20 Reward and Recognition Ideas - From Free and Easy to Big and Bold

It’s easy to believe that your salary is reward enough for coming to work. But that’s missing the basic human need for recognition of a job well done. People get a huge emotional boost from being rewarded and recognised at work. It says “you’re worth it!”. 

There are many ways to reward and recognise people you work with. Whether it’s your colleagues, employees or your boss, here are 20 reward and recognition ideas. 

Free and Easy

  • Saying a heartfelt thanks. Yes, it’s that easy!
  • Going home early or starting late
  • Have regular “Catch People Doing Things Right” discussions within your team, and share who did what well.
  • Have a quick game of office basketball or other indoor activity.
  • Encourage reward and recognition, up, down and across the ranks by enabling anyone to nominate anybody for formal recognition.
  • Allow same level employees to negotiate who takes holiday when, amongst themselves.

Cheap and Cheerful

  • Chocolates, fresh fruit or other edible delights. Remember people with special dietary needs, so cater for low-fat, gluten-free, vegetarian, diabetic etc.
  • Ice-creams all round on a hot, sunny day, delivered personally by the big boss.
  • Cinema tickets or DVD rental vouchers.
  • Buy the 11 o’clock teas and coffees.
  • Decorate your desks for Halloween, Christmas, the World Cup or anything else topical.

Modest Celebrations

  • Persuade potential absentees to come to work with big screen coverage of the crucial live sports match.
  • A meal for two on a corporate card.
  • Arrange a team-building event with some time focused on pure fun.
  • Give a hard cash bonus for unique money saving ideas.
  • Relaxation treatment vouchers.

Big and Bold Budget Busters

  • Hold a mega party, with food, music and entertainment.
  • Allow a significant other to accompany on a business trip.
  • Arrange a charity event or enable volunteering in work time. Paint murals at your local school, run children’s reading classes, have a soup-kitchen…
  • Have a sabbatical volunteering scheme for long term employees. Pay them to work for a charity for 6 months.

Fair Do's

However you decide to reward and recognise people at work, it pays to have a formal, understood scheme in place. If one manager gets out the streamers and balloons for saving a penny and another grunts well done for saving millions, you will do more damage than good. Rewards, especially monetary, need to be fair and equitable. Consider creating a Reward and Recognition review committee to ensure larger rewards are awarded fairly and consistently.

By Lyndsay Swinton
Owner, Management for the Rest of Us

Download '20 Reward And Recognition Ideas' in pdf format