Fun Employee Reward Ideas

There is a myth out there that money is the best way to reward employees. But that’s not the case.

"Research shows that money does not constitute a strong, ongoing reward in and of itself. It is like having a nice office; it can give a temporary boost in morale and energy. The key roles for money and nice offices are that they can stop people from feeling worse," says Carter McNamara in How to Reward Employee Performance.  

Here are a few fun reward ideas you might consider when one or more of your team has done an exemplary job.

Thank you
Don’t overlook a heartfelt thank you. But don’t stop there. How about a standing ovation from the entire office, with superiors in attendance?

Motivated people like to learn new things. An ideal reward can be special training, which can come in a variety of forms: a mentorship, a company class, or a course of their choice either at a school or online.

Time Off
Your highly motivated individuals can get burned out. Try giving them a four-day week.  Or, maybe a twist on that . . . how about letting them come in late to work for a week?

Parking Spot
Your high performers might appreciate a prime parking spot for a month.

Redeem Prizes
Some companies allow employees earn points for great performance. These points can be redeemed for a whole a whole host of things. The list is limited only by your imagination. For example, you could offer:

• working from home for the day
• lattes for a week
• a donation to a charity of their choice
• a car wash
• lunch or breakfast delivered straight to your desk

You value your employees and the hard work they put in. Let them know it. Find ways to recognize their achievements every step of the way. 

Diane Mettler has been a manager for nearly 20 years. She's also a freelance writer and editor—with hundreds of her articles published in a variety of magazines—and teaches writing at the University of Washington.