Exploring the Types of Employee Rewards: A Comprehensive Guide

March 20, 2024
10 mins

Attention all leaders and managers! The secret to a happy workforce lies in the types of employee rewards you offer. It's time to get creative!

As an employer, you probably know that keeping your employees motivated and engaged is no walk in the park. But fear not, dear reader! Types of employee rewards are here to save the day! From conventional financial rewards like salary increases and bonuses to unconventional perks like free snacks and office massages, there's a reward out there for every employee's taste. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into the different types of employee rewards, their benefits and drawbacks, and how to create a reward program to keep your team smiling and thriving. So, grab your coffee (or tea, we don't judge) and explore the wonderful world of employee rewards!

Importance Of Employee Rewards

Employee rewards are more than just a nice-to-have perk; they're essential for the success of any organization. In fact, according to a study by Gallup, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%. That's a staggering difference! So, what exactly makes employee rewards so important? Let's break it down.

Firstly, employee rewards help to increase motivation and job satisfaction. When employees feel appreciated and recognized for their hard work, they're more likely to be engaged and productive. This, in turn, leads to higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates. In fact, a survey by Glassdoor found that more than 53% of employees would be willing to stay with their current employer longer if they felt appreciated.

Secondly, employee rewards help to attract and retain top talent. In today's competitive job market, offering competitive salaries and benefits isn't enough. Employees are looking for more than just a paycheck; they want to work for a company that values and invests in them. According to a study by Insider, 73% of employees say they would leave their current job for a company that recognizes employees for their efforts and contributions.

Lastly, employee rewards can lead to increased profitability. A study by the Aberdeen Group found that companies with employee recognition programs have a 31% lower turnover rate than companies without. This can save companies thousands of dollars in recruiting and training costs. Additionally, engaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond in their work, leading to increased productivity and profitability.

Now, we'll be diving into the different types of employee rewards. Let’s get started!

Types of Employee Rewards

Before diving into the different types of employee rewards, it's important to understand that there are various categories that rewards can fall into. These categories include intrinsic rewards, extrinsic rewards, financial employee rewards, non-financial employee rewards, and recognition-based employee rewards.

Each of these categories has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, and organizations may choose to offer rewards from one or more of these categories depending on their specific goals and needs. Understanding these categories can help employers design a rewards program that is both effective and tailored to their employees' needs.

1. Intrinsic Rewards

Intrinsic rewards are intangible rewards that come from within the employee, such as a sense of accomplishment, pride, or self-worth. According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 55% of employees ranked meaningful work as the most important factor in their job satisfaction.

Examples of intrinsic rewards include recognition for a job well done, opportunities for personal growth, and a sense of belonging to a team or community.

2. Extrinsic Rewards

Extrinsic rewards are tangible rewards that are provided to employees as a result of their performance or achievement. These can include salary increases, bonuses, and other financial incentives.

According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 53% of employees said that salary and compensation are among their top considerations when choosing a job. Extrinsic rewards can be motivating and are often used to incentivize employees to achieve specific goals or targets.

3. Financial Employee Rewards

Financial employee rewards are a type of extrinsic reward that includes any form of financial compensation or benefits provided to employees. Some common types of financial employee rewards include salary increases, bonuses, profit sharing, and stock options.

These types of rewards can be effective in incentivizing employees to perform at a higher level and can help organizations attract and retain top talent. According to a survey conducted by WorldatWork, 87% of organizations use base pay as a way to reward and retain employees.

Types of Financial Employee Rewards:

  • Salary Increment

A salary increase is a straightforward way to reward employees for their hard work and dedication. It's a long-term commitment from the employer and can help to retain top talent.

  • Bonuses

Bonuses are one-time rewards given to employees for meeting specific goals or exceeding expectations. They can be a powerful motivator for employees to go above and beyond in their work.

  • Profit-sharing

Profit-sharing is a program where a portion of the company's profits are distributed to employees. This can be a powerful motivator for employees to work toward the company's success.

  • Stock Options

Stock options give employees the option to purchase company stock at a discounted rate. This can be a valuable financial incentive and can also help to align employees' interests with the success of the company.

While financial rewards can be effective, they also come with some drawbacks, such as the potential for creating a competitive or cut-throat work environment.

4. Non-Financial Employee Rewards

Non-financial employee rewards are rewards that are not related to an employee's compensation but instead, focus on improving their quality of life or work experience. These can include things like time off, professional development opportunities, flexible work arrangements, and health and wellness benefits.

According to a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 79% of employees said that health and wellness benefits are important in their decision to stay with their current employer. Non-financial employee rewards can help to create a positive workplace culture and can be effective in retaining employees.

Types of Non-Financial Employee Rewards:

  • Time off 

Giving employees time off is a great way to show appreciation and help prevent burnout. This can include vacation time, personal days, and sick leave.

