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What’s the Best Form of Employee Rewards?

Employee rewards in modern organizations have been evolving over the years. Organizations have tried everything from trophies, company-branded merchandise, durables, electronics, holiday packages, gift vouchers, and even cash. So, what is the best form of employee rewards?

As you might have guessed by now, there is no single right answer to this question! The answer is ‘it depends’.

It depends on various factors ranging from the industry type to employee seniority level right down to individual employee preferences.

Integrate Reward and Recognition with Innovation Efforts

Given the complexity, organizations are faced with the daunting task of choosing the type of reward to give their employees.

Options for Employee Awards

However, a couple of options seem to make sense more than others. Rather than figuring out what employees would want, it would seem better to leave the choice to the employees themselves.

Given this, cash, digital currency, or popular gift vouchers would be the best options.

Gift Cards

Employees can use these rewards to get what they want rather than what the HR/ management thinks they want.

These work out far better than traditional company-branded merchandise or consumer durables.

Freedom of Choice for Success of Employee Rewards Programs

How do intangible rewards work out? It’s a good idea given the overuse of the other kinds of rewards.

Coffee/ dinner with the CEO, sponsored conferences and training programs, etc. can be great non-monetary rewards.  

Top Management Role in Employee Rewards and Recognition

We believe these types of rewards could get into the mainstream going forward.

Coupled with the social recognition from colleagues, employees would find these rewards more meaningful than others.


However, organizations need to understand the needs and preferences of their employees before deciding on the best form of employee rewards.

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurship experience. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn

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HiFives is a global employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. It is used by 100+ large enterprises, small businesses and startups in manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media, across 25+ countries.