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Employee rewards ideas: clever ways to thank them

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This guide outlines several employee rewards ideas that will engage and delight your team.

Being a leader is about more than carrying a proverbial whip and cracking it on the backs of your beleaguered workers. It’s also about helping people bring out the best in themselves.

Part of this process is learning how to say thank you. A pat on the back is great but you want to go further than that to show your appreciation. After all, meeting that deadline or hitting that target could have come at immense personal cost to the employee. 

Employee rewards ideas

Check out the following clever employee rewards ideas to say thank you to your team: 

Send Them A Big, Smiling Selfie

Instead of writing a dry email with the word “thanks” written somewhere inside it, send your team a picture of what their effort means to you personally. Pick up your smartphone, put on a big smile, take a picture, and then fire it off to your staff. Show them that you’re grinning from cheek to cheek because of all the hard work and effort they’ve put in. 

Toast Them At A Work Do

If sending smiling selfies isn’t enough as employee rewards, toast them at a work event. Make it clear that you and the rest of the senior team really appreciate everything that they’ve done for the brand. 

Permission To Turn Off Work Phone And Email

Here’s a great way one of the employee rewards ideas to draw a line in the sand at the end of a challenging project: give your coworkers permission to turn off their devices for a week — or a designated amount of time — no matter what happens. 

Many workers will appreciate this kind of freedom. During projects, constant device pinging can make things stressful. Employees feel like they can never get a break. But when they have permission to sever contact with the office for a few days, a sense of peace suddenly comes over them. 

Leave Gifts On Their Desks

If you’re the sort of boss who also sees herself as a bit of a fairy godmother with employee rewards, then try leaving gifts on your employees’ desks and see how they respond. Include a little note saying thank you and explaining what the gift is for. 

Let Them Choose The Office Music

If you play music in your office, say thank you to your team members by letting them choose which tracks to play. Let them know that anything goes, even if you normally play lounge music.

Promote Them

If members of your team did really well on a project or hitting a deadline, you might want to say thank you by promoting them. Even if you can’t promote them (because a position isn’t available), bump up their salary or give them another perk as a token of your appreciation. 

Write Them A Personal Note

Writing personal notes by hand is rare these days — but that’s precisely what makes them stand out as employee rewards. 

Write a little letter to each individual employee expressing your gratitude and how they helped to complete a project. You’ll find that taking the time to do this improves morale and motivation, and encourages employees to stick around. Motivosity explains how to do this in more detail. 

Be There When They Need You

After a while, colleagues can feel burnt out and unmotivated. When this happens, it’s a good idea to step in and just be there for them. Simply lending a listening ear can be all that’s necessary to get them back on their feet again and working to the best of their abilities. 

Buy Them Ice Cream

It might sound like such a simple thing, but ice cream is one of those things that invariably brings happiness. It’s also a symbol of celebration, making it a great option as employee rewards for when you reach the end of a project. 

Buy Coffee And Pastries

Buying your team coffee and pastries is another great one of the employee rewards ideas to show your appreciation for the people who work for you. It’s comforting for them, and something that you can easily order from a local coffee shop or bakery. 

Compliment Them In Their LinkedIn Profiles

As an employer, you can beef up your team’s future employment prospects by simply saying something kind about them on their LinkedIn profiles. Think of it as being the equivalent of a customer leaving a five-star review of a business on Google. 

Let High-Performers Work Remotely

It’s no secret that, since the pandemic, the majority of workers want to work from home. They’re exhausted by long commutes, endless office meetings, and drab working environments. 

Instead of insisting that everyone comes into the office, allow your best team members to work from home for a few days of the week. Make it clear that this perk will be available to more people, based on their performance. 

Be A Hard Worker Yourself

Effective teams almost always have leaders who are willing to work just as hard as the people on the ground in pursuit of a goal. By setting an example, they encourage others to do the same, step up to the plate, and get the job done. 

As a leader, saying thank you could mean being the first person in the office in the morning, or the last one there at night. It could also involve working behind the scenes to remove roadblocks to employee progress, allowing them to do their jobs more effectively. 

Give High-Performers Shout-Outs On Social Media

It’s simple and free, but it can also be highly effective as employee rewards. When you publicly praise members of your team, it gratifies them and also helps them to feel proud about the work they do for the company. 

Invest In New Tools

Many employees actually like their jobs. What they dislike are all the irritations that come with them. 

That’s why many team leaders invest in new tools as a way of saying thanks. These help to reduce frustration while, at the same time, improving morale and making workers more productive. 

Do Small Favors For Your Team Whenever You Can

Say things like, “I’m going to the coffee shop, do you need anything?” Or “I’m picking up groceries, can I get anything for you?” Little things like this make all the difference. It reminds your team that you serve them, and not the other way around. 

Let Frazzled People Nap

Staying awake all day is a challenge for many employees, particularly those who’ve been burning the candle at both ends to meet a deadline. Say thank you by offering to take up some of the slack. Offer to complete a task while an employee takes a nap. 

Increase The Salaries Of Those Who Earned It

Not all workers deserve higher salaries, but many do, particularly those who got results. Say thank you by adding to their monthly income, even if their annual review is still several months away. 

Hand Out Homemade Cookies

When workers are right in the middle of completing a stressful project, they need all the support they can get. Sometimes, the best option is to hand out homemade cookies. These are sometimes enough to get them through the day. 

Open Up More

Getting personal with coworkers can also be a great way to thank them for all their hard work. Talking to them about their problems, aspirations and how they found the project may provide them with the breathing space they need to feel free. 

Gather Feedback On What You Can Do Better

Lastly, you might want to give workers the opportunity to leave feedback on your performance. Gather information about what you can do better in the future and put their recommendations into practice. 

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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