15 Effective Ways to Recognize and Reward Your Employees

Chad Prinsloo | Web Designer

Tiaan Dwyer  |  HR Specialist

February 19 2021

Employee recognition is known to be one of the most effective forms of good management. Today, many companies have even begun to use rewards as a recruiting incentive and to improve their company culture, and it’s been proven to be highly effective.

Positively recognising employees is not just a nice thing to do, but it acts as an effective communication tool that rewards successful outcomes that employees create for your business. When you recognise staff, either individually or as a team, you are showing that you acknowledge certain behaviours and achievements, and that you are also willing to show this acknowledgment by making a positive action. Over time, you are also demonstrating to staff that you would like these actions to repeat on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that creating a rewards and recognition plan is a good start, but it’s also only the first step. Successful people businesses constantly reevaluate the way their rewards program is working, to ensure they meet the demands of both their people and the market.

Here are 15 employee recognition ideas you can start using almost immediately.

First, How to Think About Rewards and Recognition

Staff members who have a positive rapport with their superiors and understand and respect the organisational structure are more likely to be engaged in their work and day-to-day activities. They are also much more likely to feel appreciated when their work gets noticed by management.

Employee recognition also helps to:

  • Retain top talent
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Encourage high performance

15 Effective Recognition and Rewards Tips


Unique Branded Clothing

Not only will a unique piece of designed clothing (shirt, hoodie, etc) make your employee feel special, but it also works in your favor as a marketing tool.

Airbnb Experience

If you have a staff member who is excelling on a particular task or project, consider booking them an upcoming weekend trip with their partner to help them unwind and refresh for the next week.

Personalised Recognition Certificate

Employees will feel that their efforts are valued and truly appreciated if they receive a certificate of appreciation.

Time off Coupons

For small employee wins throughout the day, you can hand out 15 or 30-minute time-off coupons for them to use as they wish, whether leaving early, coming in late or spending a longer lunch outside of work.

Lunch With the Boss

Let your employee choose the restaurant. Once there, take the time to get to know your employee’s goals and interests and help them with any questions or concerns they might have about their position.

PayDay Surprises

If employees make a direct positive impact on your bottom line, consider giving them a payday bonus surprise.

Hand Written Note

Handwritten notes are old school, but very sincere in getting the appreciation message across.

A Promotion

If your staff member has been working hard and earned the respect of their colleagues for a long, sustainable duration, consider rewarding their hard work with a new job title.

Pay for a Major Expense

If your employee contributed positively to your bottom line such as large savings or additional revenue, consider paying for a major expense that benefits them, such as paying off their remaining car payments or some home appliances.

Give an e-gift

If you don’t know what your employee needs when deciding on his or her reward, consider buying them an e-gift such as a voucher.

Work-From-Home Day

If your employee has important events in their personal lives, such as a child starting pre-school or first day from school, consider gifting them a work-from-home day.

Give Career Based Rewards

A career-based reward benefits both you and your employee. Examples include specific skills-based training to help your employees enhance their careers.

Thank You Meeting

Calling your employee into your office to just show your appreciation can also go a long way.

Use Social Media to Publicise Accomplishments

Publicly showing your appreciation on your business social channels will boost employee morale and a positive attitude towards your company.

Recognise Non-Work Achievements

Some staff members will be creating interesting things outside of work, some might be volunteering, and doing other interesting and impactful activities with their free time post work. By recognising after-work activities, your staff will feel as if you are taking an active role in their success, which can boost their self-confidence and help them to produce more high-quality work for your company.

A Few Rules When Offering Recognition

Be sincere – Give your employees your undivided attention and focus when planning for their rewards.

Be timely – Recognising your employee for outstanding achievement the moment it takes place is important. It makes the behaviour and rewards clear.

Be specific – Describing the accomplishment is fine, but don’t forget to describe the value it created for the company.

Recognise without interruption – When recognising or rewarding employees, don’t let it take place when you are distracted, such as if you are in a team meeting, or on the phone, etc.

Accomplishment vs reward – Ensure the amount or type of recognition is appropriate for the achievement.

If there is something I want you to know about me right away, it’s that I have a passion for supporting business owners. I believe in the future of South Africa and that there are so many opportunities out there to be successful and to make a change to our economy.

I want to be part of that change by providing businesses with core HR and Labour Solutions that will not only result in legislative compliance but actually positively impact their bottom line.

Over the years I have gained specialist HR experience working in various sectors within the Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprise sector. As a business owner myself, I can relate well to businesses and what their needs are.

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