Business leaders across all organizations are concerned with a need for more employee engagement and productivity in 2023.
With layoffs left and right, it’s a challenging task to keep workers motivated and focused—and that’s why more human resources managers are taking a closer look at implementing employee incentive ideas.
When budgets are low, and salary raises are hard to justify, using creative methods to incentivize employees can truly invigorate your staff and show your care in a cost-efficient way.
The good news is that employee incentives don’t have to be complex, expensive, or difficult to implement. It’s crucial to develop an employee incentive program that rewards desired behaviors and good work. Let’s examine some effective incentives to boost team productivity and staff morale.
But first, check out this short list of top-rated employee incentive platforms to offer all types of rewards to your staff members:
||🎖 Connect employees to your company with flexible rewards||Visit Motivosity|
|Bonusly||💯 Send redeemable points with social recognition||Visit Bonusly|
|Awardco||🎁 Award them an eGift||Visit Awardco|
|Bucketlist||👏 Equip busy managers to meaningfully recognize and engage their teams||Visit Bucketlist|
|Nectar||😃 Peer-to-peer recognition, Amazon integration, boost your engagement and retention||Visit Nectar|
|👉 Compare more HR-vetted and approved options here|
Want to become a better professional in just 5 minutes?
What are employee incentives?
Employee incentives are rewards or benefits provided by an organization to its employees in recognition of their achievements, performance, or contributions. These incentives are designed to motivate employees and promote outcomes aligned with organizational goals.
Offering flexible working from home arrangements, comprehensive benefit programs, motivational gifts, and frequent appreciation events are common to incentivize employee performance and well-being.
What are the benefits of giving out employee incentives?
Employee incentives play a significant role in attracting and retaining exceptional employees. Built-out employee reward systems can boost morale, productivity, job satisfaction, teamwork, and innovation. By providing tangible rewards and public recognition, organizations can create a positive and rewarding work environment that attracts, engages, and retains talented employees.
The benefits of employee incentives are…
Increased Motivation and Productivity – Incentives create a sense of purpose and drive among employees. By offering rewards, employees are motivated to perform at their best, leading to improved team morale and work outcomes.
Enhanced Job Satisfaction and Engagement – Incentives demonstrate that the organization values and appreciates its employees’ efforts. This acts as a morale booster, fostering a positive work environment where employees feel fulfilled and invested in their work.
Improved Retention Rates – Offering incentives can be a powerful employee retention tool to keep employees and top talent happy to grow with the organization. When employees feel recognized and rewarded for their contributions, they are more likely to stay with the company rather than seek opportunities elsewhere. This reduces turnover costs and maintains a stable and experienced workforce.
Strengthened Team Collaboration – Employee recognition ideas can be structured to promote teamwork and collaboration. By incentivizing collective goals or rewarding team achievements, employees are encouraged to work together, share knowledge, and support one another. This strengthens team dynamics and fosters a collaborative work culture.
Stimulated Innovation and Creativity – Incentives can complement positive feedback to inspire employees to think creatively and contribute innovative ideas. By offering rewards for problem-solving, process improvements, or innovative thinking, organizations encourage employees to explore new approaches and contribute to the company’s growth and competitiveness.
25 Best Employee Incentive Ideas
1 Send Recognition Points with Bonusly
By encouraging intra-team gifting of points through employee recognition software like Bonusly, employees can acknowledge and appreciate their colleagues’ work. This fosters a culture of recognition and teamwork and positively impacts morale by creating a supportive and appreciative environment.
Why we love this work incentive example: Encouraging peer-to-peer recognition strengthens team collaboration and develops a happier workplace.
2 Amazon Wishlist Surprise!
Surprising employees with items from their Amazon Wishlist demonstrates personal attention and appreciation. This way, leaders can guarantee the recipient’s reaction and make their day, all within a specified budget. Working with an employee rewards platform like Awardco can help to manage these rewards in one centralized location.
