How to reward employees and teams who perform well

Consistent positive reinforcement and rewards for benchmark achievements can transform your company culture.

Tags: Best practices, Employees
Published: June 08, 2021

You know the contagious energy you feel when you are around an employee who is driven to succeed, or a team that is working together like a well-oiled machine? How do you reward that burning desire? Or, on the other hand, if you are observing the opposite, and need to light a fire for employees who are unmotivated, what can you do to inspire them?


How to motivate employees

Rewarding employees in the right way may be your answer. Here are 10 ways to reward employees to increase their motivation and spark greater company success.



Make it casual

If your team has been burning the midnight oil or is approaching the home stretch on a project, consider offering a casual dress day.


Skip out for some summer sun

Watch weekday productivity soar when you offer half days once a month or give employees Fridays off during the summer. Make agreements as to what each employee must accomplish to earn the time off — and hold them to it.


Show some flexibility

When a work environment requires a certain number of hours on the clock, consider letting employees vary their schedules so they can do more of what they enjoy outside of work. Some people may prefer to work four 10-hour days or take a longer lunch hour.


Fuel them with free food

One sure way to surprise and delight employees is by providing unexpected treats — a bagel breakfast, cookies during a long meeting or a catered meal so they can meet a deadline.


Invest in workplace amenities

Have you been promising to buy picnic tables for the grassy lawn outside? Are employees clamoring for an onsite gym? Predetermine some operational goals, and when employees put in the work to reach them, deliver on one of those often-requested amenities. Not sure what will inspire the crew? Ask them!


Offer education and training

If your company’s training budgets have tightened and travel approvals are few and far between, you may want to look at industry events and educational opportunities as an award for top-performing employees.


Give them choices with reward cards

Recognize employees’ extra efforts with a rewards card, such as the U.S. Bank Rewards Card available online. Employees can use these prepaid cards, which come in various dollar amounts, in stores, online or over the phone for anything they’d like


Promise preferred parking

If parking spots are at a premium, consider granting a preferred spot to a different engaged employee each week.


Trade places

Galvanize your staff by setting an attainable goal, and if the staff can reach it, agree to do a tedious task that everyone dreads. Maybe they take turns cleaning the bathroom or washing down a machine. Or, maybe they dislike running monthly reports or taking meeting notes. Roll up your sleeves, because soon it will be your turn.


Get social

Some employees find it refreshing to socialize with leaders and peers outside the office. If you can swing it, take the afternoon off to watch a ball game or go bowling. Or, make it a point to join the next happy hour or game night. Your presence will speak volumes.


Get information on how to develop an employee recognition program that can increase engagement, make employees feel appreciated and reduce turnover.