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Billy Boor
Regional Business Developer

16 Employee Incentive Program Ideas

Properly executed employee incentive programs are the key to boosting morale, driving performance, and reducing turnover. These programs work because offering an immediate reward increases intrinsic motivation and job satisfaction. As a result, employees who receive incentives for meeting goals are more inclined to continue completing their required tasks, furthering the company’s overall success.

To see these benefits in your business, you must move beyond annual service awards and incorporate employee incentive plans into your everyday culture. These plans are intended to attract, engage, and retain talent. The incentives themselves come in many forms, including rewards, perks, and recognition tactics. Choose those that align with your company’s values and meet your employees’ desires. Here are 16 employee incentive ideas proven to motivate and engage your staff.

1.    Social recognition programs: Monetary rewards matter, but public recognition can be even more meaningful to some employees. This low-cost incentive idea may include highlighting a top performer on social media, passing an Employee of the Month trophy around the office, or applauding an employee at a monthly town hall meeting.

2.    Points-based recognition programs: Present digital reward codes to outstanding employees who can redeem points for the rewards they want.

3.    Referral programs: Do your employees know someone who could be a great fit for the company? Encourage them to refer their friends and neighbors to apply with a referral program. You might offer a small reward for submitting a referral and a large reward if the candidate ends up getting hired.

4.    Professional development: Most employees want opportunities for career growth. To fulfill this incentive, you might create your own learning and development center, offer free online courses, or reimburse tuition for relevant college degrees.

5.    Profit-sharing plans: If you want to motivate your team to keep driving sales, share the profits! Set aside a feasible percentage of your net profits and distribute the earnings every four, six, or 12 months.

6.    Health and wellness programs: Provide free healthy lunches at the office, onsite health screenings, bike-to-work incentives, sit-stand desks, or even an onsite masseuse.

7.    Performance bonuses and raises: One of the single biggest motivators is the promise of a year-end bonus or annual raise. Feel free to base these amounts on each individual’s yearly performance.

8.    Surprise gift programs: You might time the distribution of gift cards, gift boxes, or prepaid cards with specific holidays or employment milestones. You can also simply surprise a stellar employee with a gift to show you care.

9.    Extra time off incentives: Offer additional vacation time or longer breaks to employees who meet certain goals. This acknowledgment of time well spent can reduce burnout and increase engagement.

10.  Choice of projects: The chance to work on a coveted project if they meet certain goals is a significant motivator for your employees.

11.  Rewards for staying with the company: High turnover is a major problem in many industries. Encourage your workforce to stay put by offering increasingly lucrative rewards to those who achieve specific tenure benchmarks.

12.  Spot a ward programs: Spot rewards are like pop quizzes—you never know when they’re coming, so it keeps you on your toes. Keep this program dynamic by rewarding different behaviors and actions at random times.

13.  Relaxed dress codes: You might not approve of sweatpants, but relaxing the dress code as an employee incentive program may be appropriate. Start with casual Friday if your team goes above and beyond, and consider increasing it from there.

14.  Corporates wag rewards: Giving your high achievers branded merchandise makes them feel appreciated and shows you trust them to represent the company. Customizable options vary widely, from company t-shirt sand water bottles to branded smartwatches and speakers.

15.  Early bird and attendance awards: Encourage your team to show up early and never miss a day of work with financial recognition, such as $100 for a month of perfect attendance. Non-monetary incentives, such as social recognition, may also be effective.

16.  Time off at the end of the year: This doesn’t work for all industries, but if possible, let your team take the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day if they can hit all their goals before December 25.

Are you ready to get your employee incentive plan underway? Marketing Innovators can help. We offer incentives to motivate and engage your employees, including bulk gift cards, gift boxes, branded merchandise, reward codes, and prepaid cards.

As a family-owned, employee-driven company, our goal is to build and strengthen the connection between business owners and their employees. We believe fostering a people-to-people connection is what makes a good company great. For more employee incentive program ideas, please call800-453-7373 or contact us online.