Why we love this worker incentive: It can significantly impact individual morale and increases the sense of belonging to an organization, as this gesture shows that management cares about its employees’ well-being and preferences.
3 Sales Bonus
A performance bonus is a compelling incentive to increase productivity at work, especially for sales departments, as they directly tie individual performance to financial rewards. They can have an enormous impact on motivating employees to achieve company targets and metrics.
Why we love this employee incentive idea: Team-based bonuses can contribute to a competitive yet collaborative company culture that values achievement and results.
4 Brand New Experience
Who wouldn’t want to check off their dream destination vacation or bring their kids to Disneyland? Offering unique experiences through employee motivation software like Bucketlist provides employees with memorable and fulfilling opportunities, boosting morale and job satisfaction. It can positively impact team collaboration by fostering shared experiences and bonding.
Why we love these staff incentives: Overall, creating memories helps any company culture flourish, promoting employee well-being and personal growth.
5 Company Retreat
All-hands workshops and company retreats offer opportunities for team building, collaboration, and rejuvenation. Intentional brainstorming and socializing encourages collaboration by facilitating better communication and relationship-building among employees.
Why we love this fun incentive for employees: Company retreats help build a cohesive company culture by promoting work-life balance and emphasizing the value of teamwork.
6 Employee Stipend
Staff stipends provide individuals with flexible funds to spend on personal development or work-related items, enhancing job satisfaction and motivation.
Why we love this fun incentive for employees: Providing stipends that workers can control according to their learning and interests helps showcase that the organization values individual growth and doesn’t hold back on investment in employee well-being.
7 Gift Cards
Vouchers and gift coupons allow employees to choose items or experiences they desire, boosting their motivation and satisfaction. They can positively impact individual performance by recognizing and rewarding specific achievements.
Why we love this employee incentive example: Everyone loves free gifts, and this can contribute to a healthy company culture by showing appreciation for employees’ efforts.
8 Team Lunch
A meal together as a team unit encourages social interaction, fosters stronger relationships and improves team collaboration. Morale is strengthened by providing an enjoyable and relaxed environment for employees to connect.
Why we love this team incentive: Team socials contribute to a tight-knit company culture that values camaraderie and teamwork.
9 A Monthly Wellness Program
Employee wellness programs indirectly impact team collaboration by creating a healthier and more engaged workforce, showing how management prioritizes employee well-being and work-life balance. Examples of this include the provision of mental health days, employee assistance, and healthy meal deliveries.
Why this incentive keeps employees happy: Wellness programs promote physical and mental well-being, increasing job satisfaction and overall morale.
10 Office Perks
Offering a comfortable work environment equipped with game rooms, relaxation areas, or standing desks can improve employee comfort and focus.
Why we love this office incentive: Providing a pleasant work environment increases employee satisfaction, motivation, and productivity.
11 Snacks in the Kitchen
Who doesn’t crave a snack or sweet treat after a morning of hard work? Having snacks in the office kitchen can be a game changer as it promotes bonding and casual chatter, which is missed in a predominantly remote work environment nowadays. If you are looking for an easy turnkey solution, try checking out SnackNation to provide healthy and delicious snacks to your workplace.
Why we love this group incentive: An inclusive work environment fosters social interaction and creates a sense of community, boosting employee morale and satisfaction.
12 Bring your Dog to Work
Arguably one of the best employee perks, allowing employees to bring their pups to the office cultivates a relaxed atmosphere, rewarding employees with good feels and a break to their work day. This also softens the burden of arranging daycare or leaving their dogs home.
Why we love this office incentive: Petting a furry friend and bonding over animals can help soften the atmosphere, making a world of difference for new employees on their first few days on the job.
13 Personalized Awards
To retain top performers and elevate the employee experience at your organization, consider adding an award ceremony to your recognition program. These personalized awards impact morale by making employees feel valued and appreciated, celebrating individual excellence.
Why we love this office incentive: Reward programs and personalized prizes help recognize employees’ unique contributions and achievements, increasing their motivation and individual performance.
