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Employee Rewards

11 Rewards for Employees to Increase Employee Retention

motivating rewards

Rewards can drive powerful changes in human behavior. When someone experiences something rewarding, the brain releases a feel-good hormone called dopamine. The brain remembers the feeling and motivates the body to experience it again. That’s why rewards for employees to motivate are so important.

By taking advantage of how the human brain works, it’s possible to design an effective employee recognition program that drives motivation, productivity, and retention.

Showing employees appreciation by setting up a rewards system can help you retain top talent and boost operation efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at effective, tangible rewards that increase employee retention.

Rewards For Employees To Motivate: A Preview

  • Online Shopping Gift Card
  • Local Restaurant Gift Card
  • Brewery or Winery Tour
  • Flexible Workday
  • Personal Project Time
  • Wellness Rewards
  • Donation to a charity of choice
  • Paid Vacation
  • Food Tour
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Offsite Entertainment

rewards for employees to motivate

Why Do Employee Rewards Matter?

When you reward an employee and more specifically, choose the right rewards for employees to motivate, you demonstrate appreciation for their investment in your company’s success. This drives engagement, leading to higher productivity and better retention rates.

Here are a few statistics to consider:

  • 36% of employees cite “lack of recognition” as the top reason for leaving their jobs.
  • 40% of employees report receiving rewards only a few times a year or less.
  • 53% of employees want to receive more recognition from their immediate management.
  • 68% of employers say that employee recognition programs positively affect retention.
  • 82% of employees believe that recognition is an important contributor to their happiness at work.
  • Six months after implementing a rewards system, productivity increased by 44%-48%.

Without a solid reward system, employees can’t see the full effect of their work. While a salary increase is a straightforward token of appreciation, not all companies have sufficient resources to use this type of reward frequently.

Meanwhile, employees are more likely to react positively to rewards that don’t have to do anything with money. In fact, McKinsey found that non-monetary recognition drives more than 55% of employee engagement.

Employers must build a sense of belonging, diversify appreciation, and improve the employee experience. This is all possible by designing a comprehensive employee reward system and choosing the right rewards for employees to motivate. Implementing a reward program can keep employees satisfied and prevent high turnover.

11 Rewards for Employees to Motivate

To ensure the success of your employee recognition program, you need to implement the right rewards. When choosing which rewards to use, it’s important to study your team’s needs and preferences to adjust the program accordingly.

That’s exactly what Peter Piper Pizza did for its employees. It took advantage of Bucketlist’s software to customize its reward system according to the workforce’s needs, special dates, and age range.   

Here are a few ideas of rewards for employees to motivate them:

1. Online Shopping Gift Card

A gift card can be an excellent reward for any employee. You can either choose a gift card from an online store that sells specific items (if you know what an employee wants) or get a card from a store that sells various products.

An online gift card is easy to buy and redeem. Meanwhile, you are free to choose an amount according to your budget. These cards usually have a long validity period so you can purchase them in advance.

rewards for employees to motivate

2. Local Restaurant Gift Card

A restaurant gift card isn’t just a tangible reward. It’s an experience. Instead of depositing a check or redeeming a gift card, a person can dress up and go out.

Experiential rewards are often more effective than monetary rewards since they create memories. Accordingly, the effect of such rewards can last for a long time.

A well-chosen local restaurant gift card shows that a company takes the time to arrange positive experiences for its employees. As a bonus, it allows you to build better relationships with local businesses.

3. Brewery or Winery Tour

Brewery and winery tours are also experiential rewards. They don’t just serve as a token of appreciation but can become a team-building event. That’s why companies tend to use such tours as team recognition tools.

Keep in mind that alcohol-related events are highly specific. Not all employees may appreciate them. Consider your team’s preferences before arranging such a reward.

4. Flexible Workday

A flexible workday is one of the most appreciated rewards. Even before the pandemic, 80% of the U.S. workforce talked about turning down a job if it didn’t offer flexible working hours. After the pandemic, flexibility became even more important.

If your type of business doesn’t leave much room for continuous flexibility, you can use flexible workdays as rewards. For example, you could allow an employee to work from home for a week or arrange a monthly hybrid schedule.

