Having a healthy work culture is instrumental to the success of a company. It makes sense that happy employees perform better and have higher productivity. Offering your employees incentives is a great way to ensure this, as having them will motivate employees to strive for excellence all while working towards a goal. A company rich with unique or exciting opportunities and perks can also positively impact recruitment, retention, and team morale.
A study done by SHRM found that 94% of companies offer short-term incentives, while 53% offer long-term incentives beyond regular pay. The job market is competitive-- to obtain and retain top talent, a company must set itself apart from and above the rest. Incentives allow companies to stand out while making employees feel valued and rewarded for their hard work.
Here are some great employee incentive ideas (that actually work!):
- Unlimited Sick Days
This incentive is quite popular due to its vast approval amongst professionals. As culture has increasingly begun to value and embrace a better work-life balance, allowing employees that flexibility is very enticing to potential candidates. With unlimited PTO, employees can take as much time off as they need-- just as long as they are completing all of their work throughout a given year as they usually would. In contrast to Limited PTO, unlimited PTO encourages employees to take days as needed, resulting in higher retention numbers, better productivity, and an overall healthier work environment.
- Recognition for Work Milestones
As employees grow with a company and loyally contribute to the team, their milestones should be celebrated. As employees reach the 1, 3, 5, or 10-year marks, there should be an incentive driving their performance. This incentive could take the form of a monetary reward, increasing in value for each year with the company. Additionally, you may want to host a special recognition dinner and present them with a plaque or a certificate. This is a great way to make your employees feel appreciated and acknowledged for their years of dedication and hard work.
This type of incentive gives back to employees, usually yearly, by awarding them a percentage of the company’s profits. Combined with a 401(k) plan, this incentive allows employees to receive higher amounts into their retirement funds. The amount of money is not fixed, so it fluctuates yearly based on the company’s performance. This incentive is great for employees’ savings and helps them feel genuinely a part of the company and more likely to stay loyal.
- Team Retreats
Getting your team together once a year and out of the office is especially significant if your team is remote or adopting a hybrid model. If possible, bringing everyone together for a long weekend of getting to know each other and for fun, culture-building activities is a perfect way to boost engagement and well-being amongst your employees.
- Training and Development
Offering your employees opportunities to grow their skillset and develop their professional selves is a fantastic way to get them excited about working for the company. Investing in some high-quality training and development practices will ensure the success and performance of your employees. You may invite experts and host workshops, provide online courses related to your business goals, or discuss with employees where they’d like to grow.
- Health and Wellness
Providing employees with the tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle is an investment in their future and well-being. Offering incentives, such as paid time off, good health insurance with low co-pays or deductibles, pre-paid or discounted gym memberships, and flexible schedules is a great way to do so. Simpler incentives, like prizes, are also effective and may add some fun to the workplace. Offer employees prizes or gift certificates for accomplishing health-related goals, such as taking a health assessment or using their gym membership for certain days consecutively. If your team is remote, you can try a virtual wellness program like Holisticly to encourage employees to stay active and healthy from home.
- Referral Bonuses
Sometimes it may be challenging to hire quickly or do so with limited resources and finances. Offering employees an incentive to recruit talent is a great way to positively impact your hiring efforts and create a larger pool of potential candidates. Doing so will motivate employees to seek talent from within their networks. While there are different types of referral bonuses, monetary incentives (commonly between $1,000- $2,499 but varies based on position) seem to be the most effective. Typically these bonuses go into effect once a candidate has been hired and working with the company for a set amount of time.
- Retention Bonuses
When you offer employees retention bonuses--additional pay outside of their salary due to them staying with the company for extended periods or during crucial periods-- you show them that you value their time and work. When companies go through critical periods such as mergers or changes in management, retention bonuses may encourage current employees to stay on board. Without incentives, there’s a higher risk that key talent may be lost, reducing the company’s value. Although they surely help, retention bonuses are not the only reasons employees stay on-- it’s important to consider other factors such as culture, connection, and internal opportunities as well.
- Flexible Working Options
While many places have already begun transitioning back into the office full-time, many companies find that working remotely or adopting a hybrid model works best. Giving employees the option to work remotely or having flexible work time allows room for a better work-life balance. Flex hours may mean coming in at 10 AM and staying until 6 PM or working four 10-hour shifts rather than five 8-hour ones. If you can do so, flexibility with schedules and location is a great way to get candidates in the door and increase retention and productivity.
- Other Easy Incentive Ideas
Smaller incentives, like free lunch or coffee, free snacks in the break room, and allowing pets in the office one day a week, will help create a happier work environment with smaller costs to the company. However, more costly incentives, such as tuition reimbursement, laundry service, and monthly massages, should also be considered when attracting new employees.
Investing in your company through employee incentive programs is a great way to make your employees feel valued and excited about being a part of the company. In recruiting and retaining top talent, it is important to stand out from the crowd and take the time to understand your employees' needs. Get started with Crystal today to gain valuable personality insights for your entire team and potential candidates.