Image with illustrated reward ideas

15 Creative Custom Employee Reward Ideas + Best Practices

Written by
Vanessa Kahn
Vanessa Kahn

Recognition coupled with meaningful rewards can have a powerful impact on company culture, employee engagement, and satisfaction. Bonusly has over 1,200 rewards in hundreds of countries for our customers to choose from. That said, we know each of our customers has a unique culture to support and one way to do that is through Custom Rewards. Custom Rewards are a great way to personalize your company's reward catalog and can be added by Bonusly admins to offer incentives unique to your company culture. In contrast to standard rewards, which are fulfilled electronically by Bonusly, Custom Rewards are fulfilled by you, offline. 

If you’re looking for a place to get started, we have 15 Custom Reward ideas to help your culture shine. ☀️ Before we get into the ideas, let’s talk about best practices for Custom Rewards. 

Best practices

What does a good Custom Reward look like?

  • Affordable 
  • Desirable and exciting 
  • Aligned with your culture

How many points should Custom Rewards cost employees?

As a best practice, the price of your least expensive Custom Rewards should be less than the employee's monthly allowance. So if your employees receive 100 points per month to give out, price your least expensive tier of Custom Rewards at 100 points or less. You can also offer aspirational rewards that are more expensive, but you want to make sure that employees feel like rewards are attainable in a reasonable amount of time.

Another approach to Custom Rewards is to incentivize employees to purchase certain rewards, like wellness or professional development rewards, by subsidizing their price. 

How much will Custom Rewards cost the company? 

The option to have Custom Rewards is included with your Bonusly subscription. The only expense you’ll have to consider is the reward itself. Since it’s customizable, you can get as creative as you’d like with what rewards you want to offer.

Adding Custom Rewards will take some administrator time to setup, but management and maintenance is minimal. More than two thirds of Bonusly admins report that they spend less than two hours per month maintaining Bonusly. 

Every company is different, so we encourage you to put your own spin on Custom Rewards, the key is to ensure that they fit within your company culture and support your company values. Without further ado, let’s get into some Custom Reward ideas that have proven effective for some of our customers. 

Creative Custom Employee Reward Ideas

1. Lunch with CEO

The CEO can often feel unapproachable for many employees, especially newer or lower level employees. If your CEO is willing to host a once-per-month or once-per-quarter open lunch for employees who purchase this reward, it can be a great way for employees to build trust with the leadership team and ask the CEO questions about the organization. 

2. Local experiences

There’s likely plenty to celebrate about your company’s home-city. Do you have an award-winning zoo, a happening coffee scene, or a performing arts center that rivals Broadway? If you have a local employee base, you can offer these experiences as Custom Rewards. Bonus points for the employees who coordinate with a coworker and partake in local activities together! 👯‍♀️

3. Game tickets

Is your organization ready to root, root, root for the home team? You can offer game seats as Custom Rewards in Bonusly. 

4. Extra day of vacation  

Let’s be honest, maybe the most valuable reward is time spent rejuvenating and relaxing. So consider offering your employees an extra break from the stress of work.

5. Custom donations

Though Bonusly has over 50+ donation options built into our platform, we know there are likely unique causes that are meaningful to your team. Whether it’s a local animal shelter, or a fund to help pay for a team member’s personal cause, Custom Rewards can help! 

6. Casual dress day

Though we can totally appreciate wanting to represent your organization in style, sometimes your employees just want a break from suits and dresses in exchange for jeans and T-shirts. That’s where a casual dress day Custom Reward can come in handy.

7. Work-from-home day

If working from home is a rarity for your organization, you can offer it as a reward. Sometimes a day of working next to a furry friend is the ultimate motivator. 

8. Local coffee shop gift card

You know that coffee shop down the block from your office? Why not offer your employees the reward of java. You’ll fuel your employees’ productivity and support local business, too! 

9. Meditation subscription

Prioritize your wellness program by offering opportunities for employees to relax and unwind with a meditation subscription, like Headspace.

10. Local classes 

If your team is always looking for ways to develop new skills in (and out) of the workplace, think about offering rewards like pottery, cooking, and woodworking classes.

11. House cleaning

When work gets busy, the house gets dirty. Offering your employees an opportunity to take a week off from cleaning their home is the ultimate reward. 

12. Stand up desk

A stand up desk or a desk treadmill are great aspirational rewards for those who like to work in motion. 

13. Local gym membership

Staying physically healthy is a big contributor to feeling mentally and emotionally healthy. Reward your employees with a membership to a gym or, if they like variety, a program like ClassPass. Employees who prioritize their physical health outside of work can bring their best selves to work every day! 

14. Reserved parking spot 

A parking spot with our name on it for a month? Sign us up!

15. Desk plant

For the green thumbs on your team, a desk plant is a great reward to keep the inspiration (and extra oxygen) flowing! 

What’s next? 

When it comes to Custom Rewards, the sky is your limit, the only requirement is to have fun! Your recognition program can and should be just as unique as your company. If you’re looking for more reward ideas, download these 65 creative reward ideas

Originally published on January 31, 2023 → Last updated January 31, 2023

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Vanessa Kahn

Vanessa is on the Marketing team at Bonusly and is excited to continue the conversation about employee engagement online. When she's not crafting the next email campaign, she can usually be found lacing up her hiking boots with a coffee in hand.


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