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Employee Recognition

10 Experiential Rewards for Your Employee Experience Platform

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What Are Experiential Rewards?

Experiential rewards, in a simple and short definition, are non-monetary rewards that provide employees with memorable experiences rather than tangible gifts or cash bonuses. These rewards go beyond traditional incentives and focus on creating moments that employees can cherish and remember for a lifetime.

Exploring Experiential Rewards

In the competitive landscape of today’s business world, attracting and retaining top talent has become more challenging than ever. Employee recognition programs have emerged as a key tool for organizations to motivate, engage, and retain their valuable workforce. Among the various elements that make recognition programs successful, experiential rewards stand out as a powerful way to boost employee morale and performance. In a recent study it was found that experiential rewards have nearly 4x more impact on the employee experience than any other type of reward. The proof is in the facts, experiential rewards can help you improve your recognition program immensely and we’re here to show you exactly how they can do that.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the concept of experiential rewards, what employees desire in recognition programs, the benefits of offering such rewards, the significance of seeking employee feedback, and how to effectively incorporate experiential rewards into your recognition program.

Table of Contents

What Are Experiential Rewards?

Exploring Experiential Rewards

What Employees Want in a Recognition Program

10 Experiential Reward Ideas

The Benefits of Offering Experiential Rewards

The Importance of Employee Feedback

Embracing Experiential Rewards

experiential rewards

What Employees Want in a Recognition Program

Recognition programs are only as effective as the rewards they offer. While traditional monetary incentives have their place, a growing number of employees are seeking something more meaningful. In fact, 65% of employees prefer non-cash incentives

Finding unique rewards to offer your employees yields immeasurable benefits, however, it can be difficult to find the right platform to help you. With software like Bucketlist Rewards, your organization can create a customized and meaningful employee recognition program where personalized rewards, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, gift cards and branded swag are all part of your program! Bucketlist is the only platform that provides totally personalized rewards and lets you customize your reward selection to make sure employees love it and that it aligns with your brand. From Indoor Skydiving to Nordic Spa days, Bucketlist lets you get creative with rewards! Click here to learn more about what Bucketlist does!

While a recognition program has immense benefits, it’s still important to consider what employees really want to see in their program. 

 1. Personalization

One size does not fit all, and employees understand this better than anyone. In fact, 47% of employees want to receive a personalized reward. They crave recognition that acknowledges their unique interests and preferences. Experiential rewards, such as a food and drinks tour or a spa day, can be tailored to cater to each individual’s tastes. Personalization goes a long way in making employees feel seen and appreciated.

 2. Emotional Connection

Experiential rewards have the power to forge emotional connections. Unlike traditional bonuses, experiences create memories and emotional imprints that last a lifetime. A thrilling adventure or a relaxing spa day can evoke strong positive emotions, strengthening an employee’s bond with their workplace and colleagues. Given that a staggering 97% of reward programs rely only on transactional rewards, experiential rewards offer a unique way to differentiate your workplace. They are a type of relational reward that can bond employees to the workplace and impact their willingness to stay committed and engaged at work. 

 3. Work-Life Balance

Modern employees understand the importance of work-life balance. Whether your employees are in office or working remotely, they appreciate recognition programs that not only acknowledge their hard work but also contribute to their well-being. Experiential rewards like a Nordic Spa Day or a Sunset Sailing Cruise encourage relaxation, providing an opportunity to decompress and recharge.

 4. Shared Experiences

In an era of remote work and digital interactions, many employees yearn for shared experiences. Experiential rewards often involve group activities, such as zipline adventures or airboat swamp safaris. These shared adventures create a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, strengthening the connections between colleagues.

 5. Lifelong Memories

Experiential rewards offer something money can’t buy—lifelong memories. Whether it’s witnessing the beauty of a bioluminescent paddle adventure or conquering a challenging horseback trail, employees cherish these experiences. The memories created become part of their life story, reminding them of their employer’s appreciation.

