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The Recognize Book

Types Of Employee Rewards And Corporate Gifting

The success and growth of an organization largely depend on its employees. Engaging and encouraging employees leads to increased productivity. Implementing a recognition program can help in this regard without breaking the bank. Many ideas can be found at another Recognize Resource, our top employee recognition ideas article. Here are a few types of employee recognition programs:


Non-monetary incentives refer to rewards provided by employers to their employees that do not involve cash. These rewards are given in addition to the organization’s regular compensation and benefits package. 

Here are some examples of non-monetary rewards that can be offered to employees:

Day Off

Providing employees with a day off as a reward for their hard work and dedication is a simple yet effective way to show appreciation. This time off can allow employees to recharge, spend time with loved ones, or pursue personal interests without work stress.

Lunch with CEO

An opportunity to have lunch with the CEO or a high-level executive can be a valuable reward for employees. This can allow them to ask questions, learn from the top-level management, and better understand the company’s goals and strategies.

Parking Spot

Reserved parking spots can be a highly desirable reward for employees, especially those with a long commute or difficulty finding parking. Offering a prime parking spot as a reward for exceptional performance can demonstrate that the organization values its employees and is willing to provide them with added perks.


Experiential rewards are a type of non-monetary reward that employees can highly value. Instead of providing cash or physical gifts, experiential rewards allow employees to participate in unique and memorable experiences. 

This type of reward can be particularly effective for engaging and motivating employees, providing them with an exciting and exclusive opportunity they may not have otherwise had.

Here are activities that can be used as experiential rewards to motivate employees:

Escape Room

Escape rooms are interactive games in which players solve puzzles and clues to escape a themed room. Offering employees to participate in an escape room experience can be a fun and challenging way to build teamwork and problem-solving skills. It can also allow employees to bond and get to know each other outside of the workplace.


Providing employees with paid time off or vacations as a reward for their hard work and dedication can be a highly desirable incentive. They allow employees to rest, recharge, and return to work with renewed energy and focus. Additionally, it helps to reduce burnout and turnover rates, as employees feel valued and appreciated by the organization.

Combination of Activities

Combining various activities, such as team-building exercises, volunteer opportunities, and social events, can create a unique and memorable experiential reward for employees. For example, an organization might plan a day-long event that includes a team-building scavenger hunt, followed by a volunteer activity at a local charity, and ending with a social event such as a happy hour or dinner. This experiential reward can help build camaraderie among employees while providing opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Cash Awards

Cash rewards are a type of employee reward that involves giving monetary compensation for hard work and achievements. They are simple and customizable, providing immediate gratification to employees. However, they may not be sustainable in the long term and can be viewed as a simple transaction. Employers should link them to specific performance goals and supplement them with non-monetary incentives to maximize effectiveness.

Gift Cards + Cash Cards

Gift cards are prepaid cards that can be used to purchase goods or services from specific merchants or retailers, while cash cards are prepaid cards that can be used for any purpose. Both cards offer convenience and cost-effectiveness as rewards, but employers should consider employees’ preferences and tax implications before using them.


Merchandise rewards are a type of employee reward that offers tangible benefits to employees, such as electronics, clothing, or luxury items. They can serve as a lasting reminder of an employee’s achievement and be personalized to their interests or preferences. However, merchandise rewards can be more expensive and pose logistical challenges. Employers should consider the cost, logistics, and appropriateness of using merchandise rewards as part of a larger recognition program.

Case Study: Google

In 2013, Google launched a program that allowed its employees to send each other flowers and other items as a way to show appreciation and recognition for their work. The program, called “gThanks,” was designed to promote a culture of gratitude and to make it easier for employees to recognize each other’s contributions.

Under the gThanks program, Google employees can use an online platform to send flowers, gift cards, or other items to their colleagues. The items are delivered directly to the recipient’s desk, along with a note from the sender. Google funds the program, so there is no cost to the employees.

The gThanks program has been well-received by Google employees, who appreciate the opportunity to recognize their colleagues and to receive recognition for their own work. According to a company spokesperson, the program has helped to foster a culture of gratitude and has made Google a more positive and supportive workplace.

The gThanks program is an example of how companies can use small gestures to promote employee recognition and engagement. By making it easy for employees to recognize each other’s contributions, companies can create a more positive and supportive workplace culture that can improve employee morale and productivity.

Physical Cards

One type of employee reward companies can provide is physical cards that grant access to various products or services, such as discounts on meals or movie tickets. These cards are a budget-friendly and practical option for incentivizing employees and can be personalized to cater to their preferences. Companies must assess their staff’s requirements and preferences when choosing the physical cards to provide and regularly assess and modify their rewards programs to ensure their relevance and effectiveness.

Case Study: Pinterest

Pinterest sends personalized anniversary cards to their employees, thanking them for their contributions and highlighting their achievements. This is a simple yet effective way to recognize employees for their hard work and dedication and to foster a sense of belonging and appreciation within the company culture.

Another way to add value to physical cards is by including a QR code that can provide additional benefits or information to the employee. For example, a company could include a QR code on a physical card that provides access to an exclusive discount or a personalized message from the company’s CEO. This can add extra personalization and value to the reward, making it more memorable and engaging for the employee.

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