Category: Rewards

Employee Engagement Rewards

How To Build The Reward Program of Your Employees’ Dreams


At the end of the day, after all your employees clock out and have gone home to their families, there’s one thing you can guarantee is on their minds: 

Reward programs. 

Well, that’s probably not true. But it’s also not as untrue as it may first sound. 

See, the truth is that employee rewards programs are a lot more than just a fun business trend (editor’s note: is there such a thing as a “fun” business trend?). They’re not only a tool for you to increase both performance levels and engagement among your employees, they’re actually a way for employees to realize their true potential. 

Sounds a little too poetic for your tastes? Staples conducted a survey of employees who participated in a reward program, by the numbers

85% of employees felt “more valued.”

Nearly three quarters were “happier and more motivated.” 

And 6 out of 10 employees felt “more productive and able to get better results.”

Those aren’t numbers to brush off. Simply by instituting an employee reward program, you’re helping your team to work more efficiently, deliver better performances, and feel a deeper sense of their own value within your organization. 

Whether they’re dreaming about a specific rewards program is debatable… and unlikely. But you can be sure that your employees are dreaming about that kind of satisfaction at their jobs. 

Here’s how you can deliver a great employee reward program. 

Outline Everyone’s Goals

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about how setting goals is like rocket fuel for employee engagement levels. Not only does it help them to orient themselves to their role, but it also grounds their work in real, long-term results. 

So why wouldn’t you be setting goals for yourself and your projects? 

For an employee rewards program to be its most successful, you have to have both your employees’ goals and your own goals in mind from the outset. 

What are you hoping for from this program? Are you simply trying to boost employee engagement? Are you trying to get everyone in your sales division to hit a certain monthly goal? Are you hoping to decrease turnover? 

As Inc’s Jeff Haden points out, there are three great questions to ask yourself at the outset of building a rewards program: 

“Where are your team’s skill gaps?” … “What are important programs, products, or initiatives for your business over the next 30 or 90 days?” … “What behaviors do you want to change or impact with your team?”

By setting goals for your reward program, you’re contextualizing it—rather than simply creating one just because some excellently-written blog post told you to. At the end of the day, this is about improving aspects of your business by raising employee performance to the next level.

Plus, if you don’t have a goal in mind, then your employees won’t have concrete direction in their goals either. Bad practices tend to flow from the top down, so start things off on a good note for everyone.

Set Benchmarks: Determine How Employees Can Earn Points & Rewards

Once you’ve determined the goals of the program, then you have to figure out ways in which employees can earn rewards or points

Remember, this doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all solution: different departments are going to earn points in different ways—just make sure that they’re scaled evenly: at the end of the day, it’s about each individual employee performing to the highest standard of their role. You don’t need your HR team to carry out the same functions are your sales people. 

Moreover, a point system may not be the best idea of your employees. Maybe that just leaves some teams feeling discouraged at how little they’re earning, or resenting other teams for “racking up points,” which ends up taking the focus off of everyone’s individual development. 

What’s most important is that you find a system that works for you: maybe it’s as simple as setting a weekly benchmark related to your employees’ KPIs. If they hit that mark, they get the reward. 

Make Some Really Great Rewards: 3 Easy Ideas

And now that we’re on the topic of rewards, you might be scratching your head at exactly what that could look like. But don’t worry, we’ll be the first to tell you: you don’t have to spend your annual budget on insane reward trips (though, nobody’s arguing that we could all use a week in Hawaii). 

Right off the top, here are a few simple and cost-effective rewardsthat your employees will actually want to work for: 

Give Them A Day Off: Any team or employee who hits a certain benchmark can choose to not come in on a certain Friday of that month. If we’re all being honest, sometimes we are working for the weekend—so why not work extra hard for a three-dayer to spend some extra time with family and friends? 

Make Lunch Not Suck: For the majority of us, lunch is either throwing a few bucks at the nearest fast-casual spot, or eating some boring meal-prepped Tupperware at your desk. It’ll be worth ten times the cost of you taking those high achievers to a nice lunch with the boss just for the output you’ll get.

Dole Out The Perks: Whether it’s taking over the corner office for a week, getting first-floor access in the parking garage, or even getting priority access to the conference room. Passing out temporary perks are more valuable than most employees will care to admit.

Remember The 3 R’s: Reward, Recognize, Repeat

At the end of the day, what makes these employee reward programs so great is consistency. Show your employees that you’re listening to their needs, recognizing them for the hard work they’re putting in, and then putting your proverbial money where your mouth is—follow through. 

