Incentives for employees are the perfect opportunity for employers to reward the hard work of staff. Employee incentives can also improve productivity levels in a workplace.
There are many different employee incentive ideas, but the most important thing to consider is what works for your workplace. This article will explore 30 different ways to incentivise employees.
Do incentives work for employees?
Research shows 85% of employees felt more motivated to work harder after receiving an incentive. In theory – and often in practice – if you pick the right incentives, employees will experience higher levels of motivation. In turn, this leads to strengthened loyalty, engagement, and overall rate of employee retention.
Benefits of employee incentives
- Encourages the wider team to perform well. A small dose of competition is healthy. By rewarding hard-working staff, other members of the team could feel inclined to improve their own work performance in an effort to reap the benefits of employee incentives.
- Increased productivity levels. If hard work is rewarded, employees are more likely to work harder – leading to increased productivity levels. They might even feel gratitude towards an employer that recognises their grind.
- Better teamwork. Working in silo is an easy trap to fall into, but with the prospect of bonus incentives for employees, teams can be encouraged to work together – resulting in more harmonious project management.
- Higher employee satisfaction. Once an employee begins to feel dissatisfied, it’s hard to pull them back from the precipice of leaving for greener pastures. Staff members who feel as if managers truly appreciate their efforts adopt a more positive attitude.
- Improved retention rates. At the crux of it, if an employee is unhappy, there’s a very high chance they’re looking for another job. Better to retain top talent because recruiting a replacement is costly in monetary value, but also in time. The best employee incentives keep employees interested in their current role, and attract top talent in a highly competitive market.
30 Employee Incentive Ideas to Engage Your Team
1. Team away days
When it comes to fun incentives for employees, team away-days are a fantastic way to reward employees for hitting targets. Plan a day of team building activities, taking place out of the office, as a way to motivate a group of colleagues to work that bit harder. Staff outings don’t have to be expensive, budget-friendly options exist, but you can also splash out on an experience like a day spent at an activity centre.
Gifts go a long way in showing employees how much you appreciate their work. It’s a better idea to gift employees something they can use outside of work, rather than items like stationery, as they’ll get more out of the present. This ranges from tech gifts like headphones, or home items like heated blankets – perfect for when employees are working at home during the winter months.
3. Extra time off
A poll showed 58% of workers would agree to having a salary reduction in favour of extra annual leave. Offering extra paid time off is a great employee incentive as it encourages employees to maintain a better work-life balance, plus helps reduce employee burnout.
4. Professional development
For those workers who always go the extra mile, investing time in their professional development is a mutually beneficial incentive. Examples of professional development incentive ideas include allowing employees to pursue accredited courses, offering them paid study time, and paying off student loans.
5. Workplace perks
Workplace perks encompass a wide array of employee incentive ideas. The best way to incorporate workplace perks is to include them alongside more substantial employee incentives. Vending machines, gym memberships, areas for breaks, and onsite wellness activities are a few examples of perks to introduce.
6. Equipment upgrade
It can be incredible frustrating working with poor quality equipment. If your team has been complaining about how their laptops are running slow, why not invest in new technology? This can be a pricey expense, but more than worth it in the long run. Otherwise, your employees might experience a drop in productivity levels.
7. Monthly care packages
Improve employee wellbeing by looking after your team through monthly care packages. They boost morale by showing staff how much you value their health, even after they’ve left the (virtual) office for the day. Employees can have a home spa experience, which is arguably one of the best cures for burnout.
8. Wall of fame
Having a designated area in the office to recognise especially hard working employees ensures their contributions are applauded. It’s vital to acknowledge both small and big wins. When, and how often, colleagues are highlighted on the wall is up to managers. Team members will be motivated to earn their place on the wall.
9. Shout out social media posts
Similar to the wall of fame concept, incentive ideas for employees can be non-monetary. In this case, recognising employees on social media (especially on a platform like LinkedIn) is an effective way to praise their achievements. Include why they’re being spotlighted, their role in the team, and any other workplace accomplishments.
10. Office parties
Employee incentives ideas should be memorable, and no-one ever forgets a good party. If a department, or business at large, goes above and beyond to achieve targets – why not throw an office celebration? The promise of an event will motivate a workforce, as will food, drinks, and fun atmosphere.
11. Flexible working
Every employee will have a different work style. Some might find they work better outside of working hours. If employers offer team members a flexible schedule, rather than imposing a typical 9-5 day, this type of incentive recognises the value in individual working habits. As long as the work gets done, employees can excel in their own time.
12. Gift cards
Incentives increase a team’s performance by as much as 44%, and gift cards are one way of showing a team the value of their hard work. Our Love2shop Gift Cards can be spent at many of the high street’s biggest names. Recipients are able to exchange the balance of their gift card for a variety of single-store e-gift cards.
