Recognizing and rewarding employees is one of the great joys of business. When an employee works hard and hits their goals, they deserve to be praised for their achievements, and sometimes its fun to attach an award or bonus to that praise. We’ve developed this list of X rewards you can gift the high performers in your organization to say thank you for what they’re doing to grow the business.
1. Employee of the Month
Some form of this type of recognition has been around for ages, and it continues today because it works. Employees love to be recognized for hard work and outstanding performance, and recognizing a new employee each month keeps people on their toes.
At Eddy, we’ve adopted a form of this, that we call the “Eddy Award.” Issued on a quarterly basis, the Eddy Award goes to an employee who exemplifies our core values, makes a significant impact in our company, and who works hard to lift those around them.
2. Featured on the Website
No, you don’t (and you probably shouldn’t) put a big picture of an employee who you’re trying to reward on the very front page of your website. But in an, “About Us” section, or in a blog post, rewarding an employee by featuring them on your public site is an awesome way to show you care. They’ll be able to share this with friends and family, who will then be able to join the company in praise for the employee’s good work.
3. Birthday PTO
Let’s face it, no one really wants to work on their birthday. Birthdays are days of celebration and are best passed among family and friends. A really simple, affordable way to celebrate your employees and recognize their hard work is to treat their birthday as a company holiday! Give them the day off. Let them go have fun. Pay them while they’re away. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way.
4. Special Parking Privileges
This is more of a perk for bigger companies where some employees are forced to park far from the entrance, but it can definitely be an option for smaller companies as well. It’s not just that the employee gets to park in a spot right next to the front door, but it’s the fact that the spot is reserved for VIPs. By providing a special parking place, the employee will likely feel a hint of pride and have a smile on their face when they pull up to the office.
5. Access to a Company Car
There are some tech companies who have really upped the ante when trying to reward their highest performing employees. We’ve seen them go as far as buying company Tesla’s and allowing their top performers to drive them for a month at a time. Now, your company might not have the cash to purchase expensive vehicles like that, but you may have a fleet of company vehicles that you could share with employees. This makes a great gift, especially when the company is covering the cost of gas during the time the employee has access to the vehicle.
6. Company Swag
Everyone loves swag! If your company produces apparel that employee’s love, then feel free to reward them with more of it when they hit their goals. You might even have certain items in your swag collection that can only be “unlocked” when an employee hits a milestone. These exclusive items will surely become a coveted badge of honor that all your employees will work towards.
Nothing says accomplishment like a big trophy! At Eddy, we’ve even created a custom trophy that incorporates some of our brand attributes and core values. We give the trophy to the winner of our quarterly Eddy Award who proudly displays it on their desk until the next recipient is bestowed the honor. We also have a surfboard in the office that Eddy Award winners get to sign. People love recognition, and a trophy that an employee gets to display on their desk is a great way to give it to them.
8. Dinner with the CEO
For most employees, opportunities to interact with the CEO are extremely rare, and may even be non-existent depending on the size of your organization. Yet everyone in the company knows who the CEO is, and would likely enjoy getting to know him/her. Rewarding a high achieving employee with the chance to attend a private dinner with the CEO is an exciting way to show you much you value that employee’s work. They’ll be able to hear from the CEO directly how much they’re appreciated by the company, and they’ll have the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas of how the company may improve.
9. Thank You Video
This is an idea that costs absolutely nothing but will leave a huge impact on the employee. Get an employee’s manager, director, or even the CEO to record a short video of themselves thanking the employee for their hard work and recognizing their achievements. It’ll be even more impactful if you can have multiple people do this and combine all the clips into a single video. Any employee will love to hear praise and gratitude from upper management, and they’ll be able to hold onto that video forever.
10. Surprise Package Sent to their Home Address
It’s exciting to get rewarded at work in front of peers and co-workers, but it’s oftentimes even more fun to be surprised by something at home. Imagine your employee getting back to their home after a long day at the office and seeing a big package addressed to them waiting on their doorstep. Like any of us would be, they’ll be excited to bring that thing inside and tear it open. Fill it with some of their favorite treats, possibly a few written notes from co-workers or executives, and maybe even some gift cards to local restaurants. Nothing beats a good surprise delivered to your door.
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11. Invitation to Company Offsite
In some company’s it’s called the “President’s Club” and in others, it’s called a “High Achievers Retreat.” Whatever you want to call it, there’s an opportunity to take all your highest performing employees on an adventure outside the office each year and reward them for their great work. Some companies will really invest in these trips and reward employees with trips to exotic destinations like Hawaii. Others will plan more modest but equally fun trips to local destinations where employees can get away from work and enjoy the great outdoors. Whatever you come up with, make sure you emphasize your gratitude and recognition for the hard work the chosen employees have demonstrated throughout the year.
12. Meal Delivery Subscription
For working professionals, taking the time to prepare a healthy meal can be an enormous challenge. Dinner preparations don’t only take time, but they can be expensive. A great way to reward an employee for outstanding work is to cover their meals for a month or two. This is made easy through meal delivery services like Blue Apron or HelloFresh. Just sign them up for a subscription, and they’ll have three or four meals sent to their doorstep every week.
