What Are the Greatest Ways to Reward Employees?

A 2022 Gallup poll revealed that only 32% of employees feel engaged. Even worse, 17% of workers said they’re actively disengaged.

The problem is that disengaged employees usually lack motivation. Because of this, they rarely contribute to their organization’s goals and growth. They’re also less likely to perform well and produce positive results.

Disengaged employees also have the highest risk of quitting their jobs.

Fortunately, some of the best ways to reward employees can help them feel more engaged. A few don’t even cost money, but they can still brighten the day of your hardworking people. Others are low-cost yet thoughtful awards to show that you care for them.

So, what exactly are those strategies? Read on, as the guide below explains them all.

Appreciate Them in Public

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, appreciation and respect are basic human needs. This means that when they achieve something, they need their efforts recognized. When recognized, they feel good and appreciated, helping them build self-esteem.

People with good self-esteem, in turn, tend to be more confident. So to keep that confidence, they continue doing what made them feel that way in the first place. This is what you call positive reinforcement.

Employee recognition and positive reinforcement drive people to do even better at work. That often translates to excellent performance and higher productivity. Therefore, it also benefits employers.

While a private thank-you works, too, a public one has an extra perk: observational learning. This concept states that people can learn many behaviors and skills through observation.

For example, you, a manager, recognize an employee for contributing to a project. You also thank them sincerely in front of their peers. Their colleagues may then internalize the lesson and associate positive behavior with rewards.

That can then make the other employees want to have the same behavior. By simply observing the act of appreciation to others, they may also want to perform better at work.

Hand-Deliver a Handwritten Thank You Note

A handwritten thank-you note is one of the most touching employee rewards you can give. A good enough reason is that you, the giver, took time to make and deliver the note. That alone can make the recipient feel special and appreciated.

Another reason is that a handwritten thank-you note is tangible. This lets the recipient post it somewhere on their workstation and see it all the time. And whenever they see it, they’ll likely feel good and motivated to perform well.

Give Them Custom-Made Appreciation Gifts

Take things a notch higher by including a custom-made gift with a thank-you note. Just be sure to choose something your employees can use, such as tumblers or coffee mugs with lids. Also, have these items printed with their names and a motivating or uplifting note.

If you want to recognize an employee’s massive contribution, throw in an award or plaque. The personalized awards and plaques found here can give you more ideas.

Mind Their Health

One of Thomas Jefferson’s most notable quotes is, “Without health, there is no happiness.” After all, poor health often increases stress levels, considering how expensive healthcare is. Being unhealthy can also elevate people’s risk of mental illnesses.

The opposite is also true: Happiness can affect one’s overall health.

For instance, medical research suggests that stress is a factor in up to 90% of illnesses and diseases. The more and the longer a person feels stressed, the worse their health can get. From heart disease to anxiety and depression, all of these have links to stress.

The workplace is one of the leading sources of stress. It can be because of the workplace’s toxic culture or poor business management. Lack of support and recognition and unsatisfactory working conditions are other reasons.

Thus, managers and employers must prioritize occupational health to have happy employees. One of the best ways to do this is to build an excellent health and wellness program. Then, to make things more fun, incorporate activities with goals that come with awards.

An example is holding running sessions that, when attended regularly, have an award. The award can be a week’s worth of free healthy lunches. It can also be a free membership to a gym or a sports and recreation center.

Shoulder Their Groceries for a Week

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average 2021 spending on food at home was $5,259. That translates to about $101 per week.

Those figures will rise this 2023, considering the expected spike in food prices. According to federal projections, they may increase by an average of 7.5%.

So, why not reward your deserving people with a grocery voucher that can handle at least a week’s worth of food? Not only is this an act of caring for employees, but it also benefits their loved ones. As a result, your hardworking staff members will likely feel appreciated and appreciative.

Let Them Pick an Award

Not only is this a way to recognize your employees, but it can also make them feel even more appreciated. After all, you’re asking them for input on what they want. 

That’s crucial, as one of the reasons people quit their jobs is lack of communication. Indeed, nearly 4 in 10 respondents in a 2022 survey said this was why they left their previous jobs.

Once you’ve used all the other ideas in this guide, you can go with this one next. This can also diversify your employee recognition and award program. It also makes your hardworking people look forward to and try to win future prizes.

Use These Effective Ways to Reward Employees Today

Here’s a final thought: Many of today’s workers stay at their jobs not just because of competitive pay. They also stay because they’re happy with their roles, bosses, and company culture.

That’s enough reason to appreciate and recognize your hardworking people. So, as early as today, use the above-discussed ways to reward employees who deserve them.

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