"Fun rewards" are a refreshing take on employee incentives that infuse elements of creativity, enjoyment, and personalization into the recognition process. Traditionally, rewards in the corporate world were viewed through the prism of cash bonuses, pay raises, or more tangible perks like health benefits and paid leaves.
However, as the nature of work and employee expectations continue to transform, so does the approach towards rewarding and recognizing employee contributions.
Fun rewards go beyond providing a token of appreciation—they create memorable, engaging experiences that resonate with employees on a more personal level. These rewards break the monotony of conventional incentives and introduce a sense of playfulness and excitement into the workplace.
The idea behind fun rewards is simple yet profound: employees feel genuinely appreciated and connected to their organization when they enjoy their rewards. This connection fosters a deeper sense of loyalty and commitment, which, in turn, can account for enhanced productivity and job satisfaction.
Fun rewards aren't just about making employees happy in the moment (though that's important, too)—they are a strategic tool for building a motivated, engaged workforce.
Whether you are a small business owner, a team leader, or a human resources professional, understanding and implementing fun rewards can be a game-changer in your employee engagement and recognition strategies. Below, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to make fun rewards part of your company's engagement and recognition program.
What Is a Fun Reward?
The phrase "fun reward" probably has different meanings for different people. Some people might associate fun rewards with ice cream and pizza, while others may think about escape rooms or team outings.
This ambiguity presents both a challenge and an opportunity. You get to decide what fun rewards at your company mean, and the sky is the limit.
Still, if you need additional guidance, here's what you need to know.
Fun rewards are innovative, engaging, and often unexpected forms of recognition beyond the traditional scope of monetary bonuses or formal accolades. These rewards are characterized by their ability to bring friends together, foster a sense of playfulness, and create memorable experiences for employees.
They range from creative gestures and unique experiences to personalized items of appreciation that resonate on a more individual level.
Here's what fun rewards usually entail:
- Personalization: Tailored to individual interests, hobbies, or preferences, making them more meaningful and memorable.
- Creativity: Exhibits originality and thoughtfulness, going beyond generic rewards.
- Enjoyment: Focuses on bringing joy and a sense of fun to the workplace.
- Unexpectedness: Often comes as a pleasant surprise, enhancing the excitement and appreciation associated with the reward.
- Experiential: More about creating enjoyable experiences rather than just giving tangible items or monetary benefits.
- Intrinsic Motivation: Encourages and recognizes employees' inner passions and interests rather than just their professional achievements.
- Community Building: Often involves group activities or shared experiences, promoting teamwork and camaraderie in the process.
- Recognition of Individuality: Acknowledges employees as unique individuals, not just as workers or job titles.
- Non-Transactional: Moves beyond the traditional give-and-take dynamic of standard rewards, focusing instead on building relationships.
How Fun Rewards Differ from Traditional Rewards
Traditional rewards in the workplace (salary increments, bonus cash, promotions, and standard benefits) are essential but often expected and seen as entitlements rather than as forms of appreciation. They are primarily transactional, focusing on compensating employees with additional pay for their work.
In contrast, fun rewards are relational and experiential. They are designed to compensate, inspire, motivate, and create a positive emotional connection in the process.
For example, while traditional rewards might include a year-end bonus, a fun reward could be an unexpected day off for an employee to pursue a hobby or a surprise team outing to a popular event.
These fun rewards are less about making a purchase or the money and more about the thoughtfulness and personalization behind them, which makes them stand out as genuine tokens of appreciation and a nice touch to any engagement program.
45+ Fun Reward Ideas
Fun rewards come in all shapes and sizes, and that's why we couldn't narrow down our list any shorter. There's no one-size-fits-all idea when it comes to implementing fun rewards. Some of these ideas will hit with your employees, while others will be a total miss—that's why we provided an extensive list to get your creative juices moving.
1. Surprise Remote Work Day
Offering a surprise remote work day can be a refreshing change for employees. It's a spontaneous break from the office environment, allowing them to work from the comfort of their homes or any other location they prefer.
Randomly select days and notify the chosen employees a day in advance, ensuring that their workload on that day is manageable remotely.
2. Lunch with the CEO
Lunch with the CEO is a unique opportunity for employees to engage in open conversation with top leadership. It's not just a meal but a chance to share ideas, give feedback, and gain insights directly from the head of the company. This reward fosters a sense of inclusivity and breaks down hierarchical barriers.
3. Team Adventure Outings
Team adventure outings (such as ziplining, escape rooms, or rafting) offer an exciting way to break the routine and strengthen team bonds. These activities require collaboration, communication, and trust, which are crucial in a workplace.
