7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas That Don’t Involve Gift Cards

2 min read
Jun 15, 2015

7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas That Don’t Involve Gift CardsEmployee recognition programs are vital aspects of a company’s success strategy — but the tired old gift card isn’t as inspiring as it was a decade ago. Now, more and more companies are linking employee recognition into their culture in fun, innovative ways.

According to SHRM/Globoforce and Aberdeen Group:

  • 60% of Best-in-Class organizations stated that employee recognition is extremely valuable in driving individual performance
  • Organizations with the most sophisticated recognition practices are 12 times more likely to have strong business outcomes
  • When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement

If you want to be best in class, you need employee recognition. But if you want to stand out even more — and sometimes not even spend more money than you would on gift cards — you need creative employee recognition. Not sure where to start? These five fresh ideas on thanking your employees could ignite your own creativity.

1. Make sure their chores are handled: Say thank you to your employee by hiring a cleaning service to mop, vacuum, and dust their home or apartment. Or if they’re a car commuter, send their wheels to the shop to have it vacuumed, cleaned, and even detailed. This kind of reward takes a little something off their plate that no one really likes to do anyway. Especially helpful for those with little children at home.

2. Be the boss for a day: OK, so the employee can’t hire and fire people, but to recognize an achievement, trade offices with the award-winning worker. The manager will have to do all of the employee's day-to-day activities in a cubicle, whereas the recipient can put their feet up on the nice desk with the skyline view.

3. Get the popcorn ready: Reward someone on staff by giving them tickets to a movie they want to see in the theaters — and even splurge for the fancy VIP seats. Kick this award up a notch by telling them to see it during work hours. Who wouldn’t want an indulgent break?

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4. Cross something off the to-do list: Allow your recognized employee to drop a work task that they like the least — whether it’s calling a difficult client, drawing up a particular spreadsheet, or editing a project. For this time, you’ll do it for them.

5. Breakfast service: Take their favorite breakfast order from a local shop — coffee, breakfast sandwich, fruit, side of bacon, juice, the works — and make sure it arrives at their desk just as they arrive in for the day, and do it every day for one week.

6. Upgrade the office: How much time does an employee spend sitting in their desk chair? Reward them by upgrading to a comfortable, ergonomic model. You can even make it a rotating chair, moving around the office to each new recognized employee. For a little extra fun, decorate it with balloons and other colorful décor.

7. Hire fancy wheels: Send a limo to pick up your employee for the commute, and even see if you can’t get some orange juice and bagels in stock for the ride in the morning and a special treat after work. Everyone will love a chance to ditch rush hour traffic or avoid taking public transportation.

This is just a sampling of the innovative ideas you can try. Get creative and see how you can appreciate and motivate your employees.

The Effects of Employee Recognition & Appreciation Report by TINYpulse

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