Employee engagement

Fuel Your Business: 30+ Custom Rewards for Supercharged Teams

Vanessa Kahn
December 7, 2023
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In the competitive landscape of today's business world, employee engagement and recognition are not just buzzwords; they are essential drivers of success. When employees feel valued, appreciated, and recognized for their contributions, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal to their organizations. 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, when implemented thoughtfully, can serve as a powerful tool to boost morale, promote teamwork, and cultivate a thriving work 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 33 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. 

Appreciating Employees Holistically 

Appreciation is more than just words of thanks; it's about recognizing and valuing employees in a way that truly resonates with them. We know that appreciation is key to employee satisfaction and retention, and we're committed to helping companies cultivate a culture of appreciation that matters.

Bonusly has developed a framework based on extensive research on appreciation, human motivation, psychology, and sociology; it encompasses the essential elements of genuine appreciation. Our framework identifies three key facets that contribute to a holistic appreciation experience: connections, growth, and alignment.

Connections: Employees thrive when they feel connected to their colleagues. Connection-driven rewards, such as team-building activities and social events, strengthen relationships and build a cohesive team.

Growth: Providing opportunities for employees to learn and develop is crucial for their professional advancement and overall satisfaction. Growth-oriented rewards, such as mentorship programs and skill-building courses, empower employees to reach their full potential.

Alignment: When employees' personal values align with the company's mission, they feel a sense of purpose and connection. Values-based rewards, such as charitable donations and sustainable initiatives, demonstrate the company's commitment to shared values.

Bonusly is dedicated to making it easy for companies to fulfill these appreciation needs, fostering a workplace where employees feel valued, connected, and empowered to achieve remarkable results. With Bonusly, you can create custom rewards that fall within the goals of fostering connections, performance, and values while also being fun and meaningful rewards for employees!

Creative Custom Employee Reward Ideas

Performance rewards: fueling growth and achievement

Performance rewards are designed to recognize and incentivize employees for their individual and team accomplishments. These rewards should align with the company's values and performance goals, and they should be tailored to the interests and preferences of the employees being rewarded.

Here are some examples of effective performance rewards:

  • A day of mentorship: Studies show that 87% of mentors and mentees feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and have developed greater confidence. Mentorship provides guidance, support, and exposure to new perspectives, leading to higher job satisfaction and performance! Finding ways for in person and remote employees to learn from and engage with each other is a win-win-win.
  • Shadowing someone in the company: A study by Gallup found that 87% of employees say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important to them in a job. In fact, lack of growth and development opportunities are one of the top reasons employees leave their companies. Shadowing allows employees to gain valuable insights into different roles, enhancing their understanding of company processes and boosting cross-departmental collaboration. It also helps them understand the ways they can apply their skills beyond the confines of their role enabling high performance across your organization’s teams.
  • A free month of Coursera or Udemy: According to LinkedIn Learning, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if they invested in their career development. Access to online learning platforms empowers employees with new skills and knowledge, leading to increased problem-solving abilities and improved performance. Investing in learning opportunities for your employees means they will feel valued, learn more and apply it to further their career and your organization’s business goals.
  • Work-from-home day: A study by FlexJobs reveals that 65% of employees report increased productivity when working remotely! Offering occasional work-from-home days fosters a flexible work environment, reducing stress and boosting productivity. If work from home days are a treat at your company, allowing employees to redeem their points in exchange for work-from-home days is a great way to reward employees with flexibility in their work schedules and get a productivity boost!
  • Meditation subscription: Research by Headspace found that meditation can reduce stress by 32%, leading to better focus and increased emotional well-being. Employees who manage stress effectively are more resilient, adaptable, and able to perform at their peak. Investing in your employees mental wellness benefits your organization and your employees.
  • Local classes: According to Harvard Business Review studies have found that creative activity while away from work may be a leisure activity that provides employees essential resources to perform at a high level. Learning new skills outside of work can improve critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, enhancing overall performance.
  • House cleaning: Chores are a bore! Studies show that chores can contribute to stress and anxiety. Offering house cleaning services, or gift cards for a home cleaning service allows employees to focus on personal well-being and recharge, leading to increased motivation and productivity. Keep it local to support other businesses in your community!
  • Local gym membership: A study by the American Psychological Association found that regular physical activity improves cognitive function and reduces stress. Employees who prioritize their physical health are more likely to have higher energy levels, focus, and resilience, leading to improved performance.


Connection rewards are designed to incentivize employees for their accomplishment by tapping into our human desires to connect with others.  By nurturing a sense of belonging and fostering strong relationships among colleagues, organizations cultivate a thriving work environment that empowers employees to connect, collaborate, and achieve remarkable results.

