Employee recognition and rewards should be personalized

Unemployment rates are constantly shifting, recruiting competition is high, hybrid work is increasing, and turnover is expensive. It’s now more important than ever to ensure you’re doing your best to retain employees. 

To ensure employee retention, companies can evaluate and refine existing employee incentives and rewards, and identify areas for improvement that align with the evolving needs and expectations of their workforce.

Whether it’s collecting important employee feedback, prioritizing wellness in the workplace, or supporting employee advocacy and referrals, there are many ways to engage with in-person and remote employees to show them you care. Choosing rewards your employees will love can be one of the simplest solutions. 

Any type of reward can be well received and welcomed by employees. However, rewards should be personalized to employees’ preferences. Read on to see common employee recognition and rewards programs companies all over the globe use.

Company swag

Traditional t-shirts, mugs, sunglasses and other items can be branded with your company logo and given to employees as a reward or sign of appreciation. However, this type of reward requires space for physical inventory and an individual in charge of managing the inventory. Company swag can also become costly when ordering items that come with minimum order requirements and high shipping costs.

Vacation Time

If you want to boost employee loyalty at your company, try offering employees more vacation time. It can sound counterproductive at first, but giving extra vacation time to employees can be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve retention and motivate staff. A recent Gallup survey reported that 21% of workers attributed their low company engagement to work-life balance, work schedules, and overall well-being. More time off can help employees manage their work-life balance and mental health, while increasing employee engagement.

Reward your employees with bonus vacation days for higher-value accomplishments, like surpassing a quarterly goal or going above and beyond their daily responsibilities.

VIP experiences

Offering VIP experiences as part of an employee recognition and rewards program can provide employees exclusive opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise. Incentives such as a concert ticket, virtual wine tasting, or a free MasterClass provide a memorable way to engage and retain employees. In fact, 65% of employees actually prefer non-cash incentives like experiences. With experiential rewards, employers have an opportunity to leave a lasting impression by offering employees something they truly want. 

While not every employee recognition program may accommodate VIP experiences within its budget, there are still creative ways to make employees feel exceptionally valued. Here’s three ways you can give your employees a VIP experience without breaking the bank:

  • Giving an Airbnb gift card: If you know a team member is planning a special trip soon, giving them a gift card to make sure it’s extra special can go a long way in keeping them engaged and motivated at work.
  • Sending lunch on birthdays: This is especially great for keeping remote employees engaged. Make sure to include a cake or invite the whole team to a virtual birthday lunch to celebrate their special day even more.
  • Bringing a guest speaker into the office: Invite an industry expert or someone else your team really admires into the office. For hybrid and onsite employees, this can boost employee engagement and encourage team bonding. 

For reward programs operating on a limited budget or with scarce resources, these VIP experiences prove invaluable in crafting special memories for deserving employees.

Digital gift cards

Digital gift cards are one of the most desired employee recognition rewards. For employers, digital gift cards keep costs low with no shipping costs and they save money on space since there’s no need to store them. They can also be delivered instantly via customizable emails with personalized messaging, and offer a wide variety of choices employees love. According to Great Place to Work, 37% of people say they prefer to be recognized with more personalized rewards too.

Giving employees the option to pick their own rewards allows them to treat themselves—or even their loved ones—to a special experience, purchase, or nonprofit donation they’ll remember. Employers can send their teams rewards via Reward Links that include hundreds of options, taking the guesswork out of needing to know what their employees want. Reward Links have no expiration dates, and can be forwarded to loved ones to share their appreciation.

Make sure to use a rewards platform with a catalog of digital gift card options. Offering a variety of rewards can help drive results for hybrid and remote employee recognition initiatives. 

Want to learn more about how digital rewards simplify and improve employee engagement and retention? Book a free demo with our team.

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