Employee Incentives

Employee incentives reward good employees for achieving certain goals or reaching specific milestones. There are several employee incentive program examples. Many of the most popular include some sort of financial compensation. Chron states that in order for incentives to be effective they must be viable and clearly defined. Some companies are also learning how to effectively reward employees without money. There are several ways to create incentive for employees.

There are lots of reasons to provide incentives for employees. Keeping employees motivated, limiting absenteeism, and reducing turnover are all important reasons that companies provide incentive programs. But what is the underlying reason that these incentives are needed in the first place? According to Inc., a lack of engagement is one of the primary problems employees struggle with. Millions of workers are bored and this potentially costs businesses billions of dollars in lost revenue each year. This is due to an overall loss in productivity. This is why incentives for employees are so important. Creating employee recognition programs is necessary for all types of companies whether they’re small family owned businesses or large corporations. Employees are motivated in a variety of ways. There are different types of incentives that can be chosen when putting together this kind of program.

Incentives in the Workplace

There are many types of incentives for employees. The best employee incentives are those that appeal to the workers in a particular business environment. For example, if there are a lot of parents with small children in a particular company, flex hours as well as extra paid time off would likely appeal to this demographic. A company with mostly young, single employees may appreciate volunteering projects and community involvement. It’s often been said that Millennials want experiences rather than monetary rewards. Incentives for employees should be created in a way that match the particular needs and wants of each specific group of employees. One size definitely doesn’t fit all. An organization could start by brainstorming employee appreciation ideas at the management level. When it comes to understanding how to recognize employees in the workplace there are several ways to approach this.

When building an incentive program there are several important things that will need to be taken into consideration. A business will need to decide if employee incentives should be individualized or given to groups and teams. If all incentive programs are geared toward individuals, employees may not work as effectively together on projects. Most organizations would probably want to put together an incentive program that includes both individual and team rewards.

Several other questions may arise including how to reward employees without money. While monetary rewards are definitely incentives for most employees, there are several types of rewards that don’t include money that motivate workers. After deciding what types of rewards will be given, how often and how much money or time to spend will also need to be decided. It may even help to take a survey actually asking employees what types of rewards and programs they would be interested in. It’s a good idea to organize the types of incentives a company plans to have into categories so there will be a good mix of different types of rewards. According to the balance there are four general categories for employee incentives.

  • Appreciation – Employee incentives examples in the area of appreciation might include company parties and different types of celebrations. A catered lunch, providing sporting event tickets, or paid family outings are other examples of appreciation incentives. Birthday and holiday parties could also be included in this category.
  • Compensation – Direct compensation is an incentive that will motivate many different types of employees. These sorts of incentives include bonuses, raises, and even stock options. Sign on bonuses or cash rewards for referring new employees with certain skills or experience could be part of rewards that include compensation of some sort.
  • Recognition – Employee recognition examples could include publicly praising and thanking employees. This could involve listing their names and achievements in a company newsletter or even taking out space in the city newspaper. Recognizing employees on Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are other examples.
  • Rewards – There are several types of employee rewards. These could include monetary rewards that are similar to those under the category of compensation. Gift certificates and cards are popular ways to offer rewards to employees.

15 Employee Incentive Ideas

It’s important to come up with several different types of incentives and fun employee recognition ideas. Everything from contest prizes for employees to creative incentives for employees can be used. It’s a good idea to consider more ideas than will likely be used. Some ideas may end up not being practical for certain companies. Others will simply not be a good fit for some employees. The following are several specific employee incentive ideas that a company could use to get started.

  1. Bring Your Pet to Work – People love their pets. If a company decides to put together “a pet day” there needs to be some planning and organization beforehand to make sure it runs smoothly. It would be ideal if there was a specific area either inside or outside of the business where pets could be taken to use the bathroom or for breaks.
  2. Gifts for Perfect Attendance – It’s important to reward hard work and a commitment to the organization. Perfect attendance incentives for employees not only make employees happy but can obviously reduce absenteeism.
  3. Unlimited PTO – Paid time off or personal time off is a great way to allow hardworking employees time for themselves. Even just a few days off each year is something many employees will look forward to and strive for.
  4. Recognition for Every Year Worked/Anniversary – Employee recognition programs such as this could be as simple as printing certificates or listing employees’ names in a newsletter. A business could go further by providing employees with an annual party or a catered lunch.
  5. Flexible Schedule/Work from Home Benefits – Working from home is gaining popularity with employees of all ages and in all different types of employment. There are lots of options that could be made available. A few include allowing employees to work one day each week from home or even a few half days each week.
  6. Tuition Reimbursement – This not only encourages employees to further their education, but strengthens the company that provides these types of benefits. A company may want to put stipulations on reimbursement such as requiring an employee to achieve a certain letter grade or receive a specific degree or certification.
  7. Appreciation Gifts for Holidays or Birthdays – Employees love to be remembered at holidays and on their birthday. Gift cards and certificates are easy gifts to give and can still be personalized for each individual employee. Snacknation suggests several unique and fun ways to celebrate employee birthdays.
  8. Work Happy Hour – This also provides a time for employees to bond and connect on a more personal level. A restaurant or bar near the business could be chosen as a regular gathering place or something different each time could be selected to add variety.
  9. Time Off to Volunteer – Give employees the opportunity to take time off to volunteer at the charity or event of their choice. A company that provides opportunities to volunteer is also making a good impression on the community.
  10. Master Classes to Learn – Encouraging employees to take master classes is an excellent way to build an educated workforce while promoting individual growth. Tuition assistance or a one time bonus after completing the classes are types of incentives management could offer. Master classes is a performance incentive program example.
  11. Trophies/Awards for MVP’s – This could be done each quarter or once a year. Types of employee recognition in this category would include nice trophies, small medals, or professional certificates.
  12. Handwritten Thank-You Notes from the CEO – Employees are impressed when the CEO takes the time to personally correspond with them. It’s important to make sure the notes are personalized and are specific to what each employee has accomplished. Forbesstates that effective leadership often manifests itself in personal and simple ways.
  13. Personal Growth Opportunities – Some examples of employee appreciation event ideas include conferences, seminars, and workshops. Most employees want to improve and excel in their careers.
  14. Health and Well-Being Opportunities – Gym memberships and gift cards for health-related classes are something almost all employees will appreciate. These are fantastic employee appreciation gift ideas because they’re good for both the employee and the company.
  15. Shout Outs – Of all the employee appreciation ideas this is one of the easiest to implement. It can be done monthly, quarterly, or any time a newsletter comes out. Recognizing small accomplishments on a regular basis is a good way to keep employees motivated.

It’s not always easy to figure out the best ways to know how to reward employees for a job well done. Learning how to recognize employees in the workplace will improve employee retention and help create a positive work environment. A good incentive program not only increases the motivation of individual employees but can raise morale throughout the entire organization. The impact of reward system on employee motivation is often immeasurable. This list of incentives for employees provides several great ideas for different types of companies and organizations.