Innovation is the focus for most companies in the technology industry, isn’t it? Companies want their staff to grow and develop while they are working with them and harnessing and nurturing innovative ideas is the first step to doing that. If you are currently running a company where you are doing everything you can to ensure that your employees are happy, the first place to find that out is by asking them. Most companies use bonuses in cash at the end of the year to show their appreciation to their employees, making them feel like they’ve crossed a finish line and achieved something within their role. Recognition for work done well and showing your staff that you can see when they have come up with something new and it’s been successful is so vital for employee morale. Getting that pat on the back at the end of the year is something that a lot of people live for. It shows that they are doing their job and doing it well – which is exactly what some people need to feel content.

The thing is, end-of-year bonuses aren’t always a possibility. Smaller outfits with a large workforce often can’t afford to hand out percentage bonuses without jeopardising the profit of the company. So, the reward programmes that you can find today are often way more varied and interesting than just handing over cash, which could be considered fairly impersonal. After all, you’ve got a bank of tech geniuses at your disposal; they’re likely already on good salaries and gifts for the tech industry are far more unique to give. The reward systems among some companies are very different to others, with rewards stretching from weekend breaks to paid-for cable TV to front row parking spots in the employee car lot. The way that you model your incentive program with your staff is going to directly impact their opinion of you, so it makes sense that you would ensure that your reward program is a unique, exciting and successful one. While you’re designing your reward plan, think about what your staff want and ask them directly what they would like to see happen in terms of rewards. Otherwise, check out these seven ideas below:

Peer-To-Peer Rewards. There’s something nice about getting the teams in the company to rate the service they receive from their own colleagues. For example, if the marketing department need the IT department to mock a website for them, then you could have the marketing leaders decide if there are rewards earned. They could then present their colleagues with a gift (voucher/bonus/perk) in a public way in the office. This does nothing but foster excellent internal relationships, which is what you want.

Company Monthly MVP Awards. The MVP is the most valued player; the one who goes above and beyond in their job in a way that gets noticed. Determine a range you can afford in terms of compensation and have it set aside in your budget. Then you can build it into your incentive program when you make your hires; it’s a great way to motivate people to do more.

Experiences. Sometimes, handing cash to people doesn’t have the effect that you’d want. It’s just easy to chuck money over and say a well done. If you look at the schedule of your employees and choose a time period that they can take a vacation, you can either reward your staff with days off that are paid, or pay for a vacation for a few days. This is something that would mean a great deal to staff who rarely get a chance to get away. You could make it even more special by seeing if the rent a private jet cost is something that you might be able to help towards, or cover, for an employee who has worked with you for a significant milestone

Small Rewards. Has the customer services newbie managed to smash their targets this week? A hand-delivered bottle of expensive champagne to their desk should be a great incentive to the rest of the team as well as them to show them that they are appreciated. You can do the same with fresh flowers or luxury chocolates, too.

Team Lunches. It’s great when a team comes together and pulls off a big project, but it’s even better when company owners recognise this and treat them well for it. Paying for a team of people to have a Friday afternoon off with an all-expenses paid lunch is a great way to tell them that you appreciate them. They get time away from the office as well as a delicious meal. At the same time, they are able to socialise with their team and this can often be a way to relax everyone.

Gift Cards. This one is a more personal gifting idea, and it means that you’ll need to get to know your staff on a personal level. There’s no use going for generic websites like Amazon; if you’re trying to show gratitude then you need to show people that you know them well enough to know what they would actually want. So, think about your budget per gift card and then as you get to know people buy specific. $100 may not go far in Louboutin, but it will go toward a great pair of shoes!

Health. Happy and healthy employees work better for longer. If you’re able to, why not set up a contract with a local gym and spa and gift a year to an employee who shows the most growth and promise? You want people to have something to work toward and ensuring that they are healthy while they do it can be a great gift. Make sure that you’re not offending people when you do it, though!

The key to great company gifts is knowing your audience. If you don’t know much about the people who work for you, then you cannot possibly gift them the right way. Try not to be generic with your reward program; that isn’t going to be the way that you bring in the best talent at the best time. Your team matters and when you give regular rewards, they feel appreciated and motivated to work hard.

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