13. Casual dress days
Allowing employees to dress down on certain days of the week serves as a simple, yet remarkably effective, employee incentive. It serves to boost morale in the workplace by management’s trust in their workforce. Most businesses will have a dress code, but by allowing staff members to express individuality, it shows them how working in an office doesn’t need to strip them of their identity.
14. Monetary gifts
Monetary employee incentives, especially during the current cost of living crisis, will be appreciated by employees more so than other suggestions on this list. It’s important to keep in mind what the business can put aside for bonuses and raises. But, when an employee surpasses as target, offering them either a bonus or a pay rise can encourage healthy competition within the team.
15. Team retreats
Being in the office, or working from home, can easily become mundane. The prospect of a team retreat means employees have something to look forward to. They’re a great way to bring everyone together, cultivating a stronger workplace culture, as well as fostering more productivity.
As a result of volunteering, employee engagement is boosted, and can be an attractive incentive when it comes to recruiting new talent. On a more profound note, team members will feel more grounded in their work, as their charitable deeds have instilled a sense of purpose in them.
17. Workplace entertainment
Every workplace has a peak, or even multiple peaks, in a year, so reward staff by organising some workplace entertainment. This could be arranging a film screening, or maybe a coffee morning, allowing team members to wind down after a particularly busy spell.
18. Choice of projects
Allowing team players to swap projects they’re working on is a brilliant form of incentive. This can range to letting hard workers have first pick of upcoming projects, to seeing them delegate projects they’d rather not work on.
19. Company merchandise
Employees can show their company pride by donning merchandise. Gifted to them as way to show appreciation, branded merchandise (‘merch’) can boost a team’s drive. It can also help staff form an emotional attached to their place of work.
20. Childcare assistance
Helping a parent with their little one’s child-care is a very attractive employee incentive. It allows employees with children to be more flexible, reducing the chance of them feeling guilty about returning to work. Also, the cost of putting children in nursey during work hours is a pricey expensive – upwards of £60 per day.
21. Subsidised travel
One of the more genuinely useful employee incentive ideas, helping employees get to work by paying for travel costs will support their financial wellbeing. If some team members struggle with commuting, a subside can be a great way to appreciate their hard work. This includes free bus or train passes, free parking, and carpool scheme.
22. Home office allowance
Remote employees are 75% more likely to experience burnouts at work. You can support them, especially those working predominantly from home, with expenses for office equipment. Helping team members make the best out of their workspace improves morale, encourages loyalty, and secures productivity.
23. Days off for special occasions
In the current employee market, one of the biggest things for employees is ensuring they strike the perfect balance between their work and personal lives. Offering team members extra days off, such as for their birthdays, allows them to celebrate special occasions without needing to sacrifice annual leave.
24. Team meals out
If an entire team has worked on a group project, why not take everyone out for something to eat? Could be a lunch, or dinner and drinks after work. Team meals not only count as an employee incentive, but they’re a great way for colleagues to get to know each other outside of the workplace. This in turn promotes a better sense of unity between staff, ensuring productivity levels remain high.
25. Stock ownership plans
Employee stock ownership gives team members ownership interest in the business through shares of stock. This form of employee incentive encourages staff to work harder, so when the company succeeds, it translates into financial rewards for shareholders. (Please note, it’s import for employees to read the terms of stock ownership plans, as each company will have different rules.)
This employee incentive aids in supporting financial wellbeing, as discount schemes can help pay packets stretch that bit further by saving money on every day purchases. They’re particularly effective when the discounts are for products, or even services, employees buy on a regular occurrence.
27. Monthly newsletter
Similar to the wall of fame and shouting out staff on social media concepts, a monthly newsletter is the perfect way to spotlight key team players. Internal newsletters have such incentive benefits such as keeping employees updated about company news, build a sense of community between colleagues, and maintain a level of workforce motivation.
28. “___” club
By encouraging employees to be open about their hobbies, it helps promote a better work-life balance. A lack of one can result in burnout. Introducing a “___” club scheme allows team members to enjoy pastimes, and also promote team building. They’re also the perfect opportunity for new employees to break the ice. By implementing a social club committee, employees can discuss potential activities.
29. Coffee memberships
According to data, 80% of coffee shop goers go at least once a week – no wonder coffee is one the most popular drinks in the world. As an employee incentive idea, rewarding hard-working employees with a coffee membership goes a long way. It also saves them money, which never goes unappreciated.
30. Ask employees what they want
As far as incentives for employees go, the best course of action is asking your team what it is they want. By encouraging staff to be upfront, it shows you as an employer value them on a higher level. If an employee has done well, gone above and beyond the call of duty, the best reward will undoubtedly be something of their choosing.
Elevate Employee Morale and Performance with Love2shop
Enhance employee engagement, boost productivity, and foster a culture of recognition with Love2shop, the leading provider of employee incentives and rewards solutions.
Our extensive range of rewards, including personalized gift cards, exclusive experiences, and travel packages, will motivate your team to achieve extraordinary results.
Contact us today to discover how Love2shop can transform your employee incentive program and unleash the true potential of your workforce.