Coordinate with local adventure sports providers and schedule outings during slower business periods to ensure maximum participation and minimal work disruption.
4. Wellness Retreats
Wellness retreats are a fantastic way to reward employees with a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. These retreats (with activities like yoga, meditation sessions, and spa treatments) emphasize the importance of mental and physical well-being.
They can be organized annually or semi-annually and should include various wellness activities to cater to support different preferences. Plan these during less busy times of the year to help employees truly disconnect and benefit from the experience.
5. Tickets to a Game
Provide employees or teams with tickets to sporting events or games to help them create enjoyable and memorable experiences outside of work. This kind of fun reward can be especially meaningful for die-hard fans, showing that you care about more than just their output at work.
6. Personalized Jewelry
Offer personalized jewelry as a high-value reward for significant achievements or milestones. This elegant and lasting token of appreciation rewards success and fosters a deep sense of loyalty and pride.
Terryberry specializes in creating custom jewelry pieces, such as rings, lapel pins, or necklaces, that can be personalized with the company logo, the employee's name, or other meaningful symbols.
7. Personalized Gift Baskets
Create personalized gift baskets for employees, reflecting their unique interests and hobbies. These baskets can range from gourmet snacks and fine chocolates to items related to their favorite pastimes or self-care products.
Gather insights into each employee's preferences and collaborate with local vendors to assemble these custom baskets. This can be a great option for remote employees too, as some vendors will be able to handle shipping directly to the recipient.
8. Office Game Olympics
Channel your inner Jim and launch an Office Olympics for your employees. Set up various lighthearted, office-friendly games like chair races, paper plane contests, or playing team trivia. Organize the event by planning diverse games, forming teams, and awarding mock medals to celebrate the winners.
9. Bring Your Pet to Work
Allow employees to bring their pets to work for a day. This initiative delights pet owners and creates a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the office. It's an opportunity for everyone to enjoy some animal companionship. Ensure a successful day by establishing clear guidelines for pet behavior and confirming that the office is a safe environment for pets and people alike.
10. Custom Office Artwork
Commission custom artwork that reflects the team's spirit and work culture. Collaborate with a local artist to create a piece that might include team caricatures or elements symbolic of the company. Involving employees in the concept phase can add personal relevance to the artwork.
Once complete, this artwork serves as a visual celebration of the team and enhances the office space.
11. Specialty Workshops
Offer specialty workshops in areas like photography, baking, or pottery as an engaging and educational break from work. These workshops allow employees to develop new skills and explore creative pursuits. Partner with local experts or artisans to conduct these sessions, either onsite or at the expert's location.
12. Movie Screening Day
Organize a movie day in the office, complete with comfortable seating, popcorn, candy, and a selection of popular films. This event allows employees to relax and enjoy a cinematic experience together. Select a range of movies based on employee preferences, and set up a cozy viewing area in a common room or auditorium for an enjoyable group activity.
13. Volunteer Day
Spend a day volunteering! Allow (and encourage) employees to take a day off to support a cause they are passionate about. This initiative provides a meaningful way for employees to give back to the community and reflects the company's commitment to social responsibility. Coordinate with local charities or nonprofits to identify opportunities and facilitate employee participation.
14. Personalized Bobbleheads
Create personalized bobbleheads for employees, capturing their likeness and perhaps a fun aspect of their personality or role in the company. This unique and humorous reward can become a cherished keepsake and a fun addition to their workspace.
15. Extra Paid Time Off
Reward employees with extra paid time off as a token of appreciation for their hard work and dedication. This highly valued reward demonstrates recognition of their efforts and the importance of work-life balance. Implement a system where employees are nominated for this reward based on their performance, milestones, or as a special thank you for going above and beyond.
16. VIP Parking Spot
Offer a VIP parking spot as a monthly reward for employees. This convenient and coveted spot can be given to different employees each month, possibly as recognition for outstanding performance or as part of an employee-of-the-month program. This simple yet effective reward serves as a status symbol and adds a practical perk to their daily routine.
17. Office Décor Upgrade
Offer employees the chance to upgrade their office décor. This could include new ergonomic furniture, stylish office supplies, or even a fresh coat of paint for their workspace. By personalizing their work environment, employees feel more comfortable and valued. Set a budget for each employee and allow them to choose their upgrades, turning their workspace into a more inspiring, productive, and enjoyable area.
