential learning is one of the best possible rewards for their achievements.

Overall, you can kill two birds with one stone. First, you recognize employees for their effort. Second, you allow them to improve.

Today, over 55% of employees prefer non-financial employee recognition awards over monetary rewards. Experiential prizes can help celebrate your deserving employees' achievements exactly how they want to. Employers can boost employee recognition, provide meaningful rewards, and make employees feel appreciated and embrace company culture at one time.

Here are some options to consider. 

1. Volunteer Opportunities That Lead to Growth and Recognize Employees

Employers can support volunteering for their team members in several ways:

  • Arranging time off for volunteering projects
  • Matching employee's donations
  • Suggesting volunteering opportunities

Being proactive about volunteering options allows you to support a specific cause, contribute to the community's success, and help your employees hone their skills.

Volunteer time off (VTO) is becoming increasingly popular among employers. According to SHRM, 26% of companies today offer paid time off for volunteering. Large companies such as Liberty Mutual and General Motors introduce VTO policies to support various causes.

Implementing volunteering opportunities doesn't just help employees take their minds off work, avoid burnout, acquire new skills, and streamline personal growth. It benefits the employer's connection with the community and improves employee morale within the organization.

2. Celebratory Excursions

When you want to celebrate an employee's achievement by offering something memorable, excursions take the lead. These short trips don't take too much time off work, while allowing your team members to relax and enjoy your appreciation efforts.

Offering excursions to your staff can create an unforgettable experience and strengthen the emotional connection with the company. While going on an outing is fun, it can also contribute to an employee's personal and professional growth.

From going to safari parks to enjoying a helicopter ride, your employees will remember these tokens of employee appreciation for many years. They can contribute to their decision to stay with the company.

Today, 69% of employees planning to quit would consider staying if they received proper recognition. Rewards are an excellent way to hold onto your top talent and recognize employee achievements.

3. Paid Vacations

Paid time off is one of the most efficient ways to recognize deserving employees for their achievements. With most employees trying to pack all their activities into a short 14-day vacation, an extra week of rest can make a significant difference.

Employees can be with their families during time off, go on a trip they've been delaying, or find time to focus on hobbies.

Extra vacation days contribute to the employee's personal growth, while boosting employee morale and encouraging them to work harder.

4. Learning Opportunities

While offering high-quality in-house employee training can contribute to the company's bottom line, it's not always something hard working employees feel excited about. Meanwhile, many team members wish they could learn something that can drive their personal and professional growth outside the limits set by their employers.

That's where learning rewards come in. You can support your employees' professional development and drive for big achievements by supporting their learning plans. You could cover some tuition or give them time off to take classes.

Learning something new is an excellent experiential reward that drives personal growth. This, in turn, improves workplace morale and increases employee satisfaction. Skills gained by the employee (even if they aren't related to their work responsibilities) can indirectly contribute to the company's success.

5. Family Day at a Theme Park

Going to a theme park with your family is a great way to make memories. Unfortunately, overworked employees often lack the time or energy to arrange day-long family activities.

By providing this opportunity, you don't just recognize employees. You are strengthening their family connections and contributing to their well-being.

Team-Focused Employee Recognition Ideas

For many companies, excellent teamwork is an essential part of success. However, achieving perfectly balanced communication and trust can be a challenge.

Team-based rewards can build a trusted environment and motivate employees to improve their work as a team rather than focusing on individual goals. Take a look at our suggestions below.

6. Team Volunteering Hours

According to a PwC survey, 65% of employees want to work for a company with a powerful social conscience. Implementing team volunteering hours doesn't just cement employee loyalty. It can contribute to better team communication and relationships.

Some companies like Google offer employees opportunities to work pro-bono for nonprofits for many months. Half a day a month can be sufficient for small companies to achieve team-building goals while supporting the community.

7. Winery Tours

A winery tour is a wonderful relaxation experience for the entire team. Besides relaxing in a beautiful setting and enjoying a glass of tasty wine, your team members can use the stunning environment to strengthen their relationships.

Wine-tasting and food-tasting tours and activities can substantially contribute to your team-building efforts and getting to know a team member. Meanwhile, they create an excellent opportunity for peer-to-peer recognition.

8. Family Hotel Stays

You can arrange a family hotel stay to strengthen relationships between your team members while rewarding them for achievements. All team members and their families can go on an overnight outing. 

It doesn't always have to be a posh hotel. Camping can work just as well. Water park hotels are also a fun way to reward employees.  

Arranging a family experience doesn't just make it easier for your employees to find the team-building time. It helps them take their work ties to a new level by knowing their coworkers on a deeper level. Team member bonding outside of work is a good way to strengthen team bonds.

Best Practices for Employee Recognition Programs With Experiential Elements

The driving force behind a successful employee recognition program is its structure. While the quality of your employee recognition prizes matters, so does how you offer them. 

You can streamline your employee recognition efforts by implementing these practices:

  • Find out what your employees like – experiential rewards are only good if the person appreciates them. For example, volunteer opportunities work best if employees really care about the cause. Meanwhile, offering a winery tour to someone allergic to grapes can be a disaster.
  • Arrange awards during office hours – experiential rewards can have a much better effect if they don't take time away from your employees. That's why it's always better to arrange experiences during working hours. This can give your prizes extra value.
  • Implement clarity –all your employees should clearly understand the reason for being rewarded. This can motivate other team members to work harder and achieve top goals. Without transparency, employees may feel confused or worry that others are getting better rewards for the same achievements.
  • Review your budget – experiential rewards can range from luxury to low-cost options. The type depends on your budget. Initially, experiential prizes were something that employees couldn't afford. Today, they don't have to be wildly expensive. In fact, giving employees time off is just as valuable as arranging a luxury experience.
  • Consider recognition tools – a comprehensive employee recognition or a peer recognition program can be complex. Without software, it can be hard to keep track of recognition activities and ensure employee transparency. That's why many companies opt for employee rewards and retention software.

Experiential awards are an essential part of your employee recognition program, but hardly the only one. Monetary rewards, social recognition, informal rewards, peer to peer recognition, and many other award types are essential to the success of your employee recognition efforts.

An ideal employee recognition program implements several types of rewards depending on the needs of its team members, while staying on budget. The average budget of an employee recognition program is around 2% of the payroll.

Implementing Experiential Employee Recognition Prizes

Experiential employee rewards drive motivation, serve as incentives, improve employee engagement, and boost productivity. These awards create valuable memories that stay with employees for many years.

Employee rewards that create memorable experiences are essential to a successful employee recognition program. With the right approach, taking advantage of them doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.

Bucketlist's employee recognition and retention software can help you design and implement successful employee recognition programs with experiential prizes and other rewards.

To learn how these tools can streamline your company's success and make sure your employees feel recognized, please book a free demo at any convenient time.

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