 6. A Break from Routine

Monetary rewards, while appreciated, can often end up in the same account as the rest of their earnings. Monetary rewards are becoming a routine way to reward employees, and they are starting to become expected. Offering recognition and appreciation doesn’t have to be something that is scheduled, in fact, 46% of employees say that an unexpected reward like a snack, lunch, or thank you note from their bosses would make them feel more appreciated. Experiences can help add to this desire for unexpected rewards. Experiential rewards provide a refreshing break from the routine. They encourage employees to step outside their comfort zones, explore new horizons, and relish life beyond the office.

 7. Fulfillment of Aspirations

Experiential rewards can help employees fulfill aspirations they might not have pursued otherwise. Whether it’s the dream of test driving a supercar or embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime safari adventure, these rewards bring unfulfilled dreams to life, showing employees that their workplace cares about their ambitions.

Incorporating experiential rewards into your recognition program not only meets these desires but also demonstrates a genuine commitment to your employees’ well-being and happiness. This shift in approach recognizes the value of each employee as a unique individual with distinct desires, providing rewards that resonate on a personal level. 

experiential rewards

10 Experiential Reward Ideas

To help you get started, we have curated a list of some great experiential rewards that will give you some ideas and inspiration. 

1. Exotic Car – Supercar Test Drive

Immerse your team in the world of luxury with the Exotic Car – Supercar Test Drive. This exceptional opportunity allows your employees to get behind the wheel of their dream car, choosing from a lineup that includes breathtaking models like the Lamborghini Huracan, Ferrari 488 GTB, and McLaren 720S. Picture your team experiencing the raw power, precision, and elegance of these incredible machines. This is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will be etched in their memories forever.

2. African Safari Zipline Adventure

Embark on a journey that combines heart-pounding excitement with stunning vistas. The African Safari Zipline Adventure offers a thrilling guided tour that includes traversing five ziplines, with the longest stretching a jaw-dropping 1088 feet and soaring 75 feet above the ground. As your team zips from platform to platform, the world beneath them unfolds in all its natural splendor. From lush canopies to breathtaking landscapes, every moment will be filled with awe and exhilaration.

3. Food and Drinks Tour

Elevate your team’s local experience with a food and drinks tour like no other. This reward offers the chance to explore the culinary and beverage delights of your city, with options that include tantalizing tours of the best food spots or visits to local breweries, craft houses, and intimate, local wineries. Your employees can savor the flavors of their region, sample handcrafted wines, and discover hidden gems, making this an unforgettable journey for the senses.

4. Bioluminescent Paddle Adventure for 2

Delve into a world of natural wonder with the Bioluminescent Paddle Adventure. Your team will set out in kayaks, tandem kayaks, or canoes, embarking on a 2-hour paddle through the enchanting glow of bioluminescent waters. Each stroke of the paddle will create a mesmerizing display of light in the surrounding waters, immersing your employees in a magical spectacle. This adventure is suitable for all skill levels, offering a rare opportunity to witness nature’s luminous beauty up close.

5. Nordic Spa Day

Experience the epitome of relaxation and rejuvenation with a Nordic Spa Day. Your team will be treated with access to a tranquil spa, where they can unwind in style. Indulge in massage therapy, savor a delectable meal, or explore the retail store for wellness products. This day of self-care will leave your employees feeling refreshed, revitalized, and ready to conquer any challenges that come their way.

6. Aston Martin Driving Thrill

Let your employees unleash their inner James Bond with the Aston Martin Driving Thrill. This thrilling experience offers the chance to get behind the wheel of an Aston Martin, a symbol of power and finesse. Depending on the venue, your team can select from the V8 Vantage or the DB9, each with its own unique allure. The adventure begins with a comprehensive briefing from a qualified instructor, covering racing lines, driving techniques, and car handling. Your employees will then take the wheel of these high-performance machines, with some venues even concluding the experience with a certificate presentation or a personalized driving analysis.

experiential rewards

7. Indoor Skydiving

Prepare your team for an unforgettable adrenaline rush with Indoor Skydiving. They will suit up in flight gear, strap on helmets, and adjust their protective goggles before soaring into a world of excitement. Under the guidance of an experienced instructor, your employees will embark on a training session to learn the ins and outs of body positions and hand signals, ensuring they get the most out of their flight. It’s an adventure that combines the thrill of free-fall with the safety of an indoor environment.