18. Subscription Box Services
Provide subscriptions to services like gourmet food boxes, book clubs, or wellness packages. These monthly surprises offer ongoing enjoyment and cater to a wide range of interests, showing employees that their tastes and hobbies are recognized. Select a diverse array of subscription services and allow employees to choose their preferred option.
19. Custom Trophy
Celebrate employee achievements with custom trophies tailored to recognize specific accomplishments or milestones. Whether for sales milestones, service anniversaries, or other significant achievements, these bespoke trophies serve as a lasting symbol of recognition and appreciation.
Terryberry can help design and create these unique awards with various customization options to reflect the person and the achievement.
20. Bring Your Family to Work Day
Host a Bring Your Family to Work Day, allowing employees to show their loved ones, spouses, kids, or close friends their workplace and what they do. This event can include office tours, fun activities, and interactive sessions for family members. It's an excellent way for employees to share their professional world with their families.
21. Cook-Off Competitions
Organize cook-off competitions where employees can showcase their culinary talents. Whether baking, grilling, or making the best vegan dish, these contests can stir up friendly competition and delicious results. Plan the event during a typical lunch hour or as a special event, and consider inviting a guest judge to add an element of excitement.
22. Artistic Collaborations
Encourage employees to collaborate on artistic projects, such as a mural, a collective sculpture, or a digital art piece. Provide the necessary materials, space, and possibly guidance from a professional artist. The completed artwork can then be displayed proudly in the office.
23. Travel Vouchers
Give out travel vouchers as rewards, allowing employees to explore new destinations or enjoy a relaxing getaway. This reward is a fantastic way to encourage work-life balance and provide a much-deserved break. Set up a program where employees can earn these vouchers based on performance metrics or as part of a company-wide raffle.
24. Private Concert
Organize a private concert exclusively for your employees. Whether it's a local band or a more well-known artist, this unique experience creates a memorable event that employees can enjoy together. Coordinate the event as a special celebration or a surprise perk, enhancing team spirit and providing a fun, social atmosphere outside the usual work setting.
25. Escape Room Challenge
Arrange for teams to participate in an escape room challenge. Schedule the challenge as a team-building event and consider multiple sessions to accommodate all employees. It's an engaging way to break the routine and teach collaboration in a fun and unique setting.
26. Custom Apparel
Offer custom apparel as a reward, such as personalized t-shirts, jackets, or hats designed with the company logo and the employee's name or a fun nickname. This creates a sense of belonging and pride in the company. Some companies choose to use a pop-up website for this where employees are granted temporary or full-time access.
They can shop, claim their reward, and checkout with their item, making it a unique and practical token of appreciation.
27. In-Office Massage
Provide in-office massage services, where professional masseurs come to the workplace to offer free chair or table massages. This onsite wellness perk is a great way to show employees you value their health and well-being. Schedule regular massage days, allowing employees to sign up for slots.
28. Virtual Reality Experience Day
Set up a virtual reality day in the office to allow employees to immerse themselves in different VR worlds. Whether exploring exotic locations, engaging in thrilling adventures, or participating in interactive games, VR offers an exciting break from the daily grind. Arrange for various VR stations and experiences to ensure something is intriguing for everyone.
29. Fitness Memberships
Provide fitness memberships to local gyms, yoga studios, or wellness centers. Offer a selection of different fitness venues to cater to various preferences and encourage regular exercise, which can improve both physical and mental health. Consider allowing employees to choose an app for their membership, such as Peloton or Strava.
30. Board Games
Introduce a collection of board games in the office for employees to enjoy during breaks. Board games are not only fun but also foster strategic thinking and teamwork. Regularly update the collection based on employee suggestions and consider organizing occasional game tournaments for added excitement.
31. Indoor Plant Kits
Give employees indoor plant kits to keep at their desks. Caring for plants can enhance the office ambiance and provide a calming influence while improving air quality. Choose easy-to-care-for plants and provide care instructions to ensure that everyone can enjoy this perk regardless of their green thumb status.
32. Interactive Murder Mystery Event
Host an interactive murder mystery event in the office or at a designated venue. Employees can get involved in solving a mystery, which is a fantastic way to encourage teamwork, problem-solving, and creative thinking. Hire a professional company to set up the event or use a murder mystery kit to do it in-house.
33. Pick Your Own Merchandise
Allow employees to choose their own rewards from a curated selection of merchandise. This approach gives employees the freedom to pick a reward that they will find helpful and enjoyable, improving the overall value and impact of the recognition.