13. Subscription to a Box of the Month Club
Another fun thing you can do to reward and recognize top performers in your organization is to identify a unique subscription box that fits their particular interests. The possibilities here are nearly endless, and you’ll certainly be able to find something that any employee will love. There are boxes for sports fanatics, fashion lovers, gaming enthusiasts, workout warriors, makeup artists, and so much more.
14. A Year-Long Subscription to Spotify/Apple Music
Spotify and Apple Music are the two most popular music streaming services on earth. It’s likely that many of your employees are listening to these services already, but not all of them will have paid subscriptions. Even the ones that do would love for the company to foot the bill. A reward like this is practical and meaningful as these services are part of many employees’ daily routines.
15. A Year-Long Subscription to Netflix/Disney+/Hulu
The top streaming services continue to put out great content but are also increasing their prices and becoming more expensive. We wouldn’t doubt that many of your employees have existing subscriptions to at least one of these services, but they might have one or two others that they wish they could be subscribed to. Offering a year-long subscription to the service of their choice will provide your employees with hours of entertainment and a great way to unwind after work.
16. A Year-Long Subscription to Audible
Audible is the world leader in audiobooks. If you are looking for a way to not only recognizing outstanding achievement but also continue to encourage your employees to learn and grow, this is a great gift to consider. Audible subscriptions come with free credit each month that the employee can use to purchase the audiobook of their choice. So by gifting a 12-month subscription, you’re essentially giving that employee the opportunity to listen to 12 books, plus any others they decide to purchase along the way.
17. Office Plant
Bring that zen garden feel to the office by gifting plants to your employees. Small succulents or other low-light plants are easy to care for and instantly add a nice splash of color to the office. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you could even shoot for something bigger like a bamboo tree. Or, if you’re just looking for a splash of color but don’t want the hassle of taking care of anything, a fake plant could also do the trick.
18. New Office Chair
Let’s face it, most office chairs just aren’t very good. There’s not enough back support, they’re too wide, and the armrests are never in the right place. A great reward for outstanding performance is an upgrade to a better chair. Find something your employees wouldn’t mind spending hours in because they’re so comfortable.
19. Standing Desk
Standing desks have become outrageously popular in the last few years, and it’s easy to see why. It comes as no surprise that sitting all day is actually detrimental to your health, and it’s important to be on your feet every hour. With a standing desk, an employee will continue to be able to work while also getting the benefit of stretching their legs and having their blood flow more easily throughout their body. These make an excellent gift!
20. Home Office Upgrades
COVID19 has forced much of the world’s workforce to work from home. Unfortunately, the vast majority of employees had never previously worked from home before the pandemic, and therefore, they weren’t properly equipped with a comfortable home-office setup. Now that it appears that work from home will not be going away anytime soon, companies can reward top performers with the option to improve their home office. Whether that means purchasing a new desk, chair, monitor, laptop stand, or anything else, your employees will be grateful for the improvements.
21. Free Car Washes
No one likes to drive a dirty car. But the only car washes that are reasonably affordable anymore are the ones where you have to scrub down your car yourself. Get your employees a couple of passes or even a membership to a local carwash so that they can get their vehicle cleaned regularly. This is a great gift because it might not be something that an employee would typically spend money on, but it’s something that immediately provides value.
22. House Cleaners
This is a great gift for anyone, but especially for employees with small children. We all know it’s hard enough to keep the house clean when you’re living in it alone, but by adding kids to the equation, it can be an enormous challenge. A great way to take this stress off an employee’s plate is to provide house cleaners to come and clean the place up. They might come once-a-week for a month, and your employee will be thrilled to have everything taken care of for them. House cleaning can seriously be a life-saver for families, so consider this when you’re thinking about how to recognize a high-performer!
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23. Uber/Lyft Credits
In big cities, many employees may not own cars and likely use ride-sharing services or public transportation to get to work every day. How great would it be if you could ease that burden by rewarding them with free rides? Uber and Lyft credits are easy to gift and are an extremely practical gift for high performers. They’re able to put this gift to work immediately and benefit from it every day.
24. $100 Gas Card
If your employees are driving their own cars to work, then you know that one of the biggest expenses, especially for long-distance commuters is gas money! Even with prices dropping in 2020, paying for gas to make the commute is still a burden. Rewarding employees with gas cards to fill up on the company’s dime is a great way to help them feel loved and appreciated.
25. Tickets to a sporting event/concert
Who doesn’t love tickets to see a live sporting event or performance from a favorite artist? If you’re lucky enough to be in an area that has a great concert venue or sports arena than free tickets to an event is a great way to go.
26. Tickets to a local theater/art show
Maybe your employees don’t love sports, or maybe there aren’t any intriguing concerts in your area. Don’t let this stop you from gifting your employees’ tickets. There are also local theater performances, art shows and exhibitions, and other attractions that are taking place in your area. If an employee has worked hard and loves the arts, this is the perfect way to show your appreciation.
