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Need Creative Employee Reward Ideas? Here’s One for Every Season

  • author

    Heather Munro

  • posted

    Jun 21, 2022

  • topic

    Employee Rewards

Need Creative Employee Reward Ideas? Here’s One for Every Season

Now more than ever, recognizing your employees for their contributions can make an impact.

According to research from Bamboo HR and Quantum Workplace, 52.5% of survey respondents want to receive more recognition from their immediate manager or supervisor. And 41% want to receive more recognition from immediate co-workers.

With employees rethinking work and leaving jobs at an unprecedented rate during what’s being called the Great Reshuffle, managers should take note. CNBC reports that some experts anticipate this trend will pick up speed again in January, once year-end bonuses are handed out.

The time is right to freshen up how you reward — and retain — employees. December may be the traditional time to thank employees for a job well done, but spreading rewards throughout the year keeps them engaged and feeling appreciated.

Try these creative employee reward ideas to recognize your teams throughout the year.

Spring Give-Back Event

Mission-driven companies are attracting top talent. One way you can show you are a company that cares is to sponsor an opportunity for your employees to give back.

Contact town or city officials of a local park near your office and offer to do a spring cleanup in honor of Earth Day on April 22. Plan to spend a few hours doing yard work, clearing paths, and picking up litter. Afterward, provide a picnic lunch for your employees — and be sure to thank them for their participation.

Remote employees don’t have to miss out on the action. Send them a Lowe’s or Home Depot gift card to purchase a perennial, shrub, or tree to plant themselves — either in their own yard or in a community park near where they live (with permission, of course).

READ MORE: Remote Employee Rewards Ideas to Engage Hybrid Teams

Summer Ice Cream Social

Nothing says summer like ice cream. And who doesn’t love a sundae bar?

Pick a day of the week when your employees may need a little pick-me-up or that coincides with the completion of a big deliverable for your team. You’ll obviously need to provide ice cream in the traditional favorite flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. Pick up a few pints of “nice cream” made with plant milks, too.

The sky’s the limit with toppings: whipped cream, chocolate syrup, walnuts, sprinkles, M&M’s, you name it. Unlike traditional bagels or doughnuts left in the breakroom, an ice cream social brings employees together.

If you have employees out on vacation, send them GrubHub or DoorDash gift cards so they can have an ice cream treat delivered to enjoy at home. Do the same for remote employees, who can order in time to join the festivities via Zoom.

Fall Training Rewards

September — back-to-school time — is ideal for rewarding employees who took the time for professional development.

Whether it was taking a class or completing a certification program, recognizing these employees for their accomplishments will let them know you appreciate them. Don’t forget your employees who led in-house or client trainings.

Shout-outs on Microsoft Teams and during your department’s weekly meeting are meaningful to employees. But if you’re still looking for creative employee reward ideas, consider this stat.

Prepaid and gift cards are preferred nearly 3 to 1 over all other gifts, according to research from Blackhawk Network. Instead of presenting a T-shirt with your company’s logo, offer to let your employees choose their own reward.

Super Bowl Shopping Spree

After a busy holiday season, winter can feel a little blah. The Super Bowl, with its celebrity-infused halftime show, livens up a dreary time of year. A fantasy football game, where employees win if their player or team plays well, can be a fun office activity.

But if you want to flip the script, try this idea instead. On Jan. 2, start counting down to the Super Bowl with weekly recognition for your employees who perform well on the job. Everyone who gets recognized can purchase their favorite team’s jersey with a digital reward for the official NFL Shop.

What if you have top performers who aren’t football fans? Chances are, they will love a gift card to a movie theater.

As you can see, a little creativity can go a long way when rewarding employees. That said, it’s always a good idea to ask your employees for their input on your recognition program before you roll it out.

For more creative employee reward ideas, including spot rewards, performance incentives, and remote team appreciation, visit our Employee Rewards page.

about the author
Heather Munro

Based near Boulder, Colorado, Heather is a copywriter who has been writing in the retail and B2B space for more than 20 years.

Based near Boulder, Colorado, Heather is a copywriter who has been writing in the retail and B2B space for more than 20 years.

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