14 Company-wide Shout Out
Publicly acknowledging and appreciating employees’ accomplishments boosts morale, job satisfaction, and teamwork. Company-wideshoutoutss contribute to a growth-driven work environment that values transparency, recognition, and mutual appreciation.
Why companies should offer incentives like these: Public appreciation creates a supportive environment where employees feel motivated to collaborate and achieve common goals.
15 Summer Fridays
Offering Summer Fridays, where employees have reduced work hours (like free at 3) or can leave early on Fridays during the summer months, enhances employee morale, job satisfaction, and work-life balance.
Why you should add this to your company’s employee incentive program: Emphasis on wellness and ample time off has been at the crux of modern employee well-being principles. Let your employees brag about how their company cares about relaxation and encourages people to enjoy their personal time.
16 Flexible Workdays
Providing flexible workdays, such as remote work options or company-wide core hours, can increase employee morale, job satisfaction, and individual performance, ultimately improving the bottom line. Flexible workdays create a positive company culture that values work-life balance, trust, and flexibility.
Why we love this group incentive: This type of employee benefit doesn’t cost money and can also positively impact teamwork by allowing team members to coordinate schedules and collaborate effectively, achieving company goals.
17 Professional Development Budget
Allocating a budget for employees’ professional development enhances their skills and knowledge, boosting individual performance, job satisfaction, and morale. This promotes a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
Why we love this as part of incentive plans: A professional development budget can span from tuition reimbursement to industry symposiums displaying organizational values of growth, learning, and career advancement.
18 Commuter Incentive
Offering commuter travel stipends, such as subsidized transportation costs or parking benefits, can improve employee morale and job satisfaction by reducing the financial burden and stress associated with commuting.
Why we love this to incentivize teammates: Some companies go a step further to provide more incentives for employees who opt to take public transport to work as part of their ESG and sustainability programs. You can use this budget to help people purchase a transit pass, buy a bicycle, or participate in ride-sharing options.
19 Gym Membership
Not only does regular exercise reduce stress, but fit and healthy humans are more productive and focused in the long run. Providing a beneficial incentive, such as a complimentary gym membership, can be an excellent gesture of appreciation toward employees for their dedicated efforts. Simultaneously, it demonstrates the company’s dedication to fostering its workforce’s long-term physical and mental health.
Why we love these perks: Compensating employees for personal well-being expenses ranks as the third most desired benefit in terms of its significant influence on employee morale. It falls just behind flexible work schedules and the option to work remotely in terms of popularity.
20 Job Referral Program
Implementing a job referral program, where employees receive monetary rewards for referring qualified candidates to open positions, can help individuals invest more into the team’s future and gain ownership when choosing collaborators and talent they collaborate with.
Why we love this monetary incentive: Not only does the company win by narrowing down a selected talent pool, this program encourages employees to actively participate in the recruitment process, playing a part and investing in the company’s efforts on employee engagement and attracting top talent.
21 Increased PTO
Granting increased paid time off allows employees to recharge, reducing burnout and enhancing morale, job satisfaction, and individual performance. Productivity can skyrocket by ensuring employees have sufficient rest and balance in their work lives.
Why we love this work-life balance incentive: Reports of burnout have been prevalent, and after the pandemic, we know employees tend to crave the outdoors and sunshine.
22 Offer a % Salary Raise
A percentage-based salary raise rewards employees’ contributions and performance, motivating them to excel and improving individual performance and job satisfaction. This reinforces the company’s growth trajectory, helping with employee retention.
Why we love this financial incentive: A fair and merit-based compensation structure shows how recognition, fairness, and professional growth are core to the company’s operating principles.
23 Job Title Change
Offering a job title change to reflect employees’ evolving roles and responsibilities can boost morale, job satisfaction, and individual performance.
Why we love these great incentives: Updating roles and job titles can help impact teamwork by clarifying roles and creating a sense of growth and renewed purpose.