5. Personal Project Time

Google’s famous 20% rule inspired companies to follow suit. Giving employees time to work on side projects that benefit the company can be highly productive. Making a reward out of it is even more beneficial.

You can also benefit by allowing employees personal (side) project time. These projects don’t have to focus on the company’s needs. Instead, they could be a way to improve an employee’s skills and add something to their portfolio.

Eventually, personal projects can benefit both the employee and the company. But only as long as you work out clear guidelines.

6. Wellness Rewards

Investing in employee wellness is a direct contribution to your company’s success. Developing a wellness program for your workforce is a way to show appreciation for their work and care for their health.

According to studies, recognition-led wellness programs result in 90% less burnout in the workplace.

If you can’t afford an all-encompassing wellness program, you can offer wellness perks as benefits. They can include gym memberships, spa days, personal trainer sessions, fitness trackers, massages, and the like.

7. Donation to a charity of choice

Employees value giving back because they feel like they have a sense of purpose beyond their day jobs. A purpose where they can lend their time and talents to causes that are meaningful to them. Providing this sense of purpose for your employee can be very impactful. There are a ton of different ways you can fulfill this, whether that be through making a donation or matching a donation, participating in a volunteer day run by your company, or organizing their own third-party fundraiser, we have found that employees want to be involved in social change. 

rewards for employees to motivate

8. Paid Vacation

Giving your team members an extra day or week of rest can benefit the entire company. Since employees often don’t have more than two weeks of paid vacation annually, extra days can make a big difference.

Paid vacation is a chance to rest, regroup, and return to work highly motivated. Vacations days are an excellent incentive that’s likely to work for the majority of your workforce. Vacations are highly effective rewards for employees to motivate them!

9. Food Tour

A food tour is an experiential reward that can allow employees to relax and enjoy multiple free meals. Coupled with a day off, this can be a highly efficient incentive.  

Knowing food preferences and allergies is the key to arranging a successful food tour for your team members. You don’t want to give a food tour to someone on a strict weight loss plan or if their diet is restrictive.

10. Tuition Reimbursement

If your employees want to study something new outside the workplace, you can encourage them by providing tuition reimbursement. This type of reward demonstrates your appreciation for employees’ personal needs.

While side training may not benefit your company directly, it works to improve employee satisfaction and motivation. As a result, it boosts retention rates.

11. Offsite Entertainment

You can reward your team by arranging offsite entertainment, such as movie days, bowling, barbecue, cooking classes, and the like. You can arrange this during work hours, so employees get an extra day off while participating in team-building activities.

rewards for employees to motivate

Why Are Some Reward Programs Ineffective?

Today, around 80% of organizations implement employee recognition programs. However, not all of them work as expected. 

Common reasons for the lack of effect include:

  • Poor knowledge of employee needs – giving baseball tickets to a football fan could be counterproductive. A person who receives a useless reward may start feeling less appreciated.
  • Improper frequency – giving rewards too often or not enough, failing to recognize employees in real-time.
  • Focus on obvious achievements – while people who score big wins require recognition, so do backstage players.
  • Lack of peerto-peer recognition – peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to have positive financial results than manager-only recognition.
  • Absence of diversification – it’s important to diversify rewards and recognition tactics to make sure they cater to the entire workforce.
  • Insufficient transparency – employees need to understand how the reward program works clearly. Otherwise, they may worry about not getting sufficient appreciation compared to other team members.

One of the main reasons why many reward programs have a low ROI is the lack of high-quality recognition tools and failing to choose and offer the right rewards for employees to motivate them. If an organization doesn’t invest in employee reward software, the entire program can become too time-consuming, prone to errors, expensive, and inconsistent.

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

Employee Rewards Can Go a Long Way

Employee rewards are an integral part of a successful employee recognition program. They demonstrate appreciation, boost motivation, increase engagement, and improve retention.

The key to building a robust reward system is taking advantage of efficient employee recognition software. Bucketlist provides a comprehensive employee retention solution that can streamline your recognition program and drive your company’s success.

To learn more, a free demo today!

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