Live Webinar : Rebooting Employee Recognition Programs For Higher Impact.

20 Best Rewards and Recognition Program Ideas for an Engaged Workforce

9 min read
Last Updated on

Employee rewards and recognition program- An array of programs and activities designed specifically to deliver recognition at the workplace thereby boosting employee morale and stirring motivation.

Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated - Robert McNamara

Every great work deserves to be appreciated and rewarded. It is the thumb rule that all of us must follow be it on our personal ground or in our professional lives.

The effect of reciprocating ones’ great work with reward or recognition is visible in the form of improved motivation. Every time an employee is acknowledged, they feel motivated to work harder the next time. And as such, corporations around the world are now taking the matter of rewarding and recognizing their employees' efforts very seriously.

What’s in it for them?

According to various studies, acknowledging and timely rewarding the employees with meaningful incentives yield a wide range of advantages for the organization.

These advantages are nothing but the positive effects that can be seen on factors like-

Overall, these above-mentioned points collectively help the organization gain more value and function much efficiently. Thereby, ensuring a high return on investments.

Creating effective rewards and recognition program for employees
Employee recognition and reward system is a must for every organization.
Apart from the points mentioned above, it also helps to build better workplace relationships.

An effective employee recognition program adds value to the employees and makes their extraordinary efforts stand out from the rest. A well-planned and perfectly executed staff recognition initiative gives every employee a fair chance to prove themselves. Thus, eliminating the chances of favoritism which is a widespread malpractice around many workplaces.

However, bringing the culture of employee recognition in the workplace complimented by reward programs is not easy.

For creating the best rewards and recognition program the employers must pay heed to the following things:

(A) Size of the workforce

The size of the workforce matters here because rewarding and recognizing a humongous workforce has its own challenges. Here, ensuring every employee within the organization is covered and is acknowledged from time to time based on their performance is a must.

(B) Workplace locations

Businesses are now carried out on a global scale with employees spread across the world. In that case, disbursing rewards or recognizing employees for their good work at multiple locations is another thing employers have to deal with.

(C) Timeliness

Recognition delayed is recognition denied.

Ensuring a successful recognition program relies on how frequently you are acknowledging your employees. With more than half of today’s workforce comprised of millennials that demand instant gratification. Recognizing employees on the go has become crucial for supporting them and keeping their morale high.

(D) Meaningful Rewards

While creating a good employee reward program, employers must always pay heed towards ensuring meaningful rewards for the workforce. Here, meaningful reward refers to the things that are useful and motivate the employees in their professional as well as their personal lives.

Only when these above points are taken care of by employers they can implement an effective workplace appreciation scheme.

However, to your relief, all of these above points can be dealt with much ease and efficient by using an automated employee rewards and recognition platform. Using such a platform one can now recognize and reward their workforce irrespective of its size and location on the go. Thereby, paving the way to create the best rewards and recognition program easier than ever before for the employers.

Moving on..!

Types of Employee Recognition and Reward Programs for an engaged workforce


Punctuality is a trait that sets an individual apart from the rest and having such employees in your workforce is no less than a blessing. Hence, acknowledging the employees who are always punctual at their workplace is very important. Appreciating such traits at the workplace not only motivates the employee adhering punctuality but also encourages the rest of the workforce to follow the same.


When you appreciate your employees make it a public affair. Everyone likes it when their achievements are known to all and your employees are no different. Furthermore, it also amplifies the effect of recognition. Thus, not only ensuring the employees doing well are motivated. But also the others derive some encouragement to give their best and earn the top spot.


If your workplace reserves prime parking spots for the executives, then it can be used as an employee reward scheme too. You can use this reward scheme to leverage employees to adopt environment-friendly commuting methods like carpooling. Also, by letting your employees enjoy some premium privileges, you can make them feel how important they are.


Most employees now spent a large amount of time in their work desk without much physical movement. And this situation has given rise to a number of chronic health problems mostly related to heart and muscles. However, as an employer, you change the scenario here by introducing an employee recognition title related to health. This would motivate the workers to focus on their health as well even in between work.


When your employees work hard and they put all their efforts into their work, they learn and evolve at it. They tend to know how to run the show and accordingly take proper decisions. Here, nothing would be a much better reward for your hardworking employees than allowing them to do their work the way they like it.

Here, you’ll be having two benefits as an employer-

At first, your employees will get the room for taking the best decisions to get the work done in the best way possible.

Secondly, since your employees will be responsible for their own work. They would be even more careful than before with things related to their work.


Peer to peer recognition scheme has proven to be much better than an only managerial form of recognition. Encouraging employees to recognize their peers is the most genuine recognition employees can have. This is because it's the employees only who see the efforts made by their peers at work. And getting appreciated by their peers is enough to cheer them up and deepen the workplace relationship further.


Even in the days of social media, framing the best moments in a photograph and displaying them is not obsolete. It’s one of the best rewards you can give your employees for their achievements in the workplace. You can reserve a corner in your workplace where you can put up the pictures of your best employees who didn’t hesitate to go the extra mile. This would showcase the willingness of the organization to put its employees ahead. And also encourage everyone in the workforce to give their best and earn their spot in the wall of fame.


