6 Prizes for Employee Recognition to Increase Employee Engagement

Date: February 2, 2023
company incentive programs

Employee engagement and motivation are a combination of art and science. A tandem of creative approaches and hard-set guidelines can keep your team members engaged, motivated, and satisfied.

While many companies implement employee recognition and rewards programs, few see the intended ROI. By diving deeper into several recognition-related concepts, you can better understand how to help your employees realize their potential and use it to drive the company's success while helping employee retention.

Let's take a closer look at employee recognition prizes and how they can benefit your company's bottom line through workforce engagement.

1. Dinner With the CEO

Over the past years, lunches with CEOs have gained momentum in many companies with open-door policies.

By arranging a lunch with small groups of employees, the management discovered a new way to learn more about their needs and desires while fostering a friendly workplace environment.

Benefits for the Employee

A dinner with the CEO can be an excellent employee recognition prize. Besides being an obvious way to get to know each other, such dinners can give employees a better understanding of their role in the company.

Since CEOs are extremely busy, finding an opportunity to meet with a group of employees is complicated. When they take time to meet with one outstanding employee, it can go a long way toward showing appreciation.

For many people, recognition is an important tool that reinforces their self-worth. Recognition from a CEO can positively reinforce self-esteem and motivate an employee to show top results.

Benefits for the Employer

While fostering employee engagement, the CEO can reap specific benefits from such dinners, including valuable insights into employee wants, needs, interests, and hobbies. These dinners can help gather more employee data than meetings with the HR team or internal surveys.

2. Team Lunch

Free food at a good restaurant is always a win-win prize for employees. While you can use this perk to recognize individual employees, it works great for rewarding the entire team. 

Benefits for the Employee

Being awarded a team lunch is a demonstration of appreciation for employees. While money is an external reward with a short-lived effect, attention from the management is a self-worth booster that stays for a long time.

Employees can relax in a comfortable setting and enjoy a tasty meal. If you have the opportunity, host these lunches during work hours. Employees are rarely happy about stealing time from their families to attend a work-related event.

Team lunches aren't just a way to recognize a team of employees. It's an opportunity to give them a fun break from intense everyday work. This doesn't just boost engagement but also improves productivity.

Benefits for the Employer

This type of lunch is an excellent opportunity for employees to understand their team better. Team lunches boost internal morale and help the employer learn new things about the workforce in an informal setting.

Unlike an individual dinner with a CEO, a team lunch gives you a peek into the way team members interact with each other. This can provide valuable insight into team-building gaps and opportunities.

3. Team Trophy

A trophy is a visual and low-cost way to recognize team achievements. While the trophy itself doesn't have to be made of gold, clear guidelines for getting it can go a long way toward employee engagement and motivation.

You can consider implementing a traveling trophy. Using this prize for employee recognition has a continuous effect. It travels from team to team to demonstrate its achievements to the rest of the company.

One of Bucketlist's clients, One Magnify, used rewards and recognition software to identify team efforts across the entire organization. This boosted engagement, improved team collaboration, and reinforced valuable connections.

Benefits for the Employee

More than 85% of employees say that lack of collaboration is the key reason for workplace failure. That's why anything that encourages teamwork is an investment in your company's success.

Teamwork (besides collaboration and communication) is acknowledging a common purpose for employees. This is closely tied to engagement. By handing out a trophy, you are showing that employees are on the right way to working toward common goals.

Benefits for the Employer

According to Gallup, an improvement in employee engagement can lead to an 18% increase in productivity. If you engage the entire team, results can be even more impressive.

Rewarding teamwork is a great way to unite employees and help them streamline collaboration and communication. This, in turn, makes operations faster, easier, and more successful. It can also be a great way to support distributed teams.

4. Company-Sponsored Volunteer Day

While this may not seem an effective way to reward employees initially, company-sponsored volunteerism has impressive benefits. You can arrange this type of recognition by:

  • Providing resources for volunteer activities
  • Arranging paid time off for volunteering
  • Rewarding volunteering with prizes

If your employees are involved in volunteering projects, supporting them can be an effective motivating and engagement-driving tool.

Benefits for the Employees

According to studies, employees who participate in work-sponsored volunteerism are more satisfied with their employers. They also build stronger bonds with co-workers.

By participating in volunteer projects during work hours, employees can diversify their activities, develop new skills, assist the community, and contribute to the cause of their choice.

Researchers say that volunteering can extend a person's life because people are hard-wired for social connections. Eye contact, smiling, and gratitude encourages the release of the "happy" hormone oxytocin. This hormone helps employees handle stressful situations at work better.

Benefits for the Employers

Employer-sponsored volunteering activities can directly impact the company's bottom line. They improve employee productivity, strengthen the workplace culture, and position you as an employer of choice for new talent.

When your employees have a common goal related to volunteerism, they benefit from better collaboration in the workplace.

5. Wellness Day

Wellness is an integral part of a healthy workplace environment. Wellness programs encourage healthy behavior, reduce absenteeism, drive employee retention, and improve engagement. Even if you already have a wellness program for your employees, you can still implement a Wellness Day reward.

Wellness or well-being days are dedicated days when employees can take time off and care for their health. You are building a healthier workplace by giving your team extra time to focus on their needs.

Some employers implement regular well-being days. For example, each employee can take four well-being days off a year. Others use them as recognition tools.

Benefits for the Employees  

Employees can take care of their health without worrying about missing time from work. This is excellent motivation for streamlining operations and achieving individual and team goals.

Stress and anxiety associated with at-work situations make breaks vital to employee productivity. A wellness day allows one to relax and focus on positive aspects of life and employment.

Benefits for the Employers

Wellness days don't just improve employee satisfaction; they prevent burnout.  Work-related stress negatively affects employees’ mental health and leads to fatigue. According to an American Psychological Association (APA) survey, 79% of workers experience work-related stress that can cause burnout.

Implementing wellness days kills two birds with one stone. This employee recognition prize serves as an award and a motivator while taking care of employees' health and preventing burnout.

6. Education (Seminars, Courses, Conferences)

A simple yet highly effective way to reward your employees while boosting their engagement and productivity is education. You can arrange seminars, conferences, courses, and webinars to meet employees' needs.

Some employers choose to cover tuition. Others arrange less expensive education opportunities to help employees make new discoveries and branch out.

Benefits for the Employees

Employees can learn something new or hone their skills (even if unrelated to their current project). They feel appreciated for who they are instead of for what they do.

This can go a long way toward increasing engagement at the workplace and fostering a sense of belonging. You should research employee preferences before arranging learning opportunities or allow them to choose their own educational options and cover the expenses.

Benefits for the Employers

Employers can reap the benefits of funding education, including higher engagement rates. When an employer contributes to the team's new learning possibilities, they invest in the employee's stability and satisfaction.

Employees who receive educational rewards and opportunities are likelier to stay with the company than those who only get work-related awards.

Employee Recognition Prizes Can Increase Employee Engagement

Employee recognition prizes are an essential part of effective recognition programs. By choosing prizes that maximize employee satisfaction, improve collaboration, and build employee self-esteem, you are contributing to higher engagement rates.

The success of your employee recognition program depends on the tools you use. Prizes are only as good as the way you implement them. Bucketlist's Rewards & Recognition Software allows you to set up an effective employee recognition program that helps ensure prize transparency and consistency.

To find out what this software can do for your company, please book a free demo today.

Go to Top