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Elevate Your Employee Recognition Program with Experiential Rewards

Dec 10, 2018

Employee rewards are an integral part of maintaining a productive work environment and keeping employee engagement at a sustainable high. A strategic points-based recognition and rewards program can be a great way for managers to recognize outstanding performance and positive behaviours and reward staff for efforts that move the business forward.

Through our own studies, we know that if employees are not recognized for their positive behaviours within the first four months of employment, they actively begin to disengage, leading to high turnover and an inability to retain top performers. Even more, it has been proven that companies with highly engaged employees achieve higher customer satisfaction numbers for their own clients.

In these types of employee recognition programs, employees earn reward points for a variety of achievements. Participants accumulate points over time and redeem them for ultra-motivating, ultra-customizable award options such as experiences, merchandise, travel, events, and more.

Every time a program participant receives reward points, they feel the dopamine effect – they feel good about what they’re doing and the things they’ve accomplished. This keeps them focused, directed, and willing to repeat the behaviours.

The Efficacy Continuum

Not all rewards are equal. To make your investment pay off, you need efficacy. Efficacy refers to the ability something has to produce a desired result. We know—and research confirms—that hedonic rewards, or those on the right side of the spectrum below, have higher efficacy than those that are cash or utilitarian-based. 

efficacy continuum


A study by Harris Group found that 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things. According to Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia (UBC), experiences—as fleeting as they may be—deliver more-lasting happiness than material things. Dr. Dunn attributes the temporary happiness achieved by buying things to what she calls “puddles of pleasure”.

In other words, that kind of happiness evaporates quickly and leaves us wanting more. Things may last longer than experiences, but the memories that linger are what matter most.

By offering up experiences or experiential rewards to your employees, you're creating a reward that your employee will talk about back in the office, re-live time and time again, and will instill some serious Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) when they post pictures of where they've been.

We recently introduced 350 new reward experiences to our Global Rewards Marketplace. From World Cup finals tickets to a Masai Mari Safari National Reserve tour, here are eight reward experiences your employees deserve – and really want!

1. Spa Experience

Relaxing music. Relaxing massage. Endless attention. Need we say more? Show appreciation to your employees with some dedicated ‘me time’ by giving them the option to redeem for a spa day. Spa experiences offered under our Global Rewards Marketplace gives reward participants a safe space to relax, rejuvenate, and de-stress in a wellness environment. Employees will return to work reinvigorated, refreshed, and motivated.

2. Wine Tasting or Brewery Tours

Many people like to wind down with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. Give reward participants the opportunity to up their taste level with an Okanagan Valley, Napa Valley, or Windsor Caesars wine tour for two – including hotel accommodation. 

We don’t stop there. We also offer a five star Munich with beer and food tour for two. Let them discover Bavarian beer halls, beer culture, and visit a traditional beer garden and world-famous Hofbräuhaus and Oktoberfest Museum.

wine tasting as an experiential reward

3. Extreme Adventures

The benefits of exercise on our performance in the workplace are well documented, but the last thing you want to reward your employees with is a trip to the gym. Instead, look for extreme adventure experiences like zip lining, white water rafting, kayaking, or even skiing. Not only will this give them an experience they can talk about and share, but exercising creates a sense of euphoria and can even lead to extended periods of increased happiness.

4. Music or Sporting Event Tickets

It's pretty much impossible to find someone who doesn't love either a certain kind of music or a specific sports team. With experiential rewards from our Global Rewards Marketplace, reward participants can attend the American Music Awards, Grammy Awards, and Emmy Awards after-party, or a concert at venues like the Scotiabank Arena or Rogers Arena. We also offer tickets to plays, museums, fairs, conventions, and theme parks.

We’ll get your participants into pretty much any pro, college, or minor league event in Canada or abroad, including the World Cup Soccer Finals. And did we mention the Olympic Games?

world cup as an experiential reward

5. A Relaxing Sunny Getaway

According to a recent travel rewards study conducted by BI WORLDWIDE, when it comes to describing an employee’s best possible vacation experience, "unplugging" is favoured 4x more than any other activity choice. (Yes, even more than spa days, front row concert tickets and heli-skiing or zip lining.)

Offer them a range of meticulously-planned experiences that cater to their unique travel style. Or, let them create their own travel experiences using points with our proprietary self-booking travel engine, VentureOut.

6. The Masters Golf Tournament

Notice that your employees are always talking about hitting the links on the weekends? Why not reward them with the premier golf experience at The Masters. Seen by many as the ultimate golf event on the planet, The Masters is played each April at lush Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The tournament consists of three practice round days and four tournament days.

Attending the U.S. Masters is a once in a lifetime experience for most people. Don't let your employees miss the chance to see some of the world's top golf professionals take the course at The Masters, whether it be for a single day or the whole weekend!

the masters golf tournament

7. Private Virgin Islands Cruise for Two

Sometimes work is demanding and it's hard to find time to spend with loved ones. Give your employees the chance to earn a week-long leisurely cruise throughout the Virgin Islands on their own private yacht. Private crewed yacht charters provide participants with their own personal captain and chef. They may also have the opportunity to take the wheel if they wish, or simply sit back, relax and enjoy all of the pleasures that the islands have to offer.

8. Italian Wine and Cooking Tour

Tuscany has long been a favourite destination for food-lovers but this exclusive four-day tour adds something special: the chance for reward participants to learn how to cook like an Italian by hand-picked local chefs. They will also have the chance to take an exclusive foodie tour of Florence, which includes lunch at a traditional trattoria, and a private tasting at a local winery. This is the perfect gourmet break to a region of Italy synonymous with great holidays and fantastic food.

It that’s not enough, we also offer a Monaco Grand Prix race experience, Fighter Pilot for a Day experience, Zero Gravity Weightless Flight experience, a Kenyan Orphanage Volunteering and Masai Mara Safari tour, and many more.

safari employee reward

We know that experiences are the best way to reward and recognize your employees. They’re more memorable, personal, and shareable than monetary rewards like cash and gift cards. And the best part? They empower employees to indulge in their passions, explore new hobbies, and challenge their comfort zones through thrilling adventures.

And for you? They’re proven to positively impact employee engagement, improve performance rates, and build a culture of recognition that boosts your employee value proposition (EVP) or employer brand (EB).

Ready to take your recognition efforts to the next level? Contact us to learn more about our Global Rewards Marketplace, including our 350 new buzz-worthy experiences.

There's something for everyone in our Global Rewards Marketplace

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