8. Sunset Sailing Cruise

Treat your employees to a breathtaking Sunset Sailing Cruise on a state-of-the-art 44-passenger sightseeing boat. As they embark on this scenic voyage, they’ll be able to unwind with a choice of refreshing beverages, including beer, wine, and soft drinks. The sun’s descent below the horizon will paint the water with a mesmerizing array of reds and oranges, creating a picturesque backdrop for their journey. This serene experience promises relaxation and serenity.

9. Airboat Swamp Safari for 4

Immerse your team in the untouched beauty of the wilderness with the Airboat Swamp Safari. Their captain will guide them through breathtaking natural wonders, including wetlands, cypress trees, and a diverse array of wildlife. While on this thrilling ride, your employees will have the opportunity to witness alligators, turtles, and a myriad of bird species in their natural habitat. It’s a journey filled with surprises and fascination, ensuring an unforgettable experience that will be cherished for a lifetime.

10. Horseback Trail Ride

Step into a world of natural beauty and adventure with a Horseback Trail Ride. This small-group riding expedition will have your team exploring dense forests and traversing mountain ridges to capture breathtaking views. Imagine the sense of accomplishment as they ride high above the landscape, taking in the spectacular vistas below. 

These examples represent just a glimpse of the experiential rewards that can be incorporated into your rewards and recognition program. By offering these experiences, you not only provide value to your employees but also acknowledge their exceptional contributions. 

The Benefits of Offering Experiential Rewards

In a world where the traditional nine-to-five is evolving, employee recognition is undergoing a transformation as well. As employees seek more meaningful and impactful rewards, experiential rewards have emerged as a powerful solution. In fact, employers that invest in experiential rewards see more than 3x the impact per dollar spent. Let’s delve into the benefits of incorporating experiential rewards into your recognition program.

 1. Memorability and Emotional Impact

Experiential rewards create memories that linger for a lifetime. Unlike monetary bonuses that may be quickly forgotten or used for daily expenses, experiences become indelible imprints in an employee’s life story. The emotional impact of an unforgettable adventure, such as a bioluminescent paddle excursion or an African Safari Zipline Adventure, is immeasurable. These experiences strengthen the bond between the employee and the organization, fostering loyalty and a deeper emotional connection.

 2. Motivation and Engagement

Experiential rewards serve as potent motivators. When employees know that their hard work can lead to exhilarating adventures or moments of relaxation, they become more engaged in their roles. The promise of these rewards instills a sense of purpose and motivation, driving individuals to excel in their tasks. The prospect of reaching a goal that culminates in a unique experience is a compelling incentive.

 3. Recognition Beyond Monetary Value

Experiential rewards transcend the monetary value often associated with traditional bonuses. They are instead a unique bonus which help convey that an organization values its employees not just as contributors to the bottom line but as individuals with unique aspirations and desires. This recognition extends far beyond financial figures and speaks to the deeper, more personal aspects of each employee’s life.

 4. Work-Life Balance

Today’s employees prioritize work-life balance. Experiential rewards, like a Nordic Spa Day or a Sunset Sailing Cruise, promote relaxation and rejuvenation. These experiences offer a break from the daily grind, encouraging employees to disconnect, unwind, and focus on their well-being. This work-life balance is essential for maintaining a happy, healthy, and productive workforce.

5. Retention and Loyalty

Employees who receive experiential rewards are more likely to stay with their organization. Given that 93% of organizations are concerned about employee retention, it’s more important than ever to consider unique rewards that will inspire employees and connect them to the organization. The emotional connections forged through memorable experiences, combined with the motivation these rewards provide, contribute to higher retention rates. When employees feel valued and motivated, they are less inclined to seek opportunities elsewhere. This, in turn, reduces the cost and disruption of employee turnover.

 6. Team Building and Camaraderie

Many experiential rewards involve group activities, fostering camaraderie and teamwork among employees. Shared adventures, whether on an airboat swamp safari or an indoor skydiving session, create lasting bonds among colleagues. These shared experiences contribute to a more cohesive, collaborative, and productive work environment.

