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Types Of Rewards: A Quick Guide For HRs

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When we talk about rewards, we essentially classify the multiple ways to appreciate your employees better.

Typically, the rewards can be divided into three main categories-

  • intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards,
  • non-financial versus financial rewards,
  • membership versus performance-based rewards.

Unlike popular perceptions, you can reward employees without breaking the bank. Monetary rewards are not the whole reward system but only a tiny part of it. Nowadays, even small businesses can afford to recognize their workforce through affordable gift cards.

The past two decades have seen a constant rise in companies investing in an employee reward system. Why? Because it works. When people feel valued, they:

  1. Get a feeling of accomplishment, which results in higher job satisfaction and productivity.
  2. More likely to improve job performance and organizational results.
  3. Enhances employee experience and inspires loyalty.

Altogether, having a reward and recognition program is beneficial not only for the workforce but also for the company.

Let's have a look at the three different types of rewards and what each of them carries.

The 3 Major Types Of Rewards

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1. Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Rewards

Intrinsic rewards are the rewards that are non-tangible but yet results in higher levels of job satisfaction. Some examples are- an impressive job title, career growth, personal achievements, praises, etc.

Extrinsic rewards are tangible rewards that employees receive upon doing good work. It includes bonuses, raises, gifts, etc.

Intrinsic rewards make employees feel valued in a company. Similarly, extrinsic rewards focus on improving employees' performance through appreciation. It's necessary to find a balance between extrinsic (performance) and intrinsic (motivation).

You can also read: Extrinsic Motivation: All You Need To Know

2. Non-financial versus Financial Rewards

Financial rewards work by positively contributing to the overall employees' financial wellbeing. It includes bonuses, salary raises, etc.

Non-financial types of rewards do not provide any financial gain to the employee. Instead, it focuses on appreciating employees through employee benefits. Gym memberships, parking spaces, gift cards are a few examples.

Non-financial rewards are more feasible for companies to reward employees mainly because:

  • Long-term effects as compared to financial rewards: Employees are more likely to keep enjoying the benefits. However, financial rewards give one-time satisfaction.
  • Employees feel more comfortable about discussing their rewards with their peers.
  • For the same performance, financial incentives require higher investment.
  • It's a more affordable option for small businesses and startups.

3. Membership versus Performance-based Rewards

Performance-based rewards are allocated based on the performance of an employee in a company. Performance-based rewards are given in pay plans, incentive systems, group bonuses, or commissions.

Membership-based rewards are given in the form of benefits and services provided to the company's employees. For example, it might be in the form of the annual Christmas bonus, company retreat, upgraded office furnishing, etc.

How To Reward Employees In A More Effective Manner?

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  1. Having a reward system that fits your organizational needs will make recognizing employees much more effective. Vantage Rewards is an easy-to-use, cloud-based rewards platform that automates and simplifies employee recognition.

  2. Make sure the type of reward fits the person you're rewarding. For example, performance-based rewards would more benefit a salesperson. Similarly, a new hire will be more motivated by intrinsic rewards such as praises and career advancement.

  3. Recognition from one's peers is a strong motivating factor for any employee. So, therefore, it matters the type of reward, be sure to acknowledge it openly. Put it up on social media, office notice boards, and give the award publicly.

  4. Frequent and timely recognition is a crucial factor. Never hold off rewarding a piece of good work for a later date.

  5. It's essential to measure the effectiveness of your reward system. One way to do so is to take the necessary feedback from your staff.

What types of rewards do they prefer? Are the rewards motivating? Do they feel that anything can be improved?


According to you, which of the above types of rewards would suit your company the most? Please drop us a mail and share your thoughts with us!

This article is written by Barasha Medhi who is a part of the marketing team at Vantage Circle. Barasha can be found either searching for interesting HR, company culture, and corporate buzzwords to write about or looking at pictures of cozy Bel Air mansions. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com.

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The Ultimate Guide to Employee Rewards and Recognition

The Ultimate Guide to Employee Rewards and Recognition