Beyond standard compensation and benefits, employee rewards help make you an employer of choice. These can often be little demonstrations of appreciation that have a big impact. Cash is nice, but it’s impersonal and wont’ boost morale as well as more thoughtful recognition will. When considering rewards for your staff, make sure your award criteria are objective to avoid feelings of favoritism and a decrease in morale.


Not that your employees don’t love working for you, but everyone appreciates a day off work. If it won’t affect your workflow, use paid time off as a way to reward workers who perform well. Some companies give their employees their birthdays off, while others use a free day as an incentive to meet a goal. Consider letting employees off at noon on Friday for an early start to the weekend if they hit an office goal. Note in any paperwork that goes with the time off that the employee must use the free day and may not turn it in for commensurate pay.

Gift Cards

With multi-generational workforces an increasing norm, it’s a good idea to let your workers choose their own rewards with a gift card. Yes, you could give cash, but a gift card shows that you gave the reward more thought. It can also require the employee to make a purchase that makes her think of you every time she uses it. Purchase gift cards from retailers with a wide selection of goods or services to increase the chance whoever gets the card will enjoy using it. If you know which employee will get a card, find out if he’s into sports, electronics, fitness or has another hobby, and choose a card to a more specific retailer.


If your employees park off site, in a large parking lot or have to pay for parking, use a prime parking spot as a reward for performance. Designate the spot with an “employee-of-the-month” sign if you own your property. If your workers use a paid parking lot, give the winner a month’s parking pass, instead of a cash reimbursement. This will remind her every day she’s parking free, thanks to you.

Group Activities

To offer a group reward that motivates improved performance and builds camaraderie, take employees to a group lunch, have food brought in, go to a football or baseball game or poll your staff about which group activity they want to attend. Your budget will dictate what you can afford, but try to choose an activity that promotes personal interaction among your employees.