10 Creative Ways to Reward Your Employees

When companies think of rewarding employees, they immediately think of monetary awards like bonuses and merits. The reality is that not all companies have the budget to consistently reward employees with money and more often than not, companies overlook non-monetary and creative solutions.

In a survey done by Gallup, it was found that employees who were recognized and appreciated were more likely to stay in a job for the long term, their productivity and efficiency increased, and they had a better outlook on their work life.


“The larger the monetary reward, the poorer the performance. Money doesn’t motivate us, at all. Instead, emotions do.” – Dan Pink


It’s safe to say the emotions do play an essential role in what drives our motivations. Intrinsic motivation has been proven to have a stronger impact on job performance, more so than extrinsic motivation. Employees who focus on their salaries lose motivation quickly, stop learning new skills, and engage less because their sole motivator was money. Positive feedback triggers positive emotions which sparks creativity, while negative feedback does the exact opposite.

There are so many creative ideas to reward your employees and motivate them that can be done on a consistent basis — these ideas do not require big budgets, just a little time and thought.

Below are 10 creative ways to reward your employees without breaking the bank.


Acknowledge their good performance

Call an employee into your office to just say “job well done.” Acknowledge great efforts even if they didn’t succeed. When you reward effort, you encourage risk-taking.


Use your words

Send out handwritten personal notes to employees who deserve acknowledgment. Touch someone’s heart and make it meaningful.


Take them out to lunch

It gives employees a chance to connect on a personal level and also discuss issues or make suggestions — something they might not get to do otherwise. Also, take this time to get to know more about what your employee’s interests and hobbies are beyond their work lives.


Praise them

Proudly publicize when employees do something great so everyone can share in their accomplishments.


Let employees leave early after a big accomplishment or task

Spontaneous late arrival or early departure days are always a motivator. For example, send a quick email that says, “It’s a beautiful afternoon. Go enjoy it.”


Reward them with an extra vacation day

When everyone’s working hard, one of the nicest things you can do to show you care is to give them a day off.


Pay for them to take a fun class or personal growth experience

The only catch is they have to share what they learned with the team. Oh, and skydiving counts as a personal growth experience.


Buy them tickets to a concert, sporting event, or performance

Most ticket brokering companies offer an option to set up alerts based on artists and sports teams, but more importantly, location and venue. Set up an alert for your local venues and keep your eye open for fun events. Then, reward top performers with a pair of tickets.


Let them choose a day to work from home

Working remotely has been found to increase the productivity of some employees, so consider using it as a reward. The employee feels like he or she is receiving a special privilege and you get to see if it’s an arrangement that could benefit the company in the future.


Create Space

Set aside an unused office space with books, open areas, comfy chairs, and snacks so that employees can relax, meditate, take a nap, or do whatever they need to give them a break.

With small acts of recognition, you will find your workplace transformed. Employees will be more responsive, and the office culture will be positively impacted.