reward and recognition ideas

Reward and recognition ideas your team will love!

reward and recognition ideas
Everyone we talk to is talking about reward and recognition. It's one of the hottest HR and employee benefits topics and everyone is looking for new reward and recognition ideas.

One thing we want to be clear about from the beginning is:

Non-financial reward and recognition in most cases is more effective than financial recognition

We’ve written a guide to non-financial recognition before for Employee Benefits, which includes why non-financial recognition is more effective and how to implement it effectively.

The beauty of reward and recognition is that it doesn’t need to be costly and it can be very positive and beneficial for everyone.

In this article, we’re going to focus on reward and recognition ideas you can implement quickly and effectively!

Rather than list lots of small, simple ways of rewarding staff, we’ve picked out 7 of our favourite tangible ways of rewarding employees that are easy to implement and highly effective.

Whether it’s through career progression or individualising reward, these reward and recognition ideas will provide a real benefit to your team and your business!

For more on implementing your reward and recognition ideas, take a look at our Full Guide to Reward and Recognition!



7 reward and recognition ideas you should try


1. Start by recognising personal bests

When it comes to reward and recognition, rewarding everyone the same way can take some of the shine away and people will appreciate it less.

By recognising personal bests, you’re taking the time to recognise each individual’s work. Personalising any message will be more likely to get the person’s attention.

For bigger companies, leave this responsibility to managers. Smaller companies could benefit from managers rewarding their staff too, as they’ll know their team better than most.

However, where possible rewards should be given out by those higher up, like the CEO or Managing Director. Those at the top set an example to the rest of the company and are directly responsible for the culture of the company.

How to do it

  1. Start by identifying the KPI’s of each department/role. These will be the barometer for the performance of each person.
  2. Then assign the most important KPI(s) to each employee
  3. Get as much of an idea as you can about how they’ve performed according to those KPI’s since they joined or in the last year/quarter.
  4. Pick an appropriate time to assess everyone’s performance (i.e. monthly or weekly, dependant on their role and responsibilities) and pick out who’s achieved a personal best.


The KPI’s can vary for each employee. For those in Marketing it could be number of leads generated. For those in customer service roles it could be number of queries solved. Anything that relates to performance can be a KPI and it’s totally up to you!


2. Have a leaderboard

Done right, a leaderboard can be fantastic! In some instances, they aren’t appropriate and can be a little divisive. However, as a reward and recognition idea they are a fantastically simple tool to reward and motivate employees simultaneously.

The success of your leaderboard may depend on what department it is being used in. The aim is to create a little healthy competition. Reward comes into it when you offer rewards to those who top the leaderboard, or maybe for those in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for example!

As mentioned, a leaderboard isn’t always appropriate for every department, but it would be a shame to miss out on the chance to motivate and engage employees in such a simple and cost-effective way. Plus, healthy competition adds a bit of fun!


3. Reward with opportunities for growth

Reward employees by offering to help them improve and progress.

This could be done at a relatively low cost by giving them the opportunity to speak to a director or someone with experience in the company that they might not usually get the chance to learn from.

You could set up a mentorship between two employees where one employee has a level of knowledge and experience that could be incredibly valuable to other members of your team.

Alternatively, rewarding with opportunities for growth could be done through offering to pay for or subsidise a course to help the employee learn and improve.

Educational material can often be too expensive from an employee’s point of view, but for a company it costs relatively little. The rewards are there to be gained by both the employee and the employer.

Again, some employees will value a reward like this more than others. Younger employees are much more likely to be looking to learn and progress than someone approaching retirement, so rewarding this way might not suit everyone in your business.


4. Get creative with your awards

reward and recognition ideas

An example of how you can reward employees on Salary Extras.


Create new awards to give out to your staff and get creative with it. Rather than handing out the same staff awards all the time, have a variety of different awards that will make each one worth a little bit more.

For example, in our staff awards ideas blog, we suggested having a ‘Going the Extra Mile’ award. This is one that will be voted for by employees rather than those higher up.

It’s always nice to be recognised by your peers (more on how we can help you with this further on), and if someone goes the extra mile they deserve to be rewarded.

Rather than making it a monthly event or something that’s done regularly, let people nominate someone spontaneously. Sometimes the simplest reward and recognition ideas are the most effective.


5. Let the employee decide how they’re rewarded

We’ve mentioned in this article how not every reward and recognition idea is for everyone, so why not let the employee choose their reward?

Of course, they might just turn around and say they’d like the keys to the company director’s Jag. However, if the company director isn’t feeling so kind, sit down with the employee and ask them for feedback on their job.

If they say they’d like some software to help them perform their role better, look into getting it for them. If they’d like help progressing or improving in their role, look into how you can help them.

It’s a great opportunity for you to gain feedback and reward employees at the same time!


6. Take note and make it personal

This is a simple yet highly effective way of delivering personalised reward!

Letting staff choose their reward is one thing, but will an employee always ask for the reward they really want?

This is where managers come in and the knowledge of their team really comes into effect.

It’s a bit like buying a present for a loved one. You might listen out for little hints or clues for present ideas. The same applies for reward!

So, someone on your team has mentioned how they would love a weekend away on a staycation with their family. They’ve hit their targets or even overperformed. A Hoeseasons voucher would be the perfect reward wouldn’t it?

There’s that one member of your team who is absolutely obsessed with Marvel. Cinema tickets, right?

By taking note of these little things you’ll be able to reward in a more personalised and meaningful way!

Always keep reward in mind! You never know when the time may come where you really want to give out meaningful rewards to your team.

In this case, it’s as important as ever to empower managers to reward. It helps too if they’re allocated some reward budget!


7. Ecards and Peer to Peer Recognition

reward and recognition

Show your appreciation for your employees with personalised Ecards and employee awards through your employee benefits offering.

With Ecards, everyone at the company can send personalised messages to colleagues through their employee benefits platform.

Through the Salary Extras platform for example, messages can be customised to suit your business. Companies can even upload their own Ecards and tailor them to their own brand. The whole system is design to be tailored and as customisable as possible to suit your business.

You can also use your employee awards to drive engagement through your employee benefits platform. Show all your employee awards on your platform to show everyone in the business what awards have been won and by who. You can then use this to notify employees that they’ve won an award which will drive engagement with your platform. All of this can be done through Salary Extras.


Whatever reward and recognition ideas you choose to use, make sure it’s a key part of your employee benefits and engagement offering, as more and more companies are looking to do the same.

For more on the Reward and Recognition scheme offered through our Salary Extras employee benefits platform, get in touch and we’ll get you set up!


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