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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Tangible Rewards

Tangible rewards are physical gifts or prizes employers give to employees for outstanding performance or to motivate them to complete a task or project. They are highly effective at reinforcing good behavior.

In contrast to intangible rewards such as praise or recognition, tangible rewards are more concrete and measurable. Examples of tangible rewards include gift cards, monetary incentives, stock options, and other benefits such as health care coverage and retirement plans.

The most common tangible reward is gift cards. They are popular for two reasons: 

  • They are easy to send and convenient for the recipient to redeem.
  • They allow the recipient to choose the reward they want.

What are tangible rewards?

Tangible rewards are physical gifts or prizes that are given to employees for outstanding performance. These rewards may include things like gift cards, money, or other items of value. Tangible rewards are things that you can see, touch and feel. They are often given to employees for doing a good job. 

Examples of tangible rewards include:

  • Digital gift cards
  • Cash bonus
  • Awards and trophies
  • Product discounts or coupons
  • Free products or services
  • Travel packages like airline tickets and hotel stays
  • Perks such as free parking, free lunches, etc.
Listen, recognize, award, and retain your employees with our Employee engagement software  

What is the difference between tangible and non tangible rewards?

The differences between tangible rewards and non-tangible rewards are:

  • These have a monetary value attached to them. 
  • These don't have a monetary value attached to them.
  • These are physical items and can be something like a digital gift card, money, or even a trophy.
  • These cannot be physically touched and can only be felt by the employees. It could be praise, appreciation, or even a salary hike.
  • These rewards give the employee an incentive to work hard and achieve more productivity in their tasks.
  • These rewards can be given out by employers to reward employees for going above and beyond what was expected of them.
  • Encourages an employee to perform well on the job.
  • Provides a sense of achievement or boosts an employee's morale.

Why are tangible rewards important?

Tangible rewards are important because they allow people to see their progress and celebrate their achievements. This can help them stay motivated and engaged in your company's goals. It also helps build a sense of community among employees — if they are working together toward a common goal, they'll feel more like a team and less like individuals.

What are the examples of tangible rewards?

Here are some examples of tangible rewards:

  • A monetary award, such as a cash bonus or digital gift card
  • A token or memento (e.g., a pen or mousepad)
  • A certificate or plaque recognizing your achievement

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What are the advantages of tangible rewards?

Here's why tangible rewards are beneficial for a company:

  • They are easy to give out.
  • They motivate people more than non-tangible rewards.
  • They don't require extensive planning time or effort, making them an excellent option for businesses with limited budgets.
  • They make a company stand out from competitors who offer fewer employee benefits.
  • They are more cost-effective than intangible rewards because they can be distributed more quickly than intangible rewards such as praise or recognition. 

What are the disadvantages of tangible rewards?

Here are the disadvantages of tangible rewards:

  • The cost of offering tangible rewards can be high, especially if you have a large workforce.
  • People who get tangible rewards may stop wanting to do something because they have received a reward.
  • They can damage relationships between coworkers. If one person receives a bonus and another doesn't, then that creates jealousy and resentment among coworkers who feel like they're being left out or treated unfairly. 
  • They often lead to less intrinsic motivation.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

What are the types of tangible rewards?

Tangible rewards are specific and concrete. They are easy to identify, understand, and check off. They are usually things like money, prizes, or certificates.

There are different types of tangible rewards, which include:

  • Gift cards: These are one of the most common kinds of tangible rewards and are also one of the most versatile. You can use them for anything from food to entertainment, and many people like receiving gift cards because they can choose what they want or need.
  • Awards and trophies: These have become popular over time and come in many shapes and sizes but typically represent some achievement (e.g., salesperson of the month).
  • Monetary incentives: These are one of the most common forms of tangible reward because it's quick and easy to give out.

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