Employee Rewards based on Personal Milestones: A Quick Guide

Reward strategies help to create a work environment where employees are committed and motivated to go the extra mile to contribute towards the organizations success and progress.

Rani Joseph
Rani Joseph

Table of Contents

Jack Welch identified the crucial nature of employee milestone reward programs and employee rewards in this short quote:

“There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

Everyone wants to be recognized and rewarded for their effort, especially high performing workers. When employees don’t get sufficient recognition and rewards for their efforts, it is inevitable that they leave in the face of a better opportunity. Studies tell us that this is because employees don’t feel engaged or fulfilled in their current job, especially if their only incentive is their salary.  Therefore, having an employee reward strategy is not just a part of the effort of driving employee retention but is also to promote employee loyalty.

Since the boom of the internet and the digital age, employment opportunities have increased, causing a shift in how, when, and where people work. Most careers, in earlier times, began in the basement, and employees had to painstakingly work their way up the company ladder. However, in the digital age, there are new concepts like remote work and freelancing which has reduced the number of employees who are ready to work for regular jobs. With 56.7 million US citizens in the gig economy, embracing the freelance work-life, there is a lower job seeker to available job ratio. This is probably why nearly 3.4 million people in the United States gave two weeks’ notice to their bosses in April 2018.

In this kind of a talent market, where employees have full confidence that they can easily find a new job, employers are tasked with engaging their employees to ensure that they have attrition under control. The combination of a strong economy and high job security in the US has led to a number of employees either quitting their jobs to pursue other priorities including starting their own business, trying out a new business venture, or a new job. There is also a large percentage of job-hoppers who refuse to stay with a particular job. Everyone wants to feel like they are using their lives for something significant and that they truly belong wherever they find themselves.

The best way to ensure that your employees feel fulfilled, supported, and appreciated with their job is to have a robust recognition and reward strategy. Reward strategies also help to create a work environment where employees are committed and motivated to go the extra mile to contribute towards the organization’s success and progress.

Employee Milestone Recognition Programs: How they fit in with Employee Rewards

"Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated." -Robert McNamara, Former American Secretary of Defense

This is probably why many top companies and businesses have tried their best to develop tight reward strategies and systems that ensure they can retain their employees. However, many employers haven’t considered the rewards of implementing employees’ personal milestones in their rewarding strategies. This will not only help to engage employees but also foster loyalty. Below are some employee milestones and how they can be implemented in your reward strategies.


One of the best ways to make people feel like you care about them is by remembering their birthdays. The same goes for employment in your workplace. A birthday is a very important milestone to mark for an employee, especially if the employee has a very good performance rate. You can reward your employees’ birthdays with:

  • Paid Time Off
    Your business or company can include every employee’s birthday on the timesheets as paid time off. If you have a large number of employees, supervisors, or team leaders can be tasked with knowing and reporting employee’s birthday so they can be given the day off.
  • Restaurant Coupons
    How special will your employee feel if you could provide him or her with a restaurant coupon promising a 50% discount for a special dinner on his or her birthday? The company can pay for the discount or through a partnership with the restaurants. So, employees can enjoy a discount off their meals with friends or family on their birthday.
  • Gift Cards
    Another way to reward employees is to give them gift cards on their birthdays. In a business with few employees like 5-10 employees, this would be an ideal arrangement. It’s not about the money, it’s about the fact that you have your employees in mind.


Another great reward system is rewarding your employees who are getting married. Apart from the usual honeymoon leave, employees can be given cash or even gift cards for a restaurant or shop to congratulate them on their wedding.

New parents

Companies should also make arrangements to celebrate with new parents. Apart from the usual maternity leave holiday and other benefits for a new mother or father in the company. The company or organization can also give new parents a congratulatory gift.

Work Anniversary

As employees spend more years in your company or organization, they become more and more valuable. Their number of years in the company and their loyalty has allowed them to acquire skills for managing different scenarios that may arise as well as predictable and unpredictable problems. In a business that thrives on acquiring customers, many employees have managed to bring a large number of customers and have contributed to retaining those customers.

These employees who have remained loyal to your organization deserve a reward for every year they spend with the company. Even if no new promotion opportunities appear, openly celebrating your employees’ work anniversary is a good way to engage your employees and encourage them to work harder.

Employee Performance Recognition

Although many employers find it easy to criticize their employees, very few know how important it is to recognize their employees’ hard work and performance. For example, you might have a junior staff whose presentations have flaws almost every time you check through. You can reward such staff the moment you discover progress in his performance. Recognizing employees’ effort, a new contract scored, the number of customers acquired, exceeded quotas, achieved goals, etc. is an important way to engage your employees. Employee recognition is a reward strategy that increases productivity in the workplace. As employees compete to exceed their quotas, they contribute to the growth of the organization.

Of course, employee recognition cannot work except employers also set out the business goals to be achieved as well as the qualities to be recognized and rewarded. Therefore, employers and even team leaders or supervisors need to keep track of company milestones and projects that deserve recognition, employee personal goals and the form of appreciation employees prefer. Then expectations can be set for what deserves reward and recognition.


Employee engagement software that can help HR managers to completely automate the process of rewarding during the personal milestones of employees. Platforms like that, automatically credit the employee's accounts with reward points on their personal milestone day, as pre-decided by the HR manager. These reward points can be further redeemed by the employee to purchase a wide range of experiences and gift vouchers.

Celebrating employee’s personal milestones as well as their workplace milestones helps them realize that they are valued members of the company. It makes them feel important to the company, regardless of the number of employees. Most times, it also helps align employee’s goals with company goals, core values, and mission.

Celebrate employee milestones the way they are supposed to be with Empuls. Want to know more? Book a demo or start a free trial.

Rani Joseph

Rani Joseph LinkedIn

Rani Joseph comes with a decade-long experience across the value chain of content and brand marketing. She currently is the Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Xoxoday.