Top 7 Ways to Reward Great Employees and Boost Team Member Retention

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It’s no secret that hiring good talent is a challenge right now, both in Sydney and around the globe. So, once you’ve got great employees on your team, it’s critical that you recognize and reward their work. By doing so, you make employees feel valued, which increases employee engagement, gives them a sense of purpose, and ultimately boosts your employee retention rate.

So, what rewards are actually appealing and motivating for your team members? Here’s exactly how to create an employee rewards program as part of a successful employee retention strategy.

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How Do You Decide What to Reward?

It can be hard to determine what exactly qualifies an employee for a reward. As a general rule, you want to reward the two main types of employee activity: behaviour and performance. Behaviour is essentially the actions your employees take to meet the performance goals you set. While performance is fairly easy to recognise (did the employee reach the goals you set or not?) behaviour can be a bit murkier to define.

If you aren’t sure what behaviours actually move the dial for your company, ask yourself, “What behaviours do I want more of?” or “What am I actually paying my employees to do?” For example, we often fall into the trap of rewarding people for showing up on time and working their shifts as scheduled. Are you really paying your employees just to sit at their desks / be in the field during their allotted time? This is a base-level expectation – not a behaviour you should reward.

Instead, aim to reward employees who are excelling at their jobs. This usually means someone who is finding new solutions, guiding others on how to do the job, or otherwise innovating. Ask yourself which behaviours will actually improve company results. Whether that’s building customer relationships, improving a product, or creating faster processes behind the scenes, these are the behaviours you should be rewarding.

Best Rewards for Team Member Retention

Public Recognition

They might laugh it off or act shy about it, but employees feel validated when you acknowledge their accomplishments, especially in front of their peers. Just don’t go too over the top or too cheesy and embarrass them. There are many ways to do this, so pick what feels most genuine to you – just be sure to include specific examples so the employee knows that you see their hard work. A few ideas include:

  • Send a personal note to the employee
  • Stop by the employee’s desk to say thank you
  • Mention their hard work in a meeting with an audience of their peers
  • Send an all-company email

1. Local Gifts

While gift cards to big box stores are great, there’s something extra special about a local gift. Every city has one or two beloved local spots – coffee shops, creameries, apple orchards, you get the idea. Gift a valued employee a gift basket, gift card, or swag from one of these local spots. Not only does this boost team member retention, but it also allows you to support other small businesses.

2. Work From Home Days

If you work in an office with the capability of working from home, you know how much some employees would love to be home in their PJs working from the couch. While you likely need them in the office for a good portion of the week, chances are, they could do some of their more menial tasks at home. Reward good behaviour by giving out work-from-home day certificates.

3. Event Tickets

Give your best employees something fun to do in their off time. A city like Sydney has music festivals, craft shows, and other fun events to choose from. If you live in a city with a home sports team, tickets to games are also popular. Even if you live in a smaller town, you can offer tickets to the county fair or concerts in nearby cities.

4. In-Office Chair Massages

Whether your employees sit at desks all day or are on their feet in a warehouse, everyone can benefit from a quick 15-minute back massage. This works best more as a reward to an entire team, as you’ll need to hire a masseuse to come to the office. Invite people to stop by during a certain time window and see how much more relaxed your team is afterward. Plus, by lowering your team’s stress, you boost their happiness which lends itself to improving your employee retention rate.

5. Time Off

The ultimate way to show your employees how much you appreciate them is to give them something invaluable back: their time. You decide how much time to give – it could be an afternoon off or a whole day.

You also get to pick how you let them know, which is half the fun. Nonchalantly stop by their desk and tell them not to come back after lunch. Or, make a gift certificate for a half or full day off, and let them hand it in when it’s convenient for them. Just be sure to let them know why they’re getting this reward.

6. Retention Bonus

Just like the name implies, a retention bonus is a lump sum of money specifically targeted to incentivize employees to stick around. Who doesn’t want cash? After all, no matter how rewarding your employees’ jobs are, they’re there to earn a living. You might give a retention bonus during a particularly crucial production period in your business, or when your employee is really going above and beyond to make a difference for the company.

While it can be challenging to get and keep good employees, it’s not impossible. Team member retention will be critical to your success, as having the proper team behind you is the only way to truly scale your business to the next level.

If you need help creating a successful employee retention strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. As an experienced coach with over 20 years of industry experience, I help people just like you find innovative ways to grow the business of your dreams. Let’s talk today.


Get in touch with me for a confidential, complimentary no-obligation chat today.

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