Best rewards program ideas for remote employee engagement

Recognizing and rewarding remote employees is a great way to improve workplace culture, boost employee morale, and increase retention rates. By incorporating rewarding initiatives into your virtual workspace, you can enhance workplace culture, increase employee morale, and strengthen retention rates. Let’s dive into some innovative and practical ideas designed to help you recognize and appreciate your remote employees.

These rewards program ideas are easy to implement and can be tailored to suit the preferences and interests of your remote team members. Whether it's virtual recognition ceremonies, personalized gift vouchers, or flexible work hours, finding creative ways to acknowledge and appreciate your remote employees fosters a sense of belonging and motivation. 

Let's explore the best rewards program ideas tailored to maximize retention and satisfaction for remote employee engagement.

Offer public recognition

Having company leaders publicly thank employees in front of their peers is an impactful way to show appreciation. Consider creative ways to acknowledge accomplishments such as spotlighting employees in a monthly newsletter, featuring them during a company meeting, and supporting peer-to-peer feedback loops.

Host and reimburse virtual lunches and coffee chats

Enhancing engagement for your remote team involves thoughtful initiatives. One simple, but effective initiative is to offer gift cards or reimbursements for food and lunch expenses, coupled with a no-stress, virtual meeting. 

You can also encourage peer-to-peer coffee break programs by setting up two team members from different departments for a quick 30-minute chat. Make sure to give your team members tea or coffee gift cards before they meet. 

Pro tip: Invite different members of different teams to mingle during virtual lunches. Make sure to have some icebreaker activities ready to enable everyone to get to know each other quickly. 

Host company-wide contests

Company-wide contests are a great way to bring teams together, especially when they’re all in good fun. Not only do they bring a fun, competitive spirit into remote workplaces, but they also help engage employees and inspire collaboration between coworkers. 

Here are some examples of company-wide contests you can host for remote employee engagement:

  • Trivia games: Organize a company-sponsored trivia game that challenges employees with questions on company policy, values, and other fun facts. This engaging activity can help strengthen company culture, offering a fun way to remind everyone of the core principles and ethos that define your company.
  • Sales poker: In this contest, reaching sales goals allows participants to draw a random card from a standard 52-card deck. As employees collect a "hand" resembling two cards for a Texas Hold 'em-style poker game, they can engage in a friendly match against the "house." The business maintains a set of five distinct cards that contribute to the house hand. Upon accomplishing their sales targets, employees can test their luck by playing their cards against the house, adding excitement to the reward program.
  • Customer service competition: Engage remote employees in customer service roles with a contest centered around gaining the most customer reviews. Fostering healthy competition, this initiative can also increase customer satisfaction. Provide feedback cards or emails to customers, urging them to share their experiences, and motivate employees to deliver exceptional customer service to enhance their chances in the contest.

Enact wellness rewards

Another remote employee rewards program idea is to offer incentives when employees meet health and wellness goals. 

Encouraging employees to get active with company-wide fitness classes or a fitness competition can lead to happier, healthier employees and result in a boost in productivity. A recent report shows that at least 50% of companies with at least 50 employees offered some kind of wellness program to their employees and 90% of companies with over 50,000 employees offered wellness programs. Regardless of company size or specifics of their program, wellness program participation rates were estimated to be about 40%. 

Here’s some ways to incentivize health and wellness goals:

  • Host an in-person or virtual workout class and find ways to reward employees for participating, such as rewarding the first five employees who showed up with a gift card.
  • Have employees download an app to track their steps and earn points for doing health and wellness-related activities such as meditating, running, and cycling. Have a set start and end date for the competition and reward the top three employees who earn the most points with gift cards to purchase fitness apparel.

Arrange a meal delivery

After completing a challenging project, your employees will appreciate having a night off from cooking. Reward your employees with a gift card to a meal delivery service suitable for every taste and diet. This thoughtful gesture acknowledges their hard work and provides them with a convenient and enjoyable way to unwind over a well-deserved break.

Encourage upward mobility and mentorships

Reward and help great employees develop new skills at the same time by providing them with opportunities to shadow someone in another department. Mentorships allow senior department heads to connect with employees who have the potential of earning upward mobility within the organization. This can take any form, from shadowing a manager for the day to a structured program for a set period.

Offer a work-from-home office stipend

Work-from-home stipends may seem like a burden on budgets, but offering this reward is a great way to make your organization's work environment stand out among other remote companies.

These stipends come in many shapes and sizes. Some companies offer employees a lump sum they can spend at their discretion while others cover specific home office setup items, like internet and cell phone services, office equipment, or productivity apps. If you’re looking for an easy way to ensure employees can get what they desire in their home office, you can give them gift cards to Amazon, Best Buy, Office Depot, or Staples.

Pay rewards forward

Reward employees and show you care by helping them support a cause that’s important to them. Adding donation options to your employee reward program is also an easy way for your employee rewards to contribute to an even greater good.

Create the program, Tango does the rest

Rewarding remote employees doesn't have to be complex or costly. The key to successful rewards programs lies in understanding what your employees want and giving them choices. Take the time to learn about your employees' preferences and values, tailoring the rewards to make them truly meaningful. 

Tango can help you reward and engage your employees, including options such as bulk gifts for employees. Tango’s catalog of rewards gives employees a variety of options to choose from, while fueling stronger relationships with people and better results for business—all in a single platform.

Want to learn more about increasing remote employee engagement? Book a free demo with Tango today.

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