18 Thoughtful Ways To Reward Your Talented Employees in 2020

Giving employee rewards can be one of the most effective means of motivation. In fact, many believe it is essential for keeping them happy in their respective roles. In recent years, more businesses have begun to realize that rewarding employees is also key to their bottom line.

But one challenge for employers is finding ways to reward employees that feel genuine. Choosing rewards involves more than saying thank you, you want to create a reward program that will be authentic enough to show your sincere appreciation so they can actually feel it. Below are eighteen different ways you can give them a reward that touches them right in the heart.

1. The Bucket List Experience

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Rather than giving them a simple trophy that will one day be set aside and forgotten, consider giving them a special day designed to create pleasant memories. You can give them a day at the spa, concert tickets, or even surfing lessons.

2. Peer Recognition Programs

Workers are more likely to feel the reward is genuine when it comes to their peers. When your reward program allows other employees to nominate their peers for a job well done, it can be an especially sweet surprise. Offer a weekly or monthly program that does exactly that then reward them accordingly.

Make it easier to deliver such incentives and rewards by investing in an employee reward platform like Empuls.

3. Personal Note

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A handwritten note can be more powerful than a plaque. When you share your appreciation this way, it can relay a powerful message. The note can be presented on its own or it can be part of a larger gift. Either way, rather than taking the fast and easy way, write it out the old-fashioned way and you will win your employee over.

4. Public Recognition

Sometimes showing your appreciation publicly can carry a lot of weight. If you’re presenting an EDCO trophy or you’re just giving them positive words of encouragement, letting everyone around know how you feel can make a huge difference. Public announcements through an awards ceremony or on social media let everyone know that you value this employee.

5. Donate To Their Charity

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This reward works well if you have an employee who is truly passionate about a particular cause. Rather than giving them a gift directly, donate funds to their charity. This shows that you truly value them and recognize that this cause is important to them.

6. Give Them A Day Off-Site

When you want to recognize a large group of people, close the office for a day and take them all off-site. You can have a company picnic, a trip to an amusement park, or just a trip to the movies. It’s amazing what a day away from work can do to renew their spirit.

7. Food

Food can do amazing things for one’s spirit. Stock the break room with a variety of healthy snacks and treats. Your employees will feel that you truly care for them and the extra nourishment will help them to be more productive throughout the day.

8. Rotating Rewards

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To make rewards a competitive event, try giving a rotating trophy or plaque. It could be a stuffed toy or a figurine. Give it to one employee one week in recognition of his service. The next week, they must give it to the next best worker.

9. Tickets To Special Events

If your employee likes sports, concerts, theatre, or some other special event. Give them tickets to the event so they can attend. This gift can be especially valuable if the event is not something that happens often in your town.

10. Have A Recognition Day

Organize a special awards day. Rather than a simple thank you, make a full day of it complete with food, activities, and awards for all types of contributions.

11. Paid Personal Time Off

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Give them extra pay for personal time off. They can add this bonus money to their vacation time or use it to cover an extra few days of personal time when they need it.

12. Daily Rewards

You can also give daily rewards. If one employee surpasses all the others in sales, efficiency, marketing, or some other field in the office, post the news for all the employees to see. This kind of public recognition can really motivate many employees to dedicate more energy to their jobs.

13. Dinner On Your Dime


Take them out to dinner. Nobody will turn down food, especially if it’s at an upper class establishment. It can be a real treat to spend an evening with the boss and have a real heart-to-heart discussion over great food.

14. Loosen The Reigns

Give them more autonomy at work. You could allow them to choose their own project and game plan to work on. This lets them know that you have confidence in their ability to follow through and the new experience can double as a form of professional development.

15. Year-End Rewards Party

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At the end of the year, throw a great end-of-the-year party for all employees and issue awards for all sorts of categories. Make sure some of the awards are peer nominated so that there’s a balance.

16. Create A Wall Of Fame

For each recipient, take a photo of their accomplishments and put them on display. You can create a collage of all recognized employees and hang them on a single wall or line a hallway for everyone to see.

17. An Appreciation Video

Create a personal video expressing your appreciation for their contribution to the success of your business. Even if you’re not skilled at videography, there are many companies that can do it all for you. The video can be a gift that they will cherish for many years.

18. Pay For Their Commute

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Transportation costs can be expensive for the employee that has to commute long distances. Consider helping them by covering the costs of their commute to work. You can give it as a gift card for the gas or by paying for their public transportation. You could even offer to give them your parking space for a period of time.

There are countless ideas you can use to implement a rewards program that can show just how much you appreciate your workers. Try these or maybe come up with a few of your own with the help of an incentive consulting services company. Not only will they touch them in a powerful way, but the results can also do wonders for your bottom line.

Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the foreignspolicyi.org started.