All 20+ Employee Rewards that Employees Really Want

20+ Employee Rewards that Employees Really Want 

Find out what are the best monetary and non-monetary employee rewards you can give to your workers this year.

user icon Sara Ana Cemazar date icon March 2, 2021 clock icon 3 minutes

Choosing the right employee rewards for your employees is a responsible but also a fun task.  Yes, you have to make sure that the employee rewards you give are desired by your employees. However, you can also be creative and play around with different rewards. 

Moreover, there are many reasons to give out employee rewards. You do not have to wait for employees’ birthdays or Employee Appreciation Day – there is plenty of opportunities to reward your employees throughout the year. 

💡 In this article, you can find out various types of ideas for employee rewardsHowever, get our Employee Recognition Playbook first to make sure your employee recognition programs run smoothly. 

employee recognition playbook

3 Most Wanted Employee Rewards 

Most companies’ Total Rewards strategies follow the WorldAtWork model which incorporates compensation, benefits, wellbeing, recognition and development. However, some companies cannot offer the wide array of employee benefits as others – so try including these desirable perks in your employee rewards portfolio. 

💡 However – do not forget that you must build your employee rewards catalogue on firm compensation and benefits basis. 

employee rewards

Flexible work 

According to this research published in Harvard Business Review, 88% of employees want more flexible work. The popularity of remote work was on the rise, but pandemic accelerated its status as an equally valid form of work. Besides, 64% of companies plan to extend and even increase their remote work policies even beyond 2020. 

After all – why not? Flexible work allows employees to cut their commute and improve their work-life balance. Therefore, include flexible work options in your employee rewards portfolio if it is not feasible to offer it as a standard perk.  

Expanded healthcare 

Healthcare insurance prices are rising – and both employees and employers are aware of it. This is why 88% of employees want expanded healthcare coverage from their employers. 

Employee rewards that have to do with health – like regular check-ups – can also be a desirable reward that will encourage your employees to give their best. 

More vacation time 

It is no wonder that more paid time off is such a desirable perk among US employees. Compared to employees in other countries, they are not guaranteed any paid time off according to US law. 

employee rewards

However, most employees in the US do offer paid time off to their employees. Even so, it could be a great addition to the employee rewards you already offer. 

Monetary Employee Rewards Ideas 

Employee rewards in a form of a redeemable monetary reward are always a good idea. Why? Because it gives your employees the opportunity to treat themselves to what they really want. 

When they are extrinsically motivated, monetary employee rewards are a great way to incentivize employees. However, make sure to also offer non-monetary rewards to your workforce since they have the ability to create more emotional value. 


Bonus is one of the most traditional employee rewardsIt is given on quarterly or annual basis to employees that have met their goals, and it is very common for certain departments such as sales. However, bonuses are great employee incentives for your whole workforce, and they are especially effective if they are tied to both individual and team goals. 

Prepaid card 

Prepaid cards are a favorite type of monetary employee rewards for 88% of Millennials. This is no wonder since they enable employees to effortlessly redeem their reward. Therefore, try including them in your employee rewards portfolio. 

employee rewards

Salary increase 

It is customary to offer salary increases to your employees as employee service awardsThis popular employee reward is even become expected, and companies often plan their salary increase budgets. 

Stock options 

Employee rewards such as stock options are a great way to honor your employees and at the same time tie them to your company. Stock options are a popular employee reward in startups which cannot yet offer competitive benefits. However, stock options are commonly given as employee rewards on employees’ work anniversaries. 

Personalized Employee Rewards Ideas 

If you are looking to reward your employees for exceptional behavior or a career milestone, you probably want to give them a gift that they will really love. Personalized employee rewards are a great idea if you know your employees well – or if their colleagues do. 

Here are some of the personal employee rewards you can give to your employees. 

Concert or event tickets 

Are your employees fans of a certain singer or band, or do they like some motivational speakers? Try getting them tickets to special events as employee rewardsHowever, it is better to opt for monetary employee rewards if you are not sure that the tickets are what they are really after. 

Gift basket 

Gift baskets can be given to employees not only as employee rewards, but also as thoughtful gifts when getting a child or getting married. Moreover, gift baskets are great presents for your employees that have fallen ill with COVID or another disease. 


Books are great employee rewards. They are deeply personal and they can be about a wide range of topics, presenting you the opportunity to choose something you believe your employees would really like. 

💡 Pro tip: write an inscription to a book and include signatures from employees’ colleagues, manager, or even a CEO – depending on the opportunity. 

Custom award trophy 

Custom awards are probably some of the most creative employee rewards out there. They can range from company award trophies to something really personalized, like a work uniform with stitched up name of an employee, or other personalized work equipment. 

