Reward creativity with creative rewards

Wondering which is the right way to reward your employees for being creative? Cash bonus has proven to be a short-term motivator – save yours, try more-meaningful (probably less expensive) ways and start creating a culture of recognition

Reward employees creatively

Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well-done or coming up with some great idea. What people appreciate even more is being rewarded for it, since it shows how much their superiors really care. In case the organization already incentives engagement with a concrete method, such as gamification, they should consider a proper mix of tangible acknowledgements. When it comes to a contribution within ideation and crowdsourcing communities, creative ideas should be rewarded with creative rewards as well!

You can even create an award catalogue from which every employee could pick out what they prefer the most. A great way of tracking the efficacy could be gamification, where people collect points and badges they can exchange for the tangible reward. Two types of recognition are recommended – Top-Down and Peer-to-Peer.

Here are some examples of interesting and motivational programs you can provide to your employees:

Professional development

  • Books/Educational Materials
    As an employer, you can help provide the materials an employee finds valuable and necessary in improving their mastery over a subject.
  • Courses
    Employees have different aspirations and there are certainly topics they would like to know more about. There are numerous online courses with possibility of certification you can offer subsidized.
  • Seminars
    A great way to find out a large amount of information, meet people and broaden skill sets.

Extra time

  • Abbreviated Workday
    Choose a day and let employees come in late and leave early. Think back to your school days, and remember how happy you were in the winter time when you were informed that you don’t have the first class tomorrow so that you can sleep longer. Or the joy of ‘early release day’ – this is particularly appealing during the spring and summer months, when the weather is great, and an extra hour can feel like a half-day off. Just that one hour can make enough time for activities you’d otherwise miss out on.
  • Flexible Hours
    Let your team members to work for a day when they want to. Maybe they will appreciate flexibility more than cash. For example, they won’t need day care services for their child, if they can arrange to do it by themselves.
  • Extra Day-off
    A free-day pass from work is generally considered a great idea. Even better if employees can pick the day by themselves.


  • Pizza Party
    Besides that it is fun, having this kind of lunch breaks up the routine.
  • Pancakes/Ice Cream Party
    What about old-fashioned dessert party where people can choose the taste they prefer?
  • Long Lunch
    A relaxed, extra-long, lunch with team can create a positive atmosphere for the rest of the day, even when the extra time spent is relatively small.
  • Personal Assistant
    You could also hire a temporary assistant for a certain day or period and facilitate with their work tasks.
  • Appreciation Jar
    It could be convenient to have a place where each employee can write a proposal of a gift, benefit or recognition they’d like. You’d be surprise what would come up with.


  • Surprise Gifts
    Think about leaving symbolic gift on employees’ desks, such as their favourite sweets, movie or theatre tickets or tech-equipment with some cool post-it. They’ll appreciate it more than you can imagine.
  • Gift Cards
    Definitely one of today’s popular gifts. Huge number of shops offer gift card and person can buy whatever they need or want, in their favourite shop. Having in mind that company has treated them, increases the value of purchase.


  • Wellness/ Massage
    Who wouldn’t like a relax day? :)
  • Recreational Education
    Pay for one education class of their interest. For example: cooking course, production of jewellery, etc.
  • Trips
    Vacation packages to employees is always very appreciated reward.
  • Gym Membership
    If you want to help employees maintain their physical health, especially in the winter months, this is a great idea.
  • Yoga Class
    Yoga can have positive impact both on body and mind. Offering a yoga class to employees can be an excellent way for relaxation after a hard day at work.
  • Dance Course
    Some people find dancing a perfect activity, both fun and challenging. By offering a dance course maybe some people would finally start with moves they wanted to learn since always.


Common activities can help inspire stronger bonds between co-workers, which is a valuable asset for both them and the company.

  • Travel
    In case company has more than one office, you can offer employees opportunity to spend time working in a different office. That could be great for breaking the monotony of the daily routine, while still getting work done. It’s also a nice way for employees who do not know their colleagues to meet them in person.
  • Happy Hour
    Happy hours are a great way to get everyone together outside of the office in a more informal and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Sports work outfit and activity
    Let you employees dress-down just for a day, when after work they go on some sport activity you’ve arranged for them (team sport, paintball, karting, hiking …). Healthy employees are often more productive.

Charitable giving

Probably many of your employees donate to charities already. By giving them an option to make charitable donations as a reward for great work on the job, you can contribute in amplifying the impact they’re making.

There’s a lot of evidence that shows a little recognition goes a long way to boosting morale. You can choose between countless ways to demonstrate importance to employees and their contribution. They can be simple and already well-know, but when beyond common ways, they tend to be more noticeable and often, valued.

Implementing a successful employee reward program will certainly result in increased employee satisfaction and performance, greater motivation for participating in innovation process and therefore, increased profits and larger ROI.