16 January 2023

9 Effective Employee Incentive Ideas For 2023

creative incentives

Employee incentives are some of the best ways of attracting, motivating, rewarding, and retaining your employees. Happy and motivated employees are more productive. This also contributes to the overall success of the organization.

Attracting and retaining the best employee is a human resource nightmare. If you want to stand out, you must be willing to offer more than a paycheck. Here is where employee incentive ideas come in. With remote working on the rise, old employee incentive ideas such as paid office coffee or tea and transport to work are not as viable as before.

Employers who wish to attract and retain top talent must modernize their approach toward employee incentive programs and think outside the box.

What are Employee Incentive Ideas?

Employee incentive ideas are any programs designed to motivate, appreciate, reward, or increase employee engagement. These employee incentive programs can include office parties, team-building activities, team lunches, and more. They come in various types and can be fully, partially, or non-monetary. 

With several types of employee incentive programs to choose from, finding the right employee incentive programs for your team can be challenging. Here are some effective non-monetary and monetary incentives that will help boost employee morale, loyalty, performance, and teamwork.

1.      Remote Work Options

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced several employees and employers to remote working, and employees still crave the freedom and flexibility it offers. Remote work options can allow organizations to attract and retain top talents in different cities. In 2023, you need to embrace this trend and allow your employees to work remotely whenever possible.

To ensure accountability and productivity, consider providing the employees with a laptop or any portable device they need and invest in conferencing software for meetings or software that allows effective work sharing, encourages teamwork and supports effective communication.

The right software will allow you to check on your employees, track their performance, and support employee engagement. You will get the best from your team without investing in a huge office space and furniture. This is one of the new employee incentive ideas you can consider.

2.      Free eLearning Programs or Skill Development Courses

A great employer or manager should always recognize the potential in their team and not just exploit it. Encouraging your team to reach higher career levels or expand their skills is not enough. You also need to provide to help employees achieve more.

Such employee incentive ideas will benefit both the employer and the employee. To cultivate a culture of growth and push your employees towards it, you should:

  • Encourage employees to subscribe to eLearning services that can help improve their current skills
  • Allow them to learn or take a course as they continue with their day-to-day tasks
  • Set course completion deadlines and reward them for completing their courses

Reward programs can include bonuses, salary upgrades, promotions, or other monetary employee incentives. If they have to sit for an exam, encourage them by giving them some time during the day to study and time off work when sitting for the exam.

Online courses are ideal for skill development, increased employee performance, and professional value. If possible, consider partial or full tuition reimbursement for employees who want to take a more comprehensive course. Companies that incentivizes employees using such programs are also able to stay up to date with emerging trends in their indstry.

3.      Unlimited Sick Leave

Regardless of how dedicated your employees are, they may have to miss a few days due to medical reasons. Employees' health is crucial, and several employers understand this. However, they have unclear or strict sick leave rules that might see employees reporting to work when sick to protect their jobs.

To be more accommodating, employers should consider amending their sick leave policy to include an unlimited number of sick days an employee can take. Also, you can devise a plan to manage the day an employee misses work due to medical reasons.

This can be hiring a freelancer or dividing tasks among the available employees. Additionally, have an adjustment period, which allows employees who are back from sick leave to handle fewer tasks.

An unlimited sick days policy are employee incentive plans that will inspire employees to put in the extra effort once they return to work as a token of appreciation or gratitude for their employer. The employee incentive program also encourages top talent with chronic health conditions looking to join the company to apply and give their best.

4.      Free Fast Food Catering on Special Holidays

Working during a holiday can be very demotivating for employees. If your employees have to work during a holiday, the right employee incentive program ideas can help. Food brings people together, and free food will keep your employees engaged, bring them together, and also boost their morale.

To do this, get to know your employee's favorite fast food meals and shortlist corporate catering services providers who have a good track record and offer the best. The last thing you want to deal with is a case of food poisoning.

