Employee Recognition Blog

Awards Network Blog

Think Outside the Box: Creative Ways to Reward Your Employees

Written by Meredith Landers

If you are struggling with how to begin your employee recognition program, you are probably thinking about how you can award your employees. What criteria should you award in order to fulfill your program objectives? Your objectives and awards should be S.M.A.R.T. – Sincere, Meaningful, Adaptable, Relevant and Timely. This will help keep employees engaged in the program and motivated to move toward achievement. See below for some creative ways to award employees beyond years of service, retirement and safety awards.


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Wellness Awards

Wellness awards are important to encourage on-going, healthy behaviors in your workforce. These are also important to your recognition program as they apply to all employees. There are no “winners” and “losers”; everyone can get involved and participate! Some wellness award ideas include:

  • Receiving Annual Flu Shot
  • Tobacco Cessation Program Completion
  • Walking / Mileage Club
  • Preventative Care Visit
  • Dental Cleaning
  • Participating in Organized Race
  • Selecting Primary Care Provider
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Excellence / Above and Beyond Awards

Have your employees demonstrated behaviors that go above and beyond what is expected of them in their normal job descriptions? They need to be recognized! Again, there should not be clear “winners” and “losers”; your staff is not a sports team competing in a contest. Remember to award performance, not people.  How can you structure awards for excellence?

  • Focus on immediate or on-the-spot recognition of great behaviors; awards should be timely.
  • Award specifically for a certain action; don’t be generic.
  • Keep an open mind about what excellence means; the employee working overtime to complete a project should get a pat on the back but so should the employee who helped clean up after the company picnic or made a great cost-savings suggestion.
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Employee Referrals

Most employers know the struggle of hiring a reliable, talented workforce. One way to make sure you have quality candidates is by incentivizing employee referrals from your own staff! Referral bonuses can be offered as cash, but non-cash awards options and programs that allow employees to choose their own awards are very effective. It can be simple to roll an employee referral program into your existing recognition program; view our incentive program options to see how easily data can be collected for your referrals!

 
 
Remember to base your award program goals and criteria off of what is important to your employees to keep them engaged. To help you decide what to incentivize, think about what metrics you measure employee performance by and if your employees are struggling with any areas. See this infographic for even more ideas on how to reward your employees!
 
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Originally published on June 22, 2018

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