The reward program of your employees’ dreams is the one that gets them to feel like they’re working at their dream job. And with the right thought, and a few simple tools, you can make that dream come true. 

Employee Engagement Rewards

Sales Team Crushing It? How To Recognize them Without Breaking The Bank


Okay, so maybe you’re not the best at saying, “Thanks.”  As Don Draper once famously yelled at his protégé Peggy Olson, “That’s what the money’s for!”


Hardly.  Employees, and for that matter pretty much everyone on the planet, want to be appreciated for what they contribute—and that goes well above and beyond compensation. 

If you’re looking for ways to say thanks, here are some tips on how to get started.

Rewards are a Business Decision

It’s important to make one quick distinction before we go forward. When we talk about the idea of “breaking the bank,” this isn’t about skimping on your employees. In fact, if you haven’t already built in budget for incentives, then you’re actually making poor investment decisions for your business. 

There are hundreds of studies that have been done, and the numbers continue to be clear: structuring your compensation around bonuses and incentives drives up sales. 

Need some proof? Take this study from McKinsey which reported that “Smart revisions of compensation models have been found to have a 50 percent higher impact on sales than changes in advertising investments.” 

So this isn’t simply about finding cheap ways to trick your employees into thinking you care. 

This is about managers training their brains to think about rewards and incentives as a model for good business.

Remember: Orient Rewards Around Goals

Don’t worry, this isn’t a deep dive on incentives packages. This is still about finding creative ways to reward and thank your employees’ outside of their financial compensation. 

And if you’re especially tight on those sorts of extra resources, we truly believe this is a guide that can help you access that most creative part of your brain—without emphasizing the frugal part!

One thing to keep in mind is that non-financial rewards and opportunities to shout-out employees should be structured around goals: whether they’re weekly benchmarks, personal achievements, or any other sort of gamified structure you’ve set up—goals are the perfect way to help you keep your gratitude a regular part of your management strategy.  With that in mind, here are few ways to get those ideas flowing:  

Boss-Vision: Show Them You Care

You don’t have to look much further than a show like “Undercover Boss” to understand just how much employees value feeling seen and understood. 

So often we get caught in the cycle of thinking that our managers are just there to tell us what we’re doing wrong, how we can improve, or what new policies we might need to be mindful of.  But managers can turn that on its head in an instant, from the moment that they help their employees know that they are seen—and valued. 

In our world, that’s known as “employee recognition.” And it’s a topic that we bring up on the blog all. the. time

Public employee recognition is huge—and a great incentive for your employees in and of itself. It tells your team that you see them beyond their salaries. You see them for their dreams and aspirations, you see them for their dedication, and you see them for your shared human experience. 

Effectively recognizing employees for their work is as simple as it gets: if you’ve got a digital sales platform, you can start by displaying top performers numbers around the office on TVs. Or you can be quirky, make a big trophy for “sales person of the week” and pass it around the office for high-achievers to display on their desk.  And if you need something even simpler than that: go over to an employee that you know has been putting in the extra effort this week, pull them aside, and just say, “I want you to know, you’re doing a great job.” 

It’s amazing how much of a boost that can give someone. 

Employee(s) of the Month Privileges: Living Like The CEO

Speaking of recognition, there’s nothing better than getting to tout your hard work around the office beyond the initial congratulations. It’s that TV trope we all know: Employee of the Month. 

But we all know it’s true: the pride of having your name displayed among the top-performers of yore, canonizing your efforts among the greats. And beyond just posting your name on a sales leaderboard, you can pass along privileges that are both cost effective, and deeply rewarding for any individual or teammate. 

Need some ideas of where to start? How about giving your employee or employees of the month the prime up-front parking for the month—and a sign with their names on it to boot? Maybe they get to take over your office for a week?  They may sound like silly things to you, but putting a little creativity behind your employee recognition makes everyone feel like they’re being taken seriously, and inspires them to dream up new heights. 

The Self-Care Experience: Yoga at Work

If you want to try something totally out of the ordinary, why not make it something that benefits employees’ minds and bodies? 

As a treat to your whole office, you can bring in a local yoga instructor—even just once a month or once a quarter—to give your employees an easily-accessible way to work out, clear their minds, and get their bodies flowing.  It’s a simple way to show some investment in their lives outside of the daily grind, and it’s certainly the kind of challenge that will bring everyone closer together! 