Recognition letter 

An appreciation letter is a great way to showcase your employee recognition. It can be seen as an employee reward itself, but more often it accompanies a more tangible reward and gives it a personal touch. 

💡 Get inspired by our employee appreciation quotes. 

Professional Development Rewards for Employees 

Employee development is not only crucial to companies that save resources and generate more income by training their workers in-house. Learning is also very important to employees, of whom 68% say that learning and development are companies’ most important policies. 

employee rewards

This is why opportunities for growth are added to companies’ employee rewards portfolios. Here are our professional development rewards ideas that you can use in your company. 

New work equipment 

Be it office chairs, desks or other equipment – your employees appreciate having the top-notch equipment to do their work. New computers and phones are also great employee rewards, especially to Millennials and Gen Z who find it very important to work with the best technology out there. 

A great way to reward your top performers is to give them paid development opportunities. Are they looking for certification of their skills, or do they want to gain new ones? Offer your employees courses or organized workshops as employee rewards – you might be surprised how popular they become! 

Job promotion 

When your employees show exceptional behavior or accomplish more than was expected, it would be nice and useful to give them a job promotion as an employee reward. Of course, the job promotion itself should not only be symbolic and reflected in the new title. It should come with increased responsibilities and salary increase. 

Tickets to events or conferences 

Event industry is currently on hold – or rather, it moved online. However, you can still include tickets, even online ones, to your employee rewards offering. When events and conferences go live, ensure that your employees get access to them because they also present a great chance for networking with other professionals. 

employee rewards

Wellbeing Employee Rewards Ideas 

Employee wellbeing is not a “nice to have” benefit any more: it has become an integral part of total rewards model. Indeed, more and more employees and employers are realizing the importance of mental and physical health. For one, it decreases healthcare costs and absenteeism rates. 

This is why employee rewards started to include wellbeing items. Here are our suggestions. 

Spa vouchers 

A whole day at the spa or only partial services like a massage can make your employees’ day, especially if they are the kind of people who always put others before them. Therefore, offer spa vouchers as employee rewards to your employees! 

Yoga classes 

Many companies offer yoga classes inside their offices to decrease employees’ stress levels. However, you can also give subscription to yoga classes as employee rewards since it is a beloved activity by many. 

Gym reimbursement 

Gym reimbursement is another effective and popular employee reward. It keeps your sporty employees engaged, healthy and stress-free.  

💡 Pro tip: add a little competitiveness to the mix and keep track of your employees’ gym scores. Who ran the most this month, or which team had the most footsteps? It is much easier to track with an employee wellbeing solution such as Healthain. 

Talks with psychotherapist 

Talking to a psychotherapist can really help your employees learn how to deal with everyday stress and resolve some issues that might be bothering them. In any case, offering sessions as a psychotherapist as an employee reward is a great way to encourage your employees’ mental wellbeing. 

Lunch reimbursement 

Reimbursing employees for lunch or even better, offering them coupons for places that cook healthy food is one of the best ways to take care of your employees’ health. Moreover, it can save time and money to those who cook their meals at home. Employee rewards like these can be very important to employees that take care of their diet. 

Classic Employee Rewards that Still Work 

There are some traditional employee rewards that are still very popular among employees. More importantly, they are still motivating employees at their workplaces, and employees are happy to receive them. 

Here are some old classics among employee rewards you can use to showcase employee appreciation. 

Employee of the Month  

Employee of the Month is one of the most traditional employee rewards out there – but it is still very popular! However, what makes it unsuccessful in most cases is the absence of clear rules. Therefore, establish the criteria for Employee of the Month reward before creating a contest about it. 

💡 Get more Employee of the Month ideas and editable certificates to use in your company. 

employee rewards

The “good” parking space 

A parking space close to the office building is a symbolical award that can be of a temporary basis – for example, your Employee of the Month can get one as an employee reward. 

Company car 

Offering a company car to an employer that has a long commute or family is something he or she will be very grateful for. If you cannot offer your employees flexible work options, think about including a company car into your employee rewards portfolio. 

Lunch with the CEO 

Lunch or afternoon with the CEO presents a special honor to most of employees. It is a chance for employees to meet their company head more intimately, and also for the CEO to get valuable insight into what employees deal with on daily basis. However, it is not everyone’s piece of cake, so make sure to include it into your employee rewards offerings but not impose it. 

It is hard to offer a wide variety of employee rewards and manage your recognition and rewards programs at the same time without the right software. Get our Recognition and Rewards Solution Buyer’s Guide to stay on top of things and give your employees the recognition experience they deserve.