You can motivate your team with these 25 employee incentive ideas

Estimated read time 12 min read

Your employees are there to earn a paycheck. How do you motivate your employees to work hard and be fulfilled in the current labor market? workers are looking for more than just a paycheck. How do you keep them at your company to accomplish this? Employee incentive programs are the answer.

A program of employee incentives is a great way to motivate your employees to perform at their best, retain them, and boost morale. Incentives motivate workers to perform at their highest level, encouraging good workers to become great and encouraging the average worker to work harder.

Give your employees an extra incentive to encourage them to work hard every day. Positive reinforcement is more effective than negative consequences for a well-done job.

Read this article: 18 Simple ways to keep a positive attitude at work

Even a small employee incentive program that doesn’t break your bank will bring lasting benefits to your company, including

  • Increased productivity–offering incentives can keep your employees productive, pushing them to achieve a goal they might not otherwise hit.
  • Reduced turnover — When your employees know that they will be rewarded, they are more likely to stay with your company longer.
  • Happier employees–incentives give your employees the chance to win prizes, blow off steam, or just feel appreciated in general, which is great for their mental health and wellbeing.
  • Better recruitment — Use your employee incentive programs as a recruitment tool to bring in prospective employees and Motivate your new hires. This is the type of benefit that will give you a competitive edge in hiring.

Start an Employee Incentive Program

What is the best thing about launching an employee incentive program for your employees? It’s simple. Motivating your employees is easy.

When you are ready to create a comprehensive plan, start by analyzing your budget. By putting money behind these incentives, you show your employees that you are committed to rewarding them for their hard work. They will be more appreciative.

After you have decided on your budget it is time to enjoy yourself! Browse through the ideas for employee incentive programs below. You can use these ideas as-is or as inspiration for something new. In either case, make sure that your incentives are linked to your company’s goals and reflect your culture.

Here is a list of 25 ideas to help you get started with your own employee incentives program:

1. When employees do great things, thank them.

Say “thanks” by sending a card, handwritten note, flowers or a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant.

You can send a letter to the employee’s parents, telling them how much you value them and what they have done for you.

2. Use the best equipment

Improve the desk or chair of your employee. Check that their monitor or computer isn’t behind other computers. Use an app for employee scheduling to avoid having them take photos of their schedule on their phones.

You should get them the best equipment that you can afford to make their work easier and more comfortable. Ask them if there is anything they feel they should upgrade or if any equipment or technology would make their work easier.

3. Honor your best employees publicly

Public Recognition can be a wonderful way to show your appreciation for your employees. By saying thank you to your employees, you’re also showing them that you want the world to know just how grateful you are.

You might consider:

  • Spread the red carpet. Offer the employee the best parking space or a coffee mug.
  • You can temporarily name a room in honor of them.
  • Let them choose the food. They can choose the caterer for a monthly special employee lunch.
  • Give your employees the opportunity to use any office they choose for the day.
  • Mention the employee in the media. Mention the employee’s accomplishments on the radio, website, company newsletter, or other publications.
  • Tell your team. In front of everyone, mention the employee and their accomplishments. Encourage a round applause.
  • Have you ever been in a coffee shop where the employees write their thoughts or recommendations on a sheet and post it for customers to read? Give your wall-of-fame winners the chance to do so. Post the photo and tell us what they did that earned them this honor.

4. Unassigned Office – Create a stunning office

Create an office that has a beautiful view, a comfortable chair, a spacious desk, and whatever else you can imagine. This office is not for a specific person but rather as a gift.

5. Throw a Party

Surprise your staff with pizza parties or a regular meal. Celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays or the completion of a large project with a cake.

6. Extra vacation days for your employees

Give your employee an extra day of paid leave that does not count towards the vacation days you may have set up. You can give them a free day pass or an agreement.

7. Double the fun

Allow your employees to select a day on which they would like to double their break. Instead of only 30 minutes, your employees can have an hour for lunch.

8. Offer them flexibility

Allow your employees to create their own flexible schedules, regardless of whether they want to work from home, in the office, or at a different time. Some employees may prefer to work in the office while others may enjoy working from home. Give them the choice to be flexible if you only need people together twice or once a week.

9. Create a casual dress day

Many businesses have made Fridays a day when employees can dress down. Consider allowing your employees to dress casually on Fridays if your workplace allows it.

10. Free outside Services

Who wouldn’t love a relaxing massage in a chair during a hectic workday?

You can treat your employees to services at the workplace a few time a year. Bring in a masseuse, chiropractor, nutritionist, yoga instructor or investment counselor, as well as a life coach or personal trainer.

It is easier to get your employees to use these services when they are provided for free. Find things that they would not normally do in their free time. Let them know that they can use these services whenever they want and are encouraged to do so.