24 Team Bonus
Team bonuses are rewards given to employees based on collective performance, encouraging collaboration and teamwork.
They can promote team collaboration by fostering a shared sense of achievement and incentivizing collective goals.
Why we love this teamwork incentive: Team bonuses can bring a new wave of celebration, continuing a cycle of close collaboration, cooperation, and mutual success.
25 End-of-quarter Party
Organizing an end-of-quarter party or celebration recognizes employees’ hard work, boosts morale, and enhances job satisfaction. This is an opportunity for team members to bond, celebrate birthdays as a group, toast achievements, and ultimately strengthen relationships.
Why we love this incentive to celebrate milestones: End-of-quarter parties represent camaraderie, teamwork, and the celebration of achievements, which help re-energize coworkers for future success.
People Also Ask These Questions About Employee Incentives
Q: How do I choose the right employee incentive type for my team?
To choose the right employee incentive type for your team, consider their preferences, goals, and motivations. Assess their needs through surveys or discussions and align the incentives with their desired outcomes. Take into account the budget and resources available for incentives. Monitor and evaluate the impact of the rewards on your team to see if they’re fostering a positive work environment and driving performance.
Q: What are the 4 types of employee incentives?
The four types of employee incentives are monetary rewards (such as bonuses or salary increases), non-monetary rewards (such as recognition programs or personalized awards), professional development opportunities (such as training or conferences), and work-life balance incentives (such as flexible work arrangements or additional time off).
Q: What are some employee incentive examples?
Some examples of employee incentives include performance bonuses, recognition programs, paid professional development opportunities, motivational gifts, flexible work arrangements, company-sponsored events or parties, employee discounts, wellness programs, profit-sharing plans, stock options, extra vacation days, and employee referral programs with monetary rewards.
Q: What are good work incentives?
Good work incentives can include a combination of monetary rewards (such as performance bonuses or yearly increases), non-monetary recognition (such as job title changes, personalized awards, or public praise), career development opportunities, flexible work arrangements (such as extra vacation days or remote work options), wellness programs, team-building activities, and opportunities for professional growth. The key is to align the incentives with employees’ needs and preferences to motivate and engage them effectively.
Q: What are some common incentives for employees?
Some common incentives for employees include performance bonuses, salary increases, recognition programs, employee of the month awards, skill development opportunities, team-building activities, wellness programs, and employee discounts. These incentives are commonly used to motivate and reward employees for their contributions and to enhance job satisfaction and engagement.
Q: What incentives do employees want most?
Understanding employees’ unique needs and aspirations is vital to providing the incentives they will most value—the incentives that employees want most can vary based on individual preferences. Some commonly desired incentives include competitive salaries and benefits. Still, small businesses are increasingly gravitating towards providing opportunities for career growth and advancement, ample recognition, training opportunities, a positive and inclusive work environment, and meaningful work that aligns with employee skills and interests.
Q: What are some unique incentives to offer employees
Some special incentives to offer employees could include sabbatical programs that provide extended time off for personal or professional pursuits, flexible or compressed scheduling (like the four-day work week), employee wellness stipends to support their physical or mental well-being, paid volunteer or community service days, pet-friendly office policies, opportunities for job rotation or cross-training, and creative perks like on-site childcare. These unique incentives help create a positive and engaging work environment that stands out to employees.
Q: How do I know if my employee incentives are successful?
You can assess several factors to determine if your employee incentives are successful. Monitor employee satisfaction and engagement levels through surveys, track performance metrics and productivity, and measure retention rates. Additionally, analyze the impact of incentives on team collaboration, overall morale, and the achievement of organizational goals to gauge their effectiveness.
Q: What are some incentives for remote employees?
Incentives for remote employees can include flexible work schedules, allowances for home office equipment, tools and software training workshops, virtual team-building activities, recognition programs with online celebrations, wellness resources or digital subscriptions, and virtual social events or happy hours to foster connection and engagement among remote team members.