Come up with a menu that offers a variety of options. When your employees know what to look forward to, they are bound to be more motivated and comfortable. Free food can be expensive, especially if you have a large team.

Therefore, if you want to consider this employee incentive program and also avoid cost-related issues, offer free food only on very significant holidays. For the rest of the holidays, you can offer free healthy snacks. If there’s room in your budget for more, make this a regular employee incentive program during holidays.

5.      Relaxation Rooms as Employee Incentives

The concept of ‘Inemuri,' which also means taking naps while at work, was first introduced by the Japanese. Google embraced this employee incentive program and made it more modern and mainstream with its futuristic sleep pods. The pods provide their employees with a room to relax and re-energize.

Though such an employee incentive program may not be an option for all workplaces, it is a good way to promote a healthy work environment and motivate employees. To capture this idea, have a designated room or a section of the room for napping or resting.

Encourage your employees to take short breaks or scheduled nap time during their working hours. If you have limited office space, allow them to turn off their computers and nap at their stations.

Nap times can help re-activate the brain and shorten brainstorming or decision-making periods. This will increase the overall performance of an employee and allow more efficient operations, making it one of the most effective employee incentive programs.

6.      Awards, Gifts, and Recognition

Recognition is still one of the most important employee incentive ideas. An employee or team who contributes significantly to the success of a project or the company should be recognized and appreciated for their effort. Therefore, have an employee recognition platform for such efforts.

Award-based incentive programs or best employee incentives are meant to reward employees according to their achievements, create a culture of positive and healthy competition, and also encourage teamwork.

This can be profit sharing, an employee of the month recognition, thank you card, bonus, gift card, gifts, or a customized gift. These awards are a great way of showing an employee that you appreciate them professionally and personally.

For example, a gift card will allow the employee to pick their preferred gift, making the reward more practical and valuable. Remember to use words of praise for all your employees as much as possible.

7.      Team Activities

Improving team chemistry is yet another employee incentive program that can help retain employees and boost engagement. To encourage teamwork, dedicate some days or a weekend to group sports, games, and team-building activities.

Team activities are health and wellness incentives that should be a permanent office culture. Include activities that will improve employee engagement and allow employees to discuss their challenges or projects with one another and get each other's input. Try to scale the activities to include different branches or departments, including your remote workforce.

If you have enough resources, plan an employee trip or camping trip. Taking a break and truly letting your hair down is a great way to bond with other employees on different levels.

8.      Have a less Strict Work Environment

Most employees are attracted to the little things that a company can offer. Apart from casual Fridays, allowing your employees to leave early if they have completed their tasks before the end of the day can be an effective employee incentive program. Of course, they will need to check in with their supervisor or manager before doing that.

Also, the four-day workweek is all the rage right now. Often employees spend those extra hours or that extra day staring at the ceiling or surfing the internet. If and whenever possible, allow employees to work for four days and get a three-day weekend.

This employee incentive idea will motivate them and encourage them to meet their deadlines on time. Also, if an email is enough, incentivize your employees by avoiding those extraordinarily long meetings.

9.      Financing Assistance as an Employee Incentive Program

Consumer goods and vehicle financing assistance are great monetary employee incentives. This will allow employees to get a vehicle, camera, phone, computer, or any other good they need with their company servicing as a trusted co-payer.

Create monetary incentives or an automobile financing assistance plan to help cover a percentage of the payment. Include a co-payment amount in the employee's salary and recover the financing.

When making a deduction to recover company money, ensure it is minor so that it provides some advantage and doesn’t defeat the purpose of such employee incentive ideas.

Consider These Employee Incentive Programs

Employee incentive programs work. The right employee incentive ideas or programs have several benefits to offer employees and employers, making it an ideal win-win investment. Since it's the beginning of the year, it is also the right time to think about employee incentive program ideas to motivate your team. These and more employee incentives will help you have a motivated team throughout the year and help you achieve your business goals.