In employer reward and recognition programs, organizations offer prizes and praise for great work, top performers, anniversaries, or other significant milestones to help their employees feel valued and appreciated.

These expressions of pride and gratitude can result in several positive organizational outcomes, including:

  • Increased motivation
  • Improved productivity and performance
  • Enhanced engagement
  • Stronger teamwork and collaboration
  • Better talent attraction and retention

Ultimately, these reward programs work because they improve employee happiness and well-being, which is associated with improvements in the outcomes listed above. That's why, whether they take the form of cash prizes, gift cards to their favorite restaurants, or handwritten thank-you notes, employee reward systems are designed to help employees feel good and be well.

With a general emphasis on employee wellness, it's important to recognize that well-being is multidimensional, including everything from physical health to social and intellectual well-being. Because different rewards enhance different dimensions of wellness, employers must utilize a holistic conception of wellness and offer an array of prizes that cover every aspect of well-being.

Check out the following 24 employee reward ideas, broken down by the area of wellness they support, to supplement your holistic employee rewards and recognition program!

Physical Well-Being

While commonly thought of as the aesthetic of being fit, physical well-being encompasses the smooth running of all biological functions.

Physical Activity

Rewards For Boosting Physical Well-Being

#1 Healthy Lunch With The Boss
Employees rarely get a chance to chat one-on-one with the boss in a non-work setting. Reward employees with a conversation over a healthy meal to boost their nutritional health.
#2 Gym Membership
Without equipment at home, it can be difficult for employees to find the time or place to exercise. A free gym membership may be just what some employees need to develop a steady exercise habit.
#3 Adventure Day
Some employees may not feel a trip to the gym is much of a reward. For these workers, consider offering an adventure experience like ziplining, rock climbing, or kayaking to get them moving and have a great time too.

Emotional Well-Being

Emotional wellness refers to one's ability to react to their circumstances with appropriate and productive emotions that enable them to persist through challenges and appreciate positive developments.

Emotional Well

Rewards For Boosting Emotional Well-Being

#4 Massage
After a hard day's work, what many employees need most is a chance to unwind and relax. What better way to do that than with a free massage?
#5 Take Your Pet To Work Day
People love their pets. Providing workers with the opportunity to bring their pets to the office is a great way to recognize hard work while allowing them to show off their furry friends and enjoy their companionship throughout the workday
#6 Nap Time
Who doesn't love a good nap? Let employees catch some extra z's in a cozy nap room.

Financial Well-Being

Emotional Well

Financial wellness refers to one's financial stability and overall ability to manage their economic life. It can also be defined in terms of how one's financial knowledge and behaviors contribute to their short- and long-term goals.

Rewards For Boosting Financial Well-Being

#7 Subsidized Commuting Costs
As offices continue to return to work, commuting costs are rising significantly. Subsidizing these expenses for a job well done is a great way to reward employees and incentivize them to come into the office while removing a financial burden.
#8 Session With An Economic Advisor
Short- and long-term financial stability can be challenging to achieve. An appointment with an economic advisor can provide employees with much-needed guidance on developing sound economic habits.
#9 Pay Raise
Though a pay raise may not seem like the most thoughtful reward, that doesn't mean it's not desirable or impactful. Pay raises are a great way to swiftly improve an employee's financial stability and demonstrate gratitude for a job well done.

Social Well-Being

Someone is socially well to the extent that their social experiences, interactions, relationships, and networks help them cultivate a sense of belonging and support their overall health, happiness, and goals.

Emotional Well

Rewards For Boosting Social Well-Being

#10 Festival Or Sporting Event Tickets
Few things can cultivate a feeling of community or solidarity, like a large event with a big crowd. Reward your employees with a pair of tickets to their favorite band, sporting event, or festival. The positive feedback you'll receive is worth the expense of the tickets.
#11 Movie Day At the Office
An office movie day allows employees to take part in a collective emotional and thought-provoking experience which can quickly strengthen bonds and help cultivate a sense of belonging.
#12 Peer-To-Peer Recognition
Peer recognition can mean as much to an employee as recognition from their boss. Provide employees with a platform to express genuine commendation or praise to their team members.

Moral Well-Being

Emotional Well

Moral well-being refers to the degree to which one feels their thoughts, beliefs, and actions are aligned with their values and sense of purpose. This dimension of well-being allows individuals to feel at peace and in harmony with themselves and others.

Rewards For Boosting Moral Well-Being

#16 Donation To A Cause Of Their Choice
Donating to a cause that an employee finds personally meaningful is a great way to demonstrate that your organization cares deeply about its employees' values and will help them feel they are contributing to a morally or socially significant movement.
#17 Volunteering At A Nonprofit
The hands-on experience of working at a nonprofit for a cause that is aligned with an employee's overall goals and values can be extremely fulfilling and quickly boost their sense of purpose. Ask employees for their preferred nonprofit and give them time off to volunteer.
#18 Mission Trip
Some employees may want to do more than donate or work at a local nonprofit and work directly with the populations in need. Consider offering a mission trip where employees can travel around the world to support local communities.

Intellectual Well-Being

To be intellectually well is to have mental processes, abilities, desires, and tendencies that help one thrive. When a person is intellectually well, they actively participate in scholastic, cultural, and community activities. They also focus on expanding their knowledge and skills, which leads to a more stimulating and successful life.

Emotional Well

Rewards For Boosting Intellectual Well-Being

#19 Online Course Stipend
In addition to professional development training, it's important to reward employees with opportunities to learn about non-work-related topics. An online course can provide employees with the opportunity to learn about anything from the philosophy of consciousness to the history of racial and ethnic disparities to the fundamentals of quantum mechanics.
#20 Audiobook Subscription
Between work and personal obligations, it can be hard to find the time to sit down and read a book. An audiobook subscription can help the book lovers within your ranks indulge in their passion as they work on other tasks while not needing to create extra space in their schedules.
#21 Conference Ticket
Conferences allow employees to satisfy their intellectual curiosity as they listen to insights from industry experts and engage in thoughtful discussions with other attendees. When offering this reward, it's important not to restrict it to conferences that are directly related to one's occupation, as employees likely have many other intellectual interests.

Environmental Well-Being

Environmental wellness refers to the degree to which the various environments one inhabits (e.g., your home, car, office, etc.) are conducive to their health, happiness, goals, and values.

Emotional Well

Rewards For Boosting Environmental Well-Being

#22 Plants
Studies have shown that plants can reduce stress and increase productivity. Gift your employees with some greenery of their choice to improve their personal work environments.
#23 House Cleaning Service
An orderly house can decrease stress and improve motivation. Unfortunately, maintaining a clean home is easier said than done, especially after eight hours of work. A free house cleaning service will allow employees to reap the benefits of a tidy home without having to put in the effort to get it.
#24 Sun Lamps And A Bigger Office Window
Exposure to sunlight is critical for happiness. Consider providing sun lamps, which replicate the sun's mood-boosting and energizing light. Try moving them to an office with a larger window to bring even more light into their work environment.


Wellness-boosting rewards allow employers to recognize employees' work and express their gratitude while providing them with tools and opportunities to enhance their well-being.

When choosing a wellness reward, it's essential to consider each employee's wellness preferences as everyone has unique needs and wants. Handing out a prize for an area of wellness that workers don't require assistance with may do little to motivate employees to continue with their excellent work or increase employee engagement.

As a result, employers must avoid implementing a one-size-fits-all wellness-boosting rewards system and tailor their offerings to their organization's culture and the needs of individual employees. By doing so, they will maximize the value of the well-being rewards, reap the rewards of positive feedback on employee surveys, and ultimately, boost the bottom line of the company as a whole.