Here are some examples of effective connection rewards:

Team-building experiences:
  • Escape rooms: These challenging and collaborative activities require teamwork and communication, fostering bonds and problem-solving skills. Not only do challenges like escape rooms provide your employees with a fun activity, they also help develop collaboration skills!
  • Volunteer days: Giving back to the community together provides a shared experience that promotes camaraderie and social responsibility. Volunteer days can be tailored for your company values or community partnerships, or they can be more free form so employees can self organize based on their philanthropic passions. 
  • Cooking classes: Learning to cook together can be a fun and engaging way to build connections and create lasting memories. Plus, you get a great meal out of it! At Bonusly we believe that the best cultures are grassroots, so you can even have employees volunteer to host different classes where they share a recipe they love, or a traditional recipe from their culture. 
  • Co-op games: While it may not be conventional, organizing time for employees to play games together - either video games or physical games - can feel like a reward to the employee while developing their communication and collaboration skills further. If you have gamers on your team, organizing time to reward them with video game time means they will have some time to do what they love, with people they like!
Social events:
  • Company outings: Organize events like bowling nights, movie screenings, or sporting event outings to create opportunities for informal interaction and social bonding.
  • Lunch and learns: Invite guest speakers or team members to share their expertise over lunch, fostering knowledge sharing and informal conversation.
  • Game nights: Organize board game tournaments, video game competitions, or other game-based activities to promote friendly competition and laughter.
  • Potlucks: Encourage employees to bring dishes from their favorite cultures or cuisines to share and celebrate diversity within the team.
  • Game tickets: Is your organization ready to root, root, root for the home team? You can offer game seats as custom rewards in Bonusly. Bonus if you can organize your teams to meet up at the same game!
Wellness activities:
  • Yoga or meditation classes: These classes can help employees de-stress and connect with their inner selves, ultimately creating a more relaxed and supportive team environment.
  • Group fitness challenges: Organize fitness activities like walking challenges, step competitions, or group workout sessions to encourage physical activity and build connections in a healthy way.
  • Mindfulness workshops: These workshops can teach employees techniques for managing stress and improving focus, leading to better communication and collaboration.
  • Book clubs: Encourage employees to read and discuss books together to create a shared intellectual experience and spark meaningful conversations.
 Personalized gifts:
  • Matching team apparel: Create custom t-shirts, hoodies, or hats with your company logo or a fun team slogan to promote a sense of belonging and unity. And you can even use Bonusly to automatically fulfill these products by uploading your custom designs to Axomo!
  • Engraved gifts: Offer personalized gifts like water bottles, notebooks, or pens with the employee's name or a special message to show your appreciation. Having shared gifts for employees can be a small tangible reminder of their working connections, especially if their language of appreciation is gifts!
  • Subscription boxes: Gift employees subscription boxes related to their interests, such as coffee, snacks, or hobbies, to encourage them to share and connect with colleagues who have similar passions. You can fulfill the boxes, or share a gift card and put the choice of boxes back in employees’ hands. 
  • Experiences: Offer unique experiences like tickets to a concert, sporting event, or cultural show to create shared memories and lasting connections. By offering experiences that are time boxed, you might successfully get a few employees on the same experience where they can bond!
  • 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!


Employees now want to work for organizations that align with their personal values. Values-based rewards provide a meaningful way to recognize and appreciate employees while simultaneously demonstrating the company's commitment to its core principles. By aligning rewards with company values, organizations foster a sense of shared purpose and belonging, empowering employees to connect their work to a larger mission.

Here are some examples of effective values based rewards:

  • Virtual Food Drive: Offer a unique and impactful reward that feeds both employee morale and local communities: a virtual food drive with Bonusly and Feeding America! Employees can donate Bonusly points, providing meals directly to families in need. 10 points = 1 dollar = 10 meals! The virtual platform simplifies the giving process both on your end and on the fulfillment end. Just tally up the points and make a dollar donation equal to the value!
  • 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. Flattening natural hegemony in organizations helps employees feel valued no matter their position.
  • Extra day of vacation: Let’s be honest, maybe the most valuable reward is time spent rejuvenating and relaxing, so that employees can come back better than before. Since Bonusly points are a direct result of recognition from performance, consider offering your employees an extra day off to show them they are valued for their contributions. Time off has significant effects on increased performance and engagement!
  • 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 you create a shared cause among your organization!
  • Pool points for a hackathon: Host a "Hackathon" where employees have a limited time to develop new solutions to a real-world problem. You can use Bonusly points to have a ‘buy in’ amount for teams to participate. You can even use Bonusly to award prizes for the most innovative and impactful solutions. Hosting a hackathon shows employees you value their innovation and creativity, it lets your employees flex their professional skills and challenge themselves to do something great in a short period of time, and fosters collaboration across departments and employees.
  • Sustainable commitment: Offer sustainable products and services to employees at a discount. This could include energy-efficient appliances, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, or reusable water bottles to show your company values and invests in environmental sustainability.

Other Fun, Cheap and Easy Rewards! 

  • 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.
  • Reserved parking spot: A parking spot with our name on it for a month? Sign us up! It might seem like a small luxury, but a parking spot is a VIP experience and can incentivize employees!
  • Desk plant: For the green thumbs on your team, a desk plant is a great reward to keep the inspiration (and extra oxygen) flowing! 

Remember: These rewards are most impactful when personalized to individual preferences and contributions. By investing in unique rewards, you can foster a culture of appreciation, motivation, and high performance within your organization.

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

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