 7. Alignment with Modern Values

Experiential rewards align with modern workforce values, such as sustainability and a focus on personal fulfillment. Experiences that connect employees with nature, like an airboat swamp safari, promote environmental consciousness and responsibility. Fulfilling unexplored aspirations, whether it’s test driving a supercar or going on an African Safari, resonates with the pursuit of personal dreams.

 8. Enhanced Well-Being

Experiential rewards contribute to the overall well-being of employees. Whether it’s an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a serene spa day, these experiences provide an opportunity to escape the stressors of daily life. They promote relaxation, physical and mental health, and a positive outlook—all of which are crucial for a productive and satisfied workforce.

By offering experiential rewards, organizations can tap into these diverse benefits, creating a recognition program that transcends traditional approaches. These rewards not only recognize and motivate employees but also enhance their overall quality of life, fostering a culture of appreciation and well-being.

To ensure the success of experiential rewards in your recognition program, employee feedback plays a crucial role. It’s essential to understand what experiences resonate most with your team members. Let’s explore the significance of obtaining employee feedback in the next section.

 The Importance of Employee Feedback

A successful recognition program hinges on understanding and meeting the preferences of your employees. Experiential rewards, as exciting and diverse as they are, must align with the desires of your workforce. Here, we delve into the significance of gathering and acting on employee feedback in tailoring recognition programs that truly resonate.

 1. Personalization and Engagement

One of the key advantages of experiential rewards is personalization. To achieve this personalization, you must first understand what appeals to each employee. Gathering feedback allows you to tailor recognition experiences to individual preferences. When employees receive rewards that genuinely resonate with them, their engagement and motivation skyrocket.

 2. Cultural and Demographic Relevance

Employee feedback can reveal cultural and demographic nuances within your workforce. Different groups may have distinct preferences and values. By seeking feedback, you can ensure that your experiential rewards are inclusive and relevant to all employees. This helps avoid potential biases and ensures that no one feels left out.

 3. Resonance with Company Values

Experiential rewards should align with your company’s values and culture. Employee feedback helps you understand how these values translate into individual desires. Whether your workforce values adventure, relaxation, sustainability, or community involvement, feedback ensures that recognition experiences uphold the principles that matter most to your organization.

 4. Maximizing Impact

Employee feedback not only identifies preferred experiences but also helps you fine-tune the details. For instance, feedback may reveal specific adventure preferences within zipline experiences or spa day treatments. This precision maximizes the impact of the reward, making it more meaningful and memorable for the recipient.

experiential rewards

5. Customization

Feedback can extend to the level of customization. Some employees may have unique requests or variations of a standard reward. Tailoring experiences based on individual feedback demonstrates a deep commitment to recognizing and appreciating the distinctiveness of each employee.

 6. Communication and Transparency

Gathering feedback fosters open communication and transparency. It conveys to employees that their opinions matter and that the organization is receptive to their input. This, in turn, promotes a culture of trust and collaboration.

 7. Adaptability

The preferences and desires of employees can change over time. Regularly seeking feedback allows you to adapt and evolve your recognition program to match these evolving preferences. This adaptability ensures that the program remains relevant and effective.

 8. Continuous Improvement

Employee feedback is not only valuable for selecting rewards but also for improving the overall recognition program. Suggestions and insights from employees can lead to program enhancements, ensuring that it continues to meet its objectives and resonate with the workforce.

Employee feedback is a cornerstone in the successful implementation of experiential rewards within a recognition program. It drives personalization, enhances engagement, aligns with company values, and maximizes the impact of rewards. 

If you want to learn how you can elevate the employee experience with experiential rewards, click the button above!

Embracing Experiential Rewards

In conclusion, experiential rewards are a game-changer in the realm of employee recognition. By aligning recognition programs with individual desires and values, organizations can create a motivated and content workforce. 

These unique, personalized recognition experiences go beyond traditional incentives, offering cherished memories and personal growth. The benefits include increased motivation, improved retention rates, and a more positive company culture. Embracing experiential rewards is the path to a happier, more engaged, and loyal workforce.

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