Terryberry's award selection program provides a range of quality products (from lifestyle items to high-end electronics) to help employees find something that truly resonates with them.
34. Tech Gadgets
Reward employees with the latest tech gadgets, such as smartwatches, wireless earbuds, or e-readers. Consider setting up a points system where employees can earn these gadgets for meeting specific goals or benchmarks.
35. Coffee Station
Create a premium coffee station in the office equipped with a high-quality coffee machine, various coffee blends, and great options for different brews. This everyday luxury is a delightful perk for coffee enthusiasts and can become a central spot for relaxation and casual conversations. Regularly update the selection with new and exciting coffee options to keep the experience fresh and enjoyable.
36. Catered Lunch
Treat employees to a catered lunch with various gourmet dishes to enjoy together as a team. Coordinate with local caterers to offer diverse cuisine options and cater to different dietary preferences.
37. Favorite Snacks
Stock the office pantry with employees' favorite snacks based on their suggestions. This simple gesture can boost morale and provide a quick and enjoyable break during the workday.
38. Birthday Day Off
Celebrate employees' birthdays by giving them an extra day off. This personal reward allows them to enjoy their special day in any way they choose, be it relaxing at home, spending time with family, or pursuing personal interests. It's a thoughtful way of showing employees they are valued beyond their professional contributions.
39. Pop-up Relaxation Zones
Create pop-up relaxation zones in the office, transforming a common area into a temporary oasis with comfortable seating, ambient music, and calming lighting. These zones can offer a peaceful retreat for employees to de-stress and recharge. Add elements like massage chairs, zen gardens, or aromatherapy diffusers to enhance the experience.
40. Food Truck Day
Invite local food trucks to the office to provide employees with various delicious and convenient dining options right at their workplace. It's a fun and easy way to break the monotony of the workweek and give employees a taste of the local culinary scene. Coordinate with different food trucks to offer a range of cuisines and ensure there's something to satisfy everyone.
41. No Meeting Day(s)
Implement 'No Meeting Day(s)' where employees are free from scheduled meetings, allowing them uninterrupted time to focus on projects and tasks. This initiative can significantly increase productivity and reduce stress, giving employees the space to work on tasks that require deep concentration or to catch up on their workload. Choose a day of the week with fewer meetings and make it a recurring event.
42. Comedy Hour
Host a comedy hour in the office by inviting a local comedian or organizing an open mic for employees. It's a great way to foster community and inject humor into the work environment. Plan this event during lunch or at the end of a workday to ensure maximum participation.
43. In-Office Little Libraries
Set up Little Libraries in different parts of the office, stocked with a variety of books for employees to borrow and enjoy. Encourage employees to donate books as well, creating a shared community resource that fosters a love of reading and provides a mental break. Regularly update the collection and consider creating themed sections based on popular genres or employee recommendations.
44. Gaming Corner
Establish a gaming zone in the office equipped with video game consoles, board games, and perhaps even a ping-pong or foosball table. This dedicated space for relaxation and leisure provides employees with a fun way to unwind, take a break, and engage in friendly competition with colleagues.
Regularly update the collection, encourage playing games, and consider holding occasional tournaments to foster camaraderie and a sense of community within the workplace.
45. Custom Office Playlists
Create custom office playlists with contributions from employees. This allows everyone to share their favorite music and discover new tunes, creating a lively and enjoyable atmosphere in the workplace. Set guidelines to ensure the playlist is suitable for the office and consider rotating the responsibility for playlist creation to involve different teams or departments.
Launch Your Employee Rewards and Engagement Program
Not sure which fun rewards will resonate best with your employees? Instead of taking a chance on a random guess, why don't you just ask them?
That's where we can help.
Take advantage of Terryberry's Employee Engagement Surveys to gain valuable employee feedback and fuel your business performance. Here's how:
- Engagement Surveys: Establish a foundational understanding of how engaged your employees are.
- Pulse Surveys: Provide quick, real-time insights into employee sentiment on current organizational topics or changes.
- Experience Surveys: Understand how different rewards impact employee experiences at various stages.
- Always-on Feedback: Provide a platform for employees to continuously communicate their thoughts and concerns.
- 360 Feedback: Offers a well-rounded perspective on how reward initiatives are perceived across different levels of the organization.
And once you gain the necessary insights, we're here to help bring your reward and recognition program to life. With everything from employee recognition software to employee rewards, Terryberry is ready to help you take your employee engagement program to the next level.
See for yourself. Schedule a demo with one of our experts to learn how Terryberry can transform your employee engagement with our powerful all-in-one platform.