10 ways to boost employee incentive programs

When is the last time you took the time to thank your employees for a job well done? Several workplace studies have shown a connection between appreciation of employees and the results of company objectives. Leaders who put emphasis on demonstrating appreciation to employees on a regular basis produce a higher level of employee engagement, which boosts productivity like gangbusters. Having an employee incentive program in place is one piece of the bigger puzzle.

Why Saying Thanks to Employees Matters to Your Business

In 2012, GloboForce, a corporate recognition company, and The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released a special report about how showing appreciation to employees can be a key driver of employee satisfaction and happiness. This study demonstrated that:

  • 80 percent of employees who feel recognized at work stay loyal to the company longer.
  • 78 percent of employees stated they would work harder in their jobs if they were regularly recognized.
  • 67 percent of employees have responded well just by being praised by their manager at work.
  • 60 percent of employees who do not receive recognition or incentives are looking for other jobs now.

It’s clear that recognition and incentivizing the workplace are worthwhile efforts that more companies can tap into for a productive and happy workforce. While there are a wide range of employee incentive options to choose from, keep in mind that they do not have to be costly or time consuming to administer.

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Low Cost Easy to Manage Employee Incentive Ideas

Here are some easy and affordable ways to boost your employee incentive campaigns to get more out of your human capital investment.

  1. Flexible Schedules – In the quest for more work life balance, many employees welcome the opportunity to have greater flexibility in their schedules. Use this to give your employee incentive program more substance, offering the choice of flexible work times or the option to work from home when appropriate.
  2. Corporate Discounts – Chances are your company has developed multiple vendor relationships over the years, which includes discounts for products and services. Why not pass these savings along with a corporate discount program that allows employees to save money on entertainment, shopping, and travel?
  3. Freebie Fridays – Not only are Friday’s a good time to hand out bonus checks to deserving employees, but it’s also a great time to show appreciation by giving employees something for nothing. How about a free catered breakfast, or a bucket of free healthy snacks left in the break room? Or give employees the option to be free from their stuffy office attire by letting them wear jeans to work.
  4. VIP Parking – All employees notice that the most valuable team members get to park close to the building, a convenience offered normally only to the management team. What if you turned the tables a little and established a VIP parking place for the employee of the month? Imagine how important this can make your employees feel.
  5. Peer Recognition – There’s nothing quite like being openly praised and recognized for achievements, especially when it’s done in front of peers. One great way to add more to your employee incentive program is to have a quarterly staff meeting and present certificates of achievement to your top performers, loyal employees, and those going the extra mile.
  6. Break Room Makeover – How would you like to eat lunch daily in your company break room? If you cannot answer emphatically “yes!” then it probably needs an overhaul. Drag out old worn out furnishings and replace with comfortable and adaptable seating. Add a new big screen television and cable. Include some gaming options, relaxing lighting, and a new vending machine serving up healthy choices.
  7. Gift Certificates – These low cost incentives can be a meaningful way to thank your employees for their efforts. Buy them in packs to save money, then use them for fun team competitions, incentives for reaching short-term performance goals, and just whenever you want to recognize an employee on-the-spot.
  8. Management Luncheon – Every day, employees watch the management team go out for their expensive lunch meetings and wonder what that must be like. Why not make it a point to regularly invite another employee to the table once a week? This could be the beginning of a beautiful mentoring opportunity and a great employee morale lift.
  9. Wellness Perks – When employees are encouraged to take better control of their health, and they are supported by their employer, a wonderful thing happens. First, absenteeism sinks, then employee productivity rises. Introduce ways to help employees stay healthy, live stress-free, and improve their mental and physical well-being.
  10. Work Environment Improvements – Once you get the company break room looking its best, you will want to improve the rest of the company environment. Look for ways to increase employee collaboration and productivity through open work spaces. Use large work tables, comfortable chairs, sofa seating arrangements, plants, and lighting to breathe new life into former cubicle jungles.

By using the above methods for creating new perks, your employees will respond positively to the changes around them. Outside of competitive salaries and benefits, incentives can become part of your business growth strategy. Think of other low cost and easy to implement incentives that speak well to your employees and in your industry.

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Lisa Belanger

Looking forward to reading the whitepaper