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Top 6 awesome ideas to reward your employees

By Fi Darby | 08 January 2021


Your workforce is the beating heart of your organisation. After all, businesses need dynamic, productive employees. In today’s competitive job market, standout employee rewards are the key to building and hanging on to a happy, vibrant workforce. 

From boosting productivity to retaining great employees, your approach to employee perks really matters. Financial incentives have always attracted talent. However, your workers are also looking for a great work-life balance, flexible working options and career progression. 

To get 2021 off to a fabulous start, SkillsTalk share six awesome employee reward ideas that can keep your workforce engaged, enthusiastic and motivated.

6 ways to reward your employees

  1. Implement a flexible work schedule.
  2. Create social activities for the team.
  3. Offer unlimited annual leave.
  4. Set up a gym membership.
  5. Give their careers a boost.
  6. Be a pet-friendly boss. 

1. Implement a flexible work schedule. 

A recent survey by SEEK showed that 59% of Australian employees rate flexible working options as the most attractive employee reward. True workplace flexibility recognises and responds to the individual needs of each employee. Creative ways to meet those needs include compressed working weeks, job shares, and customised working hours.

2. Create social activities for the team. 

work colleagues having drinks

Experiences are often more valued and remembered than material gifts. What’s more, stress levels can be reduced and engagement increased when colleagues spend social time together. Team days out and exciting experiences can be a really popular employee perk. You could go for something small and easy like concert tickets or splash out and offer a well-earned rest on a luxury minibreak. Try to think outside the box with this one as it’s often the creative ideas that have the biggest impact.

3. Offer unlimited annual leave.

Taking a break from work is always beneficial. However, studies show that the positive effects of a holiday disappear quickly. Your employees would benefit more from holidays if they could take them when they really needed them. For example, after a period of intense working.

Some companies, including Netflix and Virgin, go even further and offer unlimited annual leave. This is also working for a few employers here in Australia. It’s a big step so you might like to think about alternative options. For example, volunteer or special occasion leave.

4. Set up a gym membership. 

people doing push ups at the gym

Australia’s fitness industry is growing far faster than our other recreation industries. This means that you don’t need to have space for an on-site gym to give your employees the benefit of regular exercise. By providing gym or fitness membership, you’ll save your staff money, improve their stress levels, and reduce their sick days.

If the gym membership proves popular, see it as a fabulous start to a health and wellness program. Setting up fitness challenges, providing healthy snacks, and arranging health-coaching sessions will all benefit your business, as well as your team.

5. Give their careers a boost.

Eager employees who want to move up the career ladder can be a mixed blessing. They have a great work ethic and are keen to impress. However, they might also be quick to move on if a new job prospect comes along. You can harness the long-term potential of these high flyers by offering career-boosting employee rewards.

One of the best ways to do this is to provide development opportunities. These could include time off for volunteering, in-house training, networking breaks or formal mentoring relationships. One really flexible and popular way to give employees’ careers a boost would be to support them through online training courses. 

6. Be a pet-friendly boss.

Most of us know that owning a pet can be a joyful experience. However, you might be surprised to hear that pet owners are generally healthier than the rest of the population. This means that by making pet ownership easier for your team, you’re going to improve their attendance and productivity. 

Allowing pets to come into work isn’t right for every environment but there are other options. You could offer pet leave when someone takes on a new pet, or even allow flexible working when pets are unwell.

Be the boss your employees need

The best way to find out what perks would really motivate your employees is to talk to them. If you understand more about their aspirations, their career goals and even their families, you’ll be well placed to provide exactly the encouragement and employee benefits they need.

Give a career boost today with an online course 

For many employees, online learning provides exactly the environment they need for success. Upskilled offers online courses in a wide range of study areas. Get in touch today to find out how we can help encourage, support and motivate your workforce.
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