11. Gift cards and coupons to be given away

Do not limit yourself to the services that you provide at work. Gift cards and coupons are also appreciated by employees.

You can offer employees incentives such as:

  • Subscribe to magazines
  • Coupon for car wash and detailing
  • Book allowance
  • Gift card for movie theater
  • Concert tickets
  • Cleaning or maid services at home
  • Paying for a college or class
  • Museum memberships

12. Create a game with the gifts

Hide your gift to add a touch of fun and spice up your generosity. Hide it behind a box or door and let employees decide which one to open. You can hide them in various places around the office. Employees are free to keep whatever they find.

You’re not only giving them the gift itself, you are also giving them time off from work. They can focus on the hunt or game instead of their daily tasks.

13. Create a funny and cumulative award

Make a reward that can be passed on from employee to employee. Ask them to contribute to the award. Use a funny knickknack or a scrapbook to create a lasting memory.

If you run a program to recognize employees of the week, place the award on the desk. Add to it when it is their turn to give it to the recipient. Once the award has been filled and cannot be modified any further, place it in a display case or trophy case and then start over.

14. Encourage employees to tell about themselves

We like to tell others about ourselves. We all like to share our interests or hobbies with others. Regularly (e.g. Monthly “show and Tell” sessions where employees or departments bring something that is important to them, and then tell others about it in a meeting.

It’s not only a great way to showcase your employees, it also allows you to better get to know them. Employee incentives do not always have to be based on monetary or material gains.

15. They can “fire” the client or throw out a project.

You can reward an employee for their hard work by letting them “fire” the client that they don’t like to work with or remove a project they are struggling to complete.

You don’t want your employee to be rude, but depending upon the situation you could be in a position to let them leave a project or client. This won’t hurt your bottom line. Other employees can continue to work on the project or client.

16. Give them a personal Assistant

Assign an assistant or secretary to assist with tasks such as filing and other tedious duties. It will make a great employee incentive, whether you do it to reward them or just to make their lives easier.

17. Celebrating less obvious achievements is also important

Have you got an employee that is able to handle a lot of work? Does your employee work on many projects and tasks without complaining about it? Has the person achieved something outside of work?

It’s not necessary to celebrate a particular event. When you see excellence in work, it is worth celebrating. The same goes for their achievements in personal life. You can let your employees know that you value them for the little things they do every day. You’ve probably already noticed that many of these incentives are based on compassion.

18. Employees outside of the company’s interests should be brought to attention

Employees may be involved in charitable organizations, athletic competitions or other noteworthy activities. You can give them a bulletinboard or other place where they can be recognized and let others know what is happening.

19. First-name only basis

Know the first name of each employee. Know it. Use it. Personalize your interactions with employees, and treat them as individuals rather than workers who serve the company’s objectives.

20. Find an excuse to take a vacation

Employees will be rewarded by reducing or closing the office on a day they didn’t expect. Put in your employee manual that it’s Valentine’s Day or the first day off of summer. Let them enjoy the holiday when everyone else is working.

21. Positive reinforcement and highlighting

When something positive occurs, make a note of the person’s name. Allow employees to share their kindnesses and positive moments that they experienced during the week. Draw a winner each week or during a pay period. You can give them a reward like a gift certificate or other rewards.

22. Enjoy a company picnic

Although it may sound old-fashioned, company picnics can be a fun way to bring everyone together. You don’t need to make them boring. Rent a park or recreational facility, such as a park or amusement park.

23. Shake up the Hierarchy

Serve your employees by having your upper management or C-suite serve them at a picnic, lunch or other event. They will know that you care about them if they serve them.

24. Family Days are Important

There are many laws that mandate official family leave. You can offer your own family days in addition to this, especially if there are many employees who have children attending school.

When there are half-days at school, snow days or sick kids, make it easy for parents to request that they work from home. Allow them to use these days in place of valuable vacation or sick days.

25. Encourage community service

Allow your employees to use their paid days in whatever capacity they choose to serve the community. Allow them to get involved in organizations that matter to them, so they feel they are making a positive impact without feeling penalized.

Bonus: Find out what they like

Tell your employee why you value their work. Ask your employee what reward they would like. Your ideas can be put into a box, and employees can draw their reward.

You can reward employees for a job well-done in countless ways that are low-cost. It’s important to be creative and understand two things:

  • What are the pain points for your employees? You can reward your employees by periodically removing the pain points that they normally face.
  • What do your employees think of you and what they expect from their jobs? You can make your employees feel good by exceeding their expectations, even in small ways.

Employee incentive programs are not only for special occasions, but can also be used as a regular approach. Some of these work incentives are elaborate and only used occasionally. Some incentives, on the other hand, should be used constantly (a special parking space or office, for instance).

Incentives are the balance between making work more enjoyable and giving employees moments of joy.

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