Rewarding your employees for their work is a great way to make them feel valued and help maintain staff morale. Recognising employees’ performance keeps them motivated and satisfied, improves staff retention and makes for a positive workplace.

One of the best ways you can recognise your employees’ hard work is by providing them with a non-monetary reward or gift when they have made exceptional efforts to complete a task or consistently perform well. The material tokens that represent such rewards need not be expensive; they not valued for their monetary value but because they show your gratitude for their efforts. In one employee satisfaction survey, for example, almost half of respondents said that they considered receiving these types of rewards as an important recognition of their value to a company.

With this in mind, the following are some examples of rewards you can give to your employees to recognise their work efforts.

Time Off Work

With the pace of life these days, time is sometimes more valuable than money. Reward employees who have made a special effort in their work with a day off that does not count toward their holiday time. This could be in the form of a ‘Day Off’ or ‘Time Off’ pass that they can use whenever they want. Another way to approach this is to provide more flexible work hours; whether this involves the number of hours worked, when they are worked or where the work is done. Aside from the times when they must be in the office, this type of reward demonstrates your trust and that you care about your employee’s well-being.

Coupons and Gift Cards

Coupons and gift cards that reward employees’ work efforts can be a more personal way of thanking them by recognising their outside interests or hobbies. These could, for example, be given for book and magazine subscriptions, concert tickets, gift cards at stores that sell specialist items, having a cleaning service clean their house, pay for part of their college tuition or for a class in a subject that they are interested in, and so on. The important thing is to make it related to the recipient so that they feel seen and personally recognised.

Awards Ceremony

Sometimes just being recognised for their efforts means more to an employee than any material item could. Consider having a periodic awards ceremony where employees’ efforts are recognised in front of their teams or the whole company. Create certificates or trophies that employees can keep as a memento of their achievement. You could also include some humorous or unusual award categories to reflect the less tangible, but still important, contributions that some employees make to a successful work environment. This could include employees who juggle multiple projects and tasks without complaint, that are always ready to help out or those that foster a positive environment in the office by making everyone laugh. Remember that excellence in a work environment comes from many factors.

Fruit Hamper

A luxury fruit hamper consisting of an assortment of fruits is a great way to recognise your employees’ efforts. Practically everyone eats fruit so it does not exclude employees who may have special dietary needs and is a gift that everyone can enjoy. To make your hamper special consider featuring exotic or unusual fruits that they might not have tried before. You can present it in the office or send a fresh fruit hamper to an employee’s home for convenience.

Allow an Employee to Make Work Decisions

This reward is somewhat unusual and might not apply to all workplaces. It involves allowing an employee to drop a project that is causing them stress (or that they no longer want to work on) or to ‘fire’ a client that they find particularly difficult to work with. This may be much more valuable to some employees than any reward or gift could be because it allows them to change the negative aspects of their work (perhaps very rarely). While this needs to be handled carefully and will not apply to all workplaces, it can be a great way of showing just how valued and appreciated an employee is by allowing them to resolve what is most troubling them in their work.

Hand Written Appreciation Note

Sometimes a personal note from a manager or their supervisor that recognises and thanks an employee for the special efforts that they have made can mean more than any money or gifts ever could. Many employees want nothing more than to have their efforts recognised and to be appreciated; by taking the time to do this you can give the best reward that an employee could receive and it will cost you nothing.