You know that employee rewards are crucial to your business’ well-being – but did you know just how easy it is to deliver those rewards? Read on for 30 ways to be an office hero!

A SHRM / GLOBOFORCE Employee Recognition Survey found that employee rewards are an increasingly important aspect of recognition and are crucial to your bottom line.

Praise Is One of Many Excellent Employee Rewards

Photo via NewsUSAcontent

“Recognition programs are on the rise, and with plenty of good reasons. As human capital becomes the foremost challenge for companies worldwide, employee engagement is mission critical for an increasing number of organizations.”

The survey of 803 HR professionals assessed the relationship between recognition, engagement, rewards, employee performance and other key human capital factors. The key findings include:

  • Employee engagement is the most important HR challenge facing organizations.
  • Employees are more motivated and perform better when rewarded through praise and prize.

Harvard Business Review “Harvard Management Update” also interviewed best-selling author and employee motivation expert Bob Nelson, who has worked with companies such as FedEx, Time Warner, and IBM. He’s coauthor of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees and president of San Diego-based Nelson Motivation.

When asked about the importance of informal, manager-initiated recognition, he responded:

“It’s important because recognition is about feeling special, and more times than not, it’s hard to feel special from a corporate program where everyone gets the same thing, like a five-year pin. To be effective, recognition needs to come from those we hold in high esteem, such as one’s manager.”

Timing counts!

“The sooner you acknowledge employees’ performance, the clearer they get the message, the more likely they are to repeat the desired performance.”

Nelson says recognition is most powerful when it’s contingent upon desired behavior and performance. Employees value these rewards more and the results are better.

30 Easy Employee Rewards

In “101 Ways to Celebrate People,” Johns Hopkins University posted 101 ideas to help you embed employee recognition into your everyday work. We picked our top 30 easy, affordable employee rewards:

  1. Create a “Hall of Fame” wall with photos of outstanding employees.  
  2. Arrange for a team to present the results of its efforts to upper management. 
  3. Plan a surprise picnic.  
  4. Answer your assistant’s telephone for a day.  
  5. Post a thank-you note on an employee’s door.  
  6. Wash an employee’s car in the parking lot during lunch hour.  
  7. Create and post an “Employee Honor Roll” in your reception area.  
  8. Acknowledge individual achievements by using employees’ names in a status report.
  9. Make a photo collage about a successful project that shows the people that worked on it, its stage of development, and its completion and presentation.  
  10. Cover an employee’s desk with balloons.  
  11. Make and deliver a fruit basket.  
  12. Inscribe a favorite book as a gift.  
  13. Establish a place to display memos, posters, photos and so on, recognizing progress toward goals and thanking individual employees for their help.  
  14. Establish a “Behind the Scenes” award specifically for those whose actions are not usually in the limelight.  
  15. Set up a miniature golf course in your office using whatever materials you have on hand. Set aside an afternoon or evening to hold a mini golf tournament. Have each area design their own “hole” and give a prize.  
  16. Serve ice cream sundaes to all of your employees at the end of a project.  
  17. Once a year, have a “Staff Appreciation Day” where the managers supply, cook, and serve food.  
  18. Recognize employees who actively serve the community.  
  19. Give employees an extra long lunch break.  
  20. Create an “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty” (ABCD) Award.  
  21. Ask your boss to attend a meeting with your employees during which you thank individuals and groups for their specific contributions.  
  22. Pop in at the first meeting of a special project and express your appreciation for the team’s involvement.
  23. Provide a lunch for project teams once they have made interim findings. Express your appreciation.  
  24. Send a letter to all team members at the conclusion of a project, thanking them for their participation.  
  25. Start an employee recognition program. Give points for attendance, punctuality, teamwork, etc. Provide gift certificates to employees who reach certain point goals.  
  26. Write a letter of praise recognizing specific contributions and accomplishments. Send a copy to senior management and the employee’s personnel file.  
  27. If you have a department newsletter, publish a “kudos” column and ask for nominations throughout the department.
  28. Publicly recognize the positive impact on operations of the solutions employees devise for problems.
  29. Encourage employees to identify specific areas of interest in job‐related skills. Then arrange for them to spend a day with an in‐house “expert” to learn more about the topic.
  30. At an employee meeting, randomly tape gift certificates to the bottoms of chairs.

Remember: frequent, timely rewards for behavior that boosts business goals is a great way to perpetuate desired behaviors.

For comprehensive how-to information on workplace rewards and building a vibrant culture of recognition, download our FREE eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving” now.

Download our FREE eBook, "The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving"

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
gThankYou, LLC ( is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at or 888-484-1658.
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Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Recipient and Giver names (optional) and give them to employees.

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