Best Rewards Program Ideas for Incentivizing Employees

Engaging your employees is critical during this time of record quit rates, also known as “The Great Resignation.” Much of this employee churn is due to poor work environments. A recent Gallup poll found just 36% of U.S. workers feel actively engaged, so this is an area that needs attention.

Recognizing and rewarding your employees is a great way to improve workplace culture, boost employee morale, and increase productivity. In this article, we explore the best rewards program ideas to incentivize your employees.

Rewards Program Ideas Your Employees Will Value

These rewards program ideas are simple to implement and can be leveraged to encourage employee engagement, boost productivity, and increase morale.

Offer Public Recognition

Having company leaders publicly thank employees in front of their peers is a simple way to show appreciation. Consider creative ways to acknowledge accomplishments such as spotlighting employees in a monthly newsletter or other company-wide communication methods.

Consider Catered/Reimbursed Lunch

For in-office staff, a catered lunch will encourage everyone to take their lunch break together. For remote staff, offer gift cards or reimbursements for money spent on lunch and schedule a casual virtual meeting. Tip: Have icebreakers ready because the silence of muted microphones can be awkward.

Implement Dress Down/Themed Attire Days

If you have a dress code, especially one that requires suits and ties, reward your high-performing teams with a chance to be comfortable and casual. Employees may be more productive when they are dressed more comfortably too.

For remote teams, consider having everyone wear a cool hat or their favorite sports team apparel. Make sure to communicate ahead of time what dressing down exactly means so employees know what’s expected.

Enact Wellness Rewards

Another 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 also result in a boost in productivity. A 2017 study out of the University of California, Riverside found that employees who participated in corporate wellness programs increased their productivity by at least 5% on average, an equivalent of an entire day added each month.

Here are 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, for example.

Arrange for a Home Meal Delivery

After completing a challenging project, your employees will appreciate having a night off from cooking. Reward your employees with a meal delivery service suitable for every taste and diet by using Uber Eats, Grubhub, or DoorDash gift cards as rewards.

Arrange Mentorships

Reward and develop great employees simultaneously by providing them with opportunities to learn a new skill or shadow someone in another department. Mentorships also allow your senior department heads to connect with employees who have the potential of rising through the ranks. These can take any form, from shadowing a manager for the day to a structured program for a set period.

Offer Additional Office Supplies

If you have student employees or employees who take continuing education courses, offer additional office supplies to stock their cabinets. A gift card to an office supply store is the perfect way to let them choose exactly what they need. If your employees work from home, consider something special for their offices, like a plant or standing desk.

Serve the Community with a Donation

You can support a cause that’s important to your team by picking a few well-established charities that serve different segments of your employees’ community. Create a contest and allow the winner to choose a charity for a donation you make on their behalf. The contest can be scaled from individual challenges to bigger events with ambitious goals and themes.

You Create the Program, Rewards Genius Does the Rest

As you can see, rewards program ideas don’t have to be unwieldy or expensive. The key to success with rewards programs is to learn about the people who work for you. Find out what your employees value and personalize the reward to make it meaningful. Your employees play an essential part in serving your customers, so it makes sense to understand them just as much, if not more.

Rewards Genius can help because it’s a tool that manages incentives by allowing you to order, email, and track gift cards in one easy place.

If you’d like to see how Rewards Genius can help you reward and incentivize your employees, including options such as bulk gifts for employees, email One of our representatives can show you how easy it is to use Rewards Genius by Tango Card to engage your employees and boost productivity.

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