The company rewards system is a powerful tool for building employee loyalty and motivation[ref]The Role of a Reward in Employee Motivation; Kristen Hamlin[/ref]. Acting as tokens of appreciation, it is an employer’s duty to recognize hard work and build lasting relationships with their staff.

There is a saying that:

people will always work harder when they know they are appreciated

And, research backs it up. According to one survey, 79 percent of employees say that rewards and recognitions make them work harder. 78% are more productive after being rewarded.

In fact, as more Millennials and Generation Z workers enter the workforce, the importance of a reward system to increase motivation is becoming even greater. Although these younger workers want fair compensation and benefits, they also want meaningful and fulfilling work. Part of what makes work more meaningful is recognition for a job well done, or more specifically, frequent praise and awards for their efforts. In fact, Millennials consider rewards as essential to their happiness at work, meaning that employers have a responsibility to incorporate reward and recognition programs into their companies if they want to attract and retain younger workers[ref]About Employee Motivation & Reward Systems; Kimberlee Leonard[/ref].

While monetary incentives are a classic motivation device, they won’t always do the job. And there is evidence to suggest that cash on its own fails to draw emotional value from work. Salaries are fixed, punishment is demoralizing, and financial bonuses are impersonal.

You owe it to your employees to dig deep. Consider approaching the task on a more personable level, and understand what makes them tick. Read on to learn about some interesting rewards that benefit staff beyond cold hard cash.

Offer a company car

Any driver knows the mounting costs of keeping a vehicle on the road. With fluctuating fuel prices and insurance payments being just a couple of the running costs, relying on a car is expensive. And often that car is the only way an employee can get to the office — So why not take the pressure off? 

Offering company cars as a reward is beneficial for both you and your staff. Although it’s an alarming thought, the initial expenses will be well worth it in the long run.

Firstly the gift of a car is a big one. Such an act delivers a physical token of appreciation, one which employees can cruise around in as a trust symbol. It shows how much you value the staff and have faith in their performance. Secondly, it reduces financial worries that suck up a big chunk of salary. By covering vehicle expenses, you free up people’s funds. They will be able to save for a holiday or make some home improvements. Either way, you are inspiring loyalty. But is it a viable option? After all company cars are a big investment.

There are tons of ways you can take the edge off. Fuel cards, for example, are an interesting addition to the package. Given the right research, you can stabilize expenditure and monitor staff. If you’re unsure where to start, use comparison sites like iCompario to find a card that best suits your needs. Better yet, you can save money by using low emission vehicles, which will allow you to reclaim tax in the first year. And with such a variety of eco-friendly cars around, you can have some fun on Buy A Car deciding what to get.

Work functions and team dinners

You can safely assume that nobody will turn their nose up at free food and drink — particularly not your employees. When the boss is buying, everyone rejoices. A company bonding session is a perfect reward, which also benefits employee morale. And you don’t need to worry about breaking the bank; going somewhere comfortable and relaxing is much better than a fancy restaurant. While the immediate effects are great, the longterm picture is even more satisfying.

Social events help strike a better working culture and cultivate a team spirit. It fosters relationships and promotes friendship. Employees stop feeling like a cog in the wheel, they instead become part of a family.

A night out to promote work in the week — sounds great right?  But make sure you choose something your employees are keen on, not whatever takes your fancy. Nobody will work for the reward if they don’t like it.  Everyone is different and employee rewards are a reflection of what motivates them. So, find out everyone’s favourite restaurants and bars.

Flexible working and extended breaks

Not every scheme should have productivity at its core. You need to help employees find a balance with personal wellness too. And allowing trusted employees to split the day or even work from home can be incredibly beneficial.

Rewarding efforts with greater freedom is a cost-effective way to engrain loyalty and promote happiness within your business. The majority of employees will appreciate the trust and thrive away from the office. But for the select few who don’t — you’re the boss — bring them back in. Sometimes, simply giving people a chance is the greatest reward of all.

Equally, strong performers who don’t enjoy working from home could opt for extended breaks. Many offices have recharge rooms containing: yoga mats, pool tables, video games, bookshelves. They are incredibly popular, so you can gamify the use them. For example, whoever completes the most tasks in the morning has extended access to the room at lunch.