Home-Help Services: From Meal Delivery to Cleaning Crews

For a smaller team of high-achievers, consider one of the areas of their lives that probably gets most neglected when they’re putting in the hours at work: their homes.  Try sending a meal-prep kit home with them so they don’t have to worry about groceries one week. See if a local cleaning service can offer discounted prices to lighten the chore load. 

It’s a simple, and small financial investment that screams, “I know it’s not always easy, but we’re in this together.”

The Gift of Time: Keep It Flexible

Finally, there’s the tried-and-true, universal gift of giving back time. Whether it’s summer Fridays, a monthly day-off, or just a random, “Hey everyone, take the rest of the day off!” type of Tuesday—giving employees back some free time is a great way to recognize and appreciate their hustle. 

Whatever way you decide to show your employees a little gratitude, remember that it doesn’t have to be extravagant to be totally meaningful.   

Employee Engagement Rewards

3 Creative Incentives to Motivate Your Sales Team


It seems like a no-brainer: A compensation program that rewards and encourages top performers with cash bonuses. It’s nice, convenient, and expected. While monetary rewards seem like a tried and true motivator for sales teams, recent studies have shown that these incentives don’t actually increase motivation in the workplace.

Instead, cash incentives only work in the short term and have the lowest impact on motivation. Think about it like this: the only times you get a boost of energy and motivation is when it’s nearing the end of a quarter and you need to meet your quotas, or it’s the beginning of the quarter and you’ve got some targets you know you want to hit. But this drive only lasts so long. Cash bonuses aren’t kept top of mind to continually drive the right habits and long-term motivation for success. So, what can you do? Try these sales incentives to keep your team motivated throughout the entire year.  

1. Awesome Trips

There’s nothing like a good getaway to reset and refresh yourself. When you’re stuck in that 9-to-5, the days can start to blend together and gray out. Your wallpaper of the Bahamas on your Macbook is starting to look like an unreachable destination. But, you know, it doesn’t always need to be an extravagant trip and maybe your company can’t afford it.

And that’s okay. What’s not okay is dismissing this idea altogether. An easy way to get your team out on fun trips and out of the norm of Netflix and Chill weekends is through Blueboard. This is something we do here at Hoopla and I. Love. It. Without Blueboard, I never would’ve made a trip to Aquarium of the Bay to feed the sharks. The experience was truly amazing getting up close and personally feeding them fish one toss at a time. Events and activities are kept mostly local to your area so you have the convenience of a quick getaway.  

2. The Gift Of Time

Time is money. Really, it is. You’re literally getting paid for your time at work. That’s why it’s easy to understand why it’s so extremely hard for people to take their vacation days even with the unlimited PTO trend going around startups these days. More than 55% of Americans aren’t taking their PTO days per year.

It’s hard to gauge what’s appropriate in terms of how many days you should take off each year. Should you spread it out? Should you take a long vacation with consecutive PTO days? If your company doesn’t have the luxury of unlimited PTO, give your staff those extra PTO days and encourage them to take it. If you have that luxury, well, do just the same. When you give your team that work-life balance and flexibility to control their own schedules, they appreciate you all the more. Because when they’re happy, you (and your pockets) are happy.  


3. Recognition

If you tell me you’ve never been caught up on being #1 in a race, I call bull. It’s natural to want to be #1. Whether it’s a race to the kitchen for the last cookie, or a race to be at the top of the sales leaderboard this week, we’re all aiming to first on that list. Why is that? Recognition. Recognition, unfortunately, seems to be in rare form nowadays — especially in the office.

Even as children, we loved getting that gold sticker on our homework folders. It was a form of praise, an accolade, recognition for our efforts. That’s really all we need sometimes: to be appreciated for our work. Leaderboards and breaking news alerts for reaching milestones is an easy (and automated!) way to get you and your team recognized for your efforts and progress.

Sometimes, we forget there’s a person behind each deal closed, each meeting booked, each contract negotiated. Hard work goes into each of these activities, and it’s tough getting through them when no one notices. So, maybe you’re not ready to try leaderboards with your team. No worries. The next time you see a fellow sales rep, extend your hand out. Because, sometimes, all you need is a high-five.  

 Hope you found these sales incentives helpful. If you’re a sales manager, try at least one of them with your team this quarter. If you’re a rep, bring it up with your manager! They can’t read your mind, so let them know what motivates and drives you to be a better performer. You got this. ✋