  • Professional development

Offering employees opportunities for professional development, such as attending conferences or taking courses, can help them to grow and develop in their careers.

  • Flexibility

Providing flexible work arrangements, such as working from home or flexible hours, can help employees to balance their work and personal lives.

  • Health and wellness benefits

Offering health and wellness benefits, such as gym memberships or wellness programs, can help employees stay healthy and productive.While non-financial rewards can be effective in motivating employees, they may not have the same immediate impact as financial rewards.

5. Recognition-Based Employee Rewards

Recognition-based employee rewards are rewards that are given to employees in recognition of their achievements or contributions to the organization. These rewards can include public recognition, certifications, awards and trophies, and thank-you notes.

According to a survey conducted by Globoforce, 78% of employees said that being recognized motivates them in their job. Recognition-based rewards can be effective in boosting employee morale and creating a positive work environment. They can also help to build a culture of appreciation and recognition within an organization.

Types of Recognition-Based Employee Rewards:

  • Public recognition

Recognizing employees publicly for their achievements and contributions can be a powerful motivator and boost morale.

  • Certifications

Providing employees with certifications or credentials for their work can help to boost their confidence and show that their work is valued.

  • Awards and Trophies

Giving employees physical rewards, such as awards or trophies, can be a great way to show appreciation and boost morale.

  • Thank you notes

Simple gestures like a handwritten thank you note can go a long way in showing employees that their work is valued and appreciated.

Recognition-based rewards are a great way to show appreciation for employees and can help to create a positive and supportive work environment. However, they may not be as effective as financial rewards in motivating employees in the long term.

Next up, we'll explore how to combine different types of employee rewards to create a comprehensive and effective reward program.

Combining Employee Rewards

When it comes to employee rewards, it's important to remember that no single reward system is a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, many organizations opt to combine different types of rewards to create a comprehensive rewards program. This approach can help address the varying needs and preferences of employees, ultimately improving employee satisfaction and retention.

Combining employee rewards can take many forms. For example, a company might offer a combination of financial rewards such as salary increases, bonuses, and profit-sharing, along with non-financial rewards like time off and professional development opportunities. Alternatively, a company might create a recognition-based rewards program that includes both public recognition and awards or trophies.

The benefits of combining employee rewards are numerous. For one, it allows employers to leverage the strengths of different reward types. Financial rewards, for example, are great for motivating employees in the short term, while non-financial rewards can help promote long-term employee loyalty. Additionally, combining rewards can help mitigate the potential drawbacks of any one reward type. Offering only financial rewards, for instance, could create a culture of entitlement while relying solely on non-financial rewards might make employees feel undervalued.

When designing a combined rewards program, it's important to consider the unique needs and preferences of your employees. For example, some employees may prioritize professional development opportunities over financial incentives. Additionally, make sure to clearly communicate the rewards program to employees, and regularly evaluate its effectiveness to make sure it's meeting the needs of both employees and the company as a whole.

Best Practices For Employee Rewards

Implementing an effective employee rewards program requires careful planning and execution. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when designing and implementing your rewards program:

1. Developing a Strategy:

Before implementing a rewards program, it's important to develop a clear strategy. This involves identifying the goals of the program, the types of rewards you will offer, and how you will measure the success of the program. Take into account the unique needs and preferences of your employees when developing your strategy.

2. Incorporating Employee Feedback:

To ensure your rewards program is effective, it's important to incorporate employee feedback. This can help you identify areas where your rewards program may be falling short, as well as areas where you can improve. Consider conducting surveys or focus groups to gather feedback from your employees.

3. Communicating the Rewards Program:

Communication is key when it comes to implementing an effective rewards program. Make sure employees understand how the program works, what rewards are available, and how they can earn them. Consider creating a communication plan that includes regular updates and reminders about the program.

4. Tracking and Analyzing the Effectiveness of Rewards:

Regularly tracking and analyzing the effectiveness of your rewards program is essential to ensuring its success. This involves setting benchmarks and tracking progress toward those benchmarks, as well as gathering feedback from employees. Use this information to make adjustments to the program as needed.

By following these best practices, you can create an employee rewards program that helps motivate and retain your top talent while driving business success.

The Bottom Line

Offering employee rewards is an essential component of any successful business strategy. By providing incentives and recognition to your employees, you can increase job satisfaction, motivation, and retention rates. However, it's important to remember that every organization is unique, and what works for one company may not work for another. 

By incorporating best practices like developing a clear strategy, incorporating employee feedback, communicating the program effectively, and tracking and analyzing effectiveness, you can create a rewards program that works for your organization and drives success. So go ahead, get creative, and start rewarding your employees for their hard work and dedication!

Bigfish Editorial Team

If you have any questions, reach out to editor@bigfishbenefits.com

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