Acknowledging the hard work of your employees by saying “Thank You” or a “Job Well Done” is not bad. However, it’s not enough as well. Doing these would only result in a kind of temporary gratification. But saying the same with a nicely written signed note of appreciation yields much better effect compared to verbal appreciation. Employees take these notes of appreciation as proof that both they and their work is worth to their organization.


Well, people may work for money but they always crave for something that purely shows their efforts and hard work. The same way, giving out appreciative badges at the end of every challenge completed is a good way to forward instant gratification. Furthermore, this would also encourage friendly competition amongst the employees. Thus, leading towards a better work culture within the organization.


Building the best rewards and recognition program involves one thing and that is providing the employees with the room to progress. Here for the same, you can provide your employees with a chance to excel further by educating themselves. Modern-day employees give more priority to their professional development than any other thing in the workplace. As a good employer, it is the wisest way to reward your employees. Doing so would also make the employees feel privileged and make them love their jobs even more. Here, as an employer, if you opt for going ahead with this then eventually it'll be the best rewards and recognition program


Appreciate your workforce for every great work they do every day. Frequent verbal appreciations are very important. It lets the employees know that they are going the right way and their work is worth to their employers. Also, it helps in keeping their spirits high at work daily and improve their work mood. Moreover, employees who receive appreciation on a daily basis have higher productivity and display better work ethics.


Celebrating employee milestones like their work anniversaries is a great way to acknowledge your employees. Most of the times, employees tend to forget how far they have come in their professional lives while remaining busy with their work. However, surprising them with an anniversary present or throwing them a small party at the workplace will, sure enough, do the job here. The job of instiling the thought of how important they’re and how much their work has helped in business growth.


Rewarding your workers with gift cards is a great way to incentivize their hardship apart from a handsome paycheck. Also, there’s no better way than gift cards that allows you to implement a flexible employee reward scheme. These gift cards can be used for things like shopping, entertainment, getting daily needs and more. Thus, allowing the employees to save up a good amount of their spendings.


Employees who always think out of the box and adopt non-conventional ways to solve problems at the workplace are very rare and unique. These employees deserve recognition too for their unique problem-solving abilities. And as an employer, you should always acknowledge the creative employees in your workforce.


Letting your employees share the learnings they acquired in their years of service is another great way to reward and recognize them at the same time. Moreover, the aim of every employee appreciation program is to make the employees feel that they’re worth to their organization. As such, creating a program letting the experienced employees educate the new recruits would showcase their importance for the organization. And also, add up to their reputation in front of the newbies making them feel good as well.


Your employees might also support a social cause and work for the betterment of the society outside the office. And there can’t be a better way to reward them other than joining them in their cause and supporting it. Saying so, its the most subtle reward that an employer can give their employees as it also reflects back in the face of a strong CSR initiative. Also, you can have recognition programs for acknowledging your employees for their voluntary initiatives as well.


Outside their cubicles, employees have their own likes or hobbies to keep themselves stress-free and motivated. These may include anything from cooking, dancing, singing, painting, etc. Giving your employees the chance to pursue their hobbies can be a great add-on to your employee reward program. This will not only instil a good image of you as an employer but will also help the employees stay more focused at their jobs.


Your employees maybe champion in other things outside their workplace. Recognizing your employees for achievement outside their work is as important as appreciating their in-house accomplishments. Acknowledging these outside achievements also positively impacts their motivation levels in their work as well.


Every one of us has a social life to commit to outside our cubicles. Keeping a proper balance between ones’ professional and personal life is very important for keeping up with ones’ self-satisfaction. However, amidst the ever-increasing workload, it has now become very hard for employees to maintain a sound work-life balance. Thus, you can plan for rewarding your employees with personal time off’s every time they do something good. Thereby, allowing your employees to use this time to rejuvenate themselves and get back to back with more vigor.


Food is the way to everyone's heart and there’s no doubt in it. Paying off your employees for their efforts at the workplace by offering them free meals is the best reward that you can vest upon daily. Similarly, you can also plan for organizing team luncheons to appreciate team accomplishments. This way you will also have the opportunity to promote workplace camaraderie paving the way towards a healthy work culture.

Wrapping Up!

Creating the best rewards and recognition program for an engaged workforce demands more than just a fixed set of employee engagement ideas. Employers must make it a point to evaluate their employee happiness from time to time. And based on the results make the required changes ensuring utmost engagement at the workplace.

An employer may use any of the above-listed ideas for the best rewards and recognition program as a single program. Or combine them based on the requirements of the organization.

However, do you have any suggestions for creating the best rewards and recognition for employees?

If yes, then we would love to hear them from you in the comments below.

  Working as a Content Marketer at Vantage Circle, Angshuman always stays curious and is passionate about learning new things. Got any question? Drop a mail at
Free Resource
A Complete Guide to
Employee Rewards and Recognition
Find out why your organization needs an employee reward and recognition scheme, as well as how to create an effective one.