27. Movie Passes
We’re all hoping that COVID19 won’t linger for too much longer and that movie theaters can reopen. Movie passes, especially when they include popcorn and soda, are a fun reward for any employee. Gift a few extra passes so they can bring family or friends. A night out at the movie theater may be exactly what they need to relax and recharge.
28. Build The Home Library
Similar to the Audible subscription mentioned earlier, you might be looking for something that’s both rewarding and provides an opportunity to learn. We’re certain that many of your employees have books on their list that they’d love to have on their shelves, but just haven’t been able to purchase. Helping an employee build their home library is a fantastic way to demonstrate your gratitude for their hard work. Allow an employee to pick one or multiple books of their choice.
29. Amazon Kindle
Amazon’s Kindle product opens up a world of possibilities for employees. They can choose from millions of book titles and have access to almost any work of literature in a matter of seconds. Plus Kindle ebooks are typically cheaper than physical books, so the device will save employees money on future purchases. Like many other gifts on this list, a Kindle is perfect for employees who refuse to ever stop learning. If you’ve got high achievers you need to reward, consider a Kindle.
30. Coursera Classes
The employees you’re looking to reward are likely awesome at what they do. After all, they’re the ones being rewarded for high performance! But if you ask them about their job, there are likely aspects of it that they feel inadequate in or would like to learn more about. If this is the case, then offering to pay for online classes that can take their skills to the next level is probably the best gift you can offer.
31. Financial Classes and Mentorship
There’s nothing more burdensome than the stress and anxiety that comes with debt. Unfortunately, many of your co-workers are likely making their way through life while carrying the enormous weight of student loans, car loans, credit card debt, mortgage payments, and more. Offering them an opportunity to learn how to manage their finances and better understand strategies for getting out of debt quickly can be life-changing. A fantastic way to reward your employees is by helping them find financial mentors or getting them enrolled in personal finance classes.
32. Attend a Conference
Many employees are looking to take their skills to the next level. It’s likely that there are conferences in their field where the best minds meet together to learn new skills and discuss new strategies. Paying for an employee to attend a conference (and even covering their flight and hotel stay if the conference is out of town) is an amazing way to reward high achieving employees. It not only shows that you’re willing to invest in them so that they can continue to contribute to the company, but it also shows that you care about them as an individual and you want them to reach their potential.
33. Gym Membership
Helping employees stay healthy should be a top priority for companies everywhere. For some, this starts by providing health insurance and access to health saving accounts. Of course, these are both reactive measures and will help an employee in case they fall ill. A proactive measure employers can take is to provide a gym membership. This will help incentivize employees to stay healthy and fit so that they have better overall outcomes. If your company cannot afford to pay for gym access for all its employees, maybe start by gifting it as a reward or bonus for high performers.
34. Fitness Reward
Another way to enhance the health and fitness of employees is to provide a reward that allows them to improve their experience while working out. This could be a new pair of running shoes, a yoga mat, an Apple Watch, or access to a personal trainer. Whatever you decide, a fitness reward that enhances the workout experience might just be the perfect way for you to recognize and show gratitude for the hard work of your employees.
35. Paid-paid vacation
Do you know what’s better than paid time off? Paid-paid time off. What does this mean? It’s when a company not only continues to pay an employee’s salary while they’re away, but when the company then pays for the employee’s vacation. This is basically a dream come true for employees everywhere and it makes for the perfect gift for your highest achievers. Let them choose their destination and accommodations, and let the company cover the bill.
36. Airbnb/Hotel Credits
Ok, so maybe your company cannot afford to offer a fully paid vacation to your employees. But what if you at least subsidized their experience so that they could afford to do more by spending less? A great way to do this is by offering credits to Airbnbs or hotels. The most expensive aspect of any trip is the living accommodations. Why not make this more affordable so that your employees have more money to spend on experiences while they’re away? Offering to pay for a night or two of a hotel stay is an amazing way to show that you care and love your employees.
37. Charitable Donation
Some employees are extremely passionate about certain causes. They’ll dedicate their nights and weekends to working on projects aimed at bettering society. If you know you have an employee who is involved in this kind of work, consider making a donation to their favorite charity on their behalf. This will not only make a positive impact on the world, but it’ll show that you’re willing to align the company with your employees’ values and that you care about them personally.
You know, sometimes there’s just nothing better than cold, hard cash. Giving a cash bonus to a high achieving employee is a great reward because they can do anything they want with it. There are no stipulations, there’s no attachment to certain stores or experiences, it’s just extra money in their bank account. Giving cash opens up a world of possibilities to an employee, from buying a new smartphone to starting a home renovation project. You know what they say, cash is king! And sometimes, it’s the very best kind of bonus you could ever receive.
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As you’re thinking about rewarding your high performing employees, we’d love to hear from you! What rewards did you choose? How were they received? We’re always looking to add to our list, so if you’ve got other rewards that have worked well in your company, let us know.
And remember, the most important thing, regardless of the reward or bonus you give is to recognize and appreciate the work your employees do. Praise them when they hit goals. Acknowledge the hard work and effort that goes into their projects. Their talents are what fuel your company. Make sure they are properly appreciated for it.