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Boosting Employee Morale in Q1: Creative Recognition Strategies

Posted, by Deborah Merkin
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As companies head into the first quarter of the year, it’s important to stay focused on employee morale. It can be easy to focus on business goals and ease up on employee engagement initiatives after the holiday season. However, employee engagement needs to be a year-round endeavor to be effective. The first quarter is the perfect time to boost motivation at work by testing innovative recognition programs to see what resonates with your employees.

This blog will discuss creative employee recognition ideas while also covering how to effectively apply these methods to maximize their impact on your business. 


Employee Rewards 

Rewards are a key part of any employee recognition strategy. Employers give rewards for a variety of reasons: high performance, going above and beyond, collaborating effectively, providing exceptional leadership, and more. Rewarding employees is critical because it adds a material component to the employee recognition program. This creates memorable experiences that  employees associate with hard work. In turn, this leads to a return on the investment in the rewards program by the organization. 

Rewards can come in a variety of forms with the most traditional employee reward being a cash bonus. However, if you’re looking for more creative employee recognition ideas, gift cards are a compelling alternative. Gift cards are versatile and customizable, while being flexible enough to fit any budget. 

The Engage2Reward Gift Card Ordering Platform allows you to select and deliver gift cards digitally with the click of a mouse, making it perfect for remote workforces. Some of our best-selling gift card brands can provide a variety of experiences to fit your diverse workforce. For example: 


Executive Access 

Sometimes boosting employee morale needs to go beyond rewards. Providing access to company executives within a department or across the organization is an impactful way to motivate employees. It also allows employees to connect their work with the company's broader goals.  

You can grant executive access in many ways. Formalize a program to ensure all recognized employees have access to executives of equal seniority. This could come in many forms: 

  • Lunch and learn program 
  • Breakfast with the executive 
  • Rotating executive office hour 
  • Executive Q&A sessions 

Executive access can be uniquely effective early in the year as employees align around organizational goals for the following six to twelve months. Connecting employees to company goals can positively affect motivation, morale, and productivity. 


Team Bonding 

Boosting motivation at work can often start by taking employees out of the work environment for team bonding. Encouraging colleagues to connect outside of work promotes deeper personal understanding, which in turn leads to better collaboration and working relationships. This comes with the bonus of creating memorable experiences for employees to share with their coworkers. 

Incorporating gift cards into team bonding initiatives allows the employee recognition program administrator to control costs by deciding the company’s contribution. Gift cards let employees form smaller groups, build stronger connections, and stay within the organization's budget. The Engage2Reward Platform includes bulk brand gift cards that are great for team bonding, like:  

  • Buffalo Wild Wings® to allow a team to catch a sporting event after work together  
  • Dave & Buster’s for some friendly competition and team-building 
  • Applebee’s® provides an opportunity for teams to share a meal together  
  • Topgolf for when the team wants to stay active and have fun 
  • Panera Bread for the team that wants to grab a quick breakfast or lunch together during the workday  

Boosting motivation at work and employee morale early in the year helps set the tone for the year ahead. When employees feel recognized, supported and rewarded, companies also boost employee loyalty and even productivity. Investing in creative employee recognition early in the year yields lasting results, positively impacting your organization's bottom line. 

View our gift card catalog and get started today.

Topics: Rewards & Loyalty, Employee Engagement

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