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15 Creative Ideas For Employee Rewards

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An employee referral program can become a fun and exciting tool for employees, but only when using it the right way. You have to bear in mind that even though they enjoy referring their friends, it is something they do additionally to daily responsibilities for their job. For them it is still part of their work-life. Therefore it is your job to keep them engaged and motivated to ensure you receive quality referrals. Employee engagement not only boosts your referrals, but it is one of the top five measures of success as reported by European HR professionals.

Why you should not only offer monetary employee rewards

Rewards are the best way to motivate your employees and keep them interested in their goal. The more thought you put into your reward policy, the more engaged your employees will become. Since experiences are more valuable than money, think ahead, be creative and offer more than just monetary rewards. According to recruitment and training manager Anna Stretch,rewards don’t always have to be financial”. Think of birthdays: sure everyone loves counting the bills they got from aunts & uncles when the party is over. But, the memories are what count in the end. You will remember who came and what you laughed about, but not how much money they gave you. Consider that when rewarding your employees. Experiences, adventures and memories are more beneficial than 50 bucks.

Leave room for creativity when it comes to employee rewards

Enable your employees to gain new experiences, memories and adventures they will never forget and always be thankful for. Get some specific ideas from the following shortlist of creative rewards and motivate your employees to rock your referrals. Here is what you could offer:

  • Snorkeling Course
  • One extra day off work
  • Special breakfast
  • Romantic wellness weekend
  • Wine tasting in the countryside
  • One year theatre subscription
  • 10 free taxi rides
  • Bring-your-pet-to-work-day
  • Dinner in the sky
  • Bungee jump
  • Professional babysitter for one day
  • Hot-air balloon ride
  • Voucher for a christmas tree
  • Sushi cooking class
  • Allround car cleaning

The difference from the above experiences to simple monetary rewards is that experiences are positively anchored. Which means that when an employee thinks about work, the company or the referral tool will automatically link his thoughts to positive feelings he felt when having his romantic weekend trip or laughing at the wine tasting event. Even though he will not be aware of the reason as to why he feels satisfied, it is something that happens unconsciously and creates strong employee brand. In his blog talent acquisition analyst Mervyn tells us that employee brand is more powerful to potential candidates than marketing campaigns or fancy acquisition brochures. Employee generated content (EGC) is more authentic, personal and honest than anything else. Make sure your employees share company content with pleasure. 

Quick tips on how and when to reward


#1 Do it on time

Do not wait months until rewarding your employees for a successful referral. Do it right after you hire their candidate and it will be much more effective!

#2 Make it personal

It does not have to be face-to-face, but do not send automatic generated emails to thank your employees. Say it in your own words.

#3 Be authentic and honest

Mention specific actions that you’re thankful for and tell them why their help was meaningful.

Check out Firstbird’s Guide to Rewards for more tips and tricks!

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