Ideas for workplace incentives can be a struggle for a small business. How can we both encourage and reward great employee commitment, achievement or attitude? Having a close knit team of people all depending on one another, individual contributions can really shine. The challenge is recognising them and giving the right rewards – so, how do we do it?

For us, the intention isn’t to drive a competitive atmosphere, but rather to reward those employees who go over and above for their colleagues and the greater good of our working culture. They might be always willing and helpful, always expanding their skill and knowledge, perhaps have gone above and beyond to complete a project on time, gladly given their time and experience to support a colleague, noticed when someone needs guidance or a listening ear, or simply made the workplace a nicer place to be.

These acts of kindness, attitude and consideration deserve as much recognition as any other. Hireserve has always been in favour of not only acknowledging staff achievements but letting them be led by colleague nominations rather than a leadership team making the decision or setting it against arbitrary goals.

This is how we arrived at our Joint Managing Director, Karen Ovenden’s personal passion project – the Hireserve Hero awards. Every other month Karen ask all staff to nominate their hero, along with a brief explanation as to why they’re nominating – always looking back at our core values. At our company-wide team meeting, we then listen to all the lovely feedback and the person with either the most votes (or most compelling nomination) is our Hero.

They can choose to take one of the following:

  • The Long Weekend: An early finish on a Friday and a late start on a Monday to make the most of your weekend.
  • The Half-day Holiday: 0.5 days of annual leave to use whenever you would like within three months.
  • The One-day Wonder: A whole day to use for something outside of the office and your role, and to give you the opportunity to explore a hobby, interest or cause.

Here is how a couple of our employees have used their Hireserve Hero rewards:

After winning Hireserve Hero, I used the ‘One-Day Wonder’ option as my reward.

I spent the reward Celebrating the Chinese New Year and performing Chinese Lion Dance at my daughter’s school.

I also used the time to practice Lion Dance performance for performances throughout the Chinese New Year.

Thanks to Hireserve I was able to bring an important cultural tradition to life for local children – the kids were excited and had a great reception to the performance!

Chun-Yu Tsang, Support Desk Analyst



I’d always wanted to do a well-being Yoga course but couldn’t sign-up as the hour-long sessions ran during work time each school term for 9-10 sessions.

After I won, I wondered if I could choose the ‘One-Day Wonder’ as my reward for the award 😊

As this reward is for only one day, I was not sure if I could use it for my yoga course as it runs for an hour over multiple weeks. I shared my interest in the course with Karen and (as always) she was very supportive.

I was approved to use my reward for 7 of the sessions and for the remaining 2 used a half-day from my annual leave.

I am so glad I could do the course and the reward was a great opportunity to enjoy an activity I was so interested to do.

Many thanks to Hireserve for launching the employee awards scheme and the team for nominating me!

Archana Mahabaleshwarkar, Technical Services Manager

About the author

Tristan Potter

From recruitment into central government, to financial services and the charitable sector, Leah has worked across many industries in her wide ranging career! Now working as Hireserve's Senior Marketing Executive, Leah covers all things marketing - from maintaining our social media channels to managing logistics for events across the country.