Employee Incentives Examples: Monetary vs Non-Monetary Rewards

employee incentive programs

This article delves into the concept, significance, and examples of employee incentives, examining monetary and non-monetary strategies.

What are employee incentives?

Employee incentives are a strategic approach employers use to recognize and reward employees for their contributions and achievements within an organization. These incentives motivate employees to perform their best and go above and beyond their regular duties.

By offering incentives, employers aim to enhance employee morale, job satisfaction, and overall engagement, resulting in increased productivity and improved business performance.

Employee incentives can take various forms, including both monetary and non-monetary rewards.

Here are some key points to consider when understanding the concept of employee incentives:

Monetary incentives

Monetary incentives involve providing employees with financial rewards to recognize their performance or accomplishments. This can include cash bonuses, profit sharing, stock options, or salary increases.

These incentives directly impact employees' financial well-being and can serve as powerful motivators.

Useful Read: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Performance-Related Pay

Non-monetary incentives

Non-monetary incentives are rewards that do not involve direct financial compensation. Instead, they focus on providing employees valuable experiences, opportunities, or benefits.

Examples of non-monetary incentives include:

Motivation and performance

Employee incentives are designed to motivate employees to achieve their goals and perform at their best. By offering rewards and recognition, employers can encourage employees to exceed expectations, demonstrate innovative thinking, and contribute to the organization's success.

Employee morale

Employee incentives are crucial in improving and boosting employee morale. When employees feel appreciated and rewarded for their efforts, they are more likely to have a positive attitude towards their work, feel valued, and have higher job satisfaction. This, in turn, can lead to increased employee retention and reduced turnover rates.

Engagement and productivity

Employee incentives contribute to increased employee engagement and productivity. When employees are motivated and rewarded for their hard work, they tend to be more committed, focused, and driven to achieve their goals.

This heightened engagement can result in higher levels of productivity and efficiency, ultimately benefiting the organization.

Useful Read: 6 Metrics to Measure Employee Engagement: The Employers Guide

Tailoring incentives to employees needs

Employers need to understand that different employees may have varying preferences regarding incentives. What motivates one employee may not have the same effect on another.

Therefore, it is crucial to customize and tailor incentives to align with individual employee needs and preferences. This can be achieved through ongoing communication, feedback, and understanding employee aspirations and interests.

Creating a positive work culture

Employee incentives contribute to shaping a positive work culture within an organization. Employers foster a sense of appreciation and value by recognizing and rewarding employees, cultivating a supportive and inclusive environment.

This positive work culture can lead to higher employee engagement, improved collaboration, and a stronger sense of loyalty and commitment.

Employee incentives are a strategic approach employers employ to recognize and reward employees for their contributions and achievements.

Whether through monetary or non-monetary rewards, these incentives are powerful motivators that enhance job satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.

Employers can create a positive work culture and drive organizational success by understanding the importance of employee incentives and tailoring them to individual needs.

Why do employers use incentives?

impactful employee incentives programs

Employers use incentives as a strategic tool to achieve various goals and drive positive organizational outcomes. Let's explore in more detail why employers use incentives:

Motivating employees

Incentives serve as powerful motivators for employees. By offering rewards and recognition, employers create a sense of accomplishment and encourage employees to put forth their best efforts.

Motivated employees are likelier to go above and beyond their regular job responsibilities, leading to increased productivity and improved overall performance.

Retaining top talent

In today's competitive job market, retaining talented employees is crucial for an organization's success. By implementing effective incentive programs, employers can enhance employee satisfaction and create a positive work environment.

Satisfied employees are likelier to stay with the company, reducing turnover rates and ensuring valuable skills and knowledge retention.

Increasing job satisfaction

Incentives contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction among employees. When employees feel recognized and rewarded for their hard work, they experience a sense of fulfilment and appreciation.

This, in turn, leads to greater job satisfaction and a higher likelihood of employees being engaged and committed to their roles.

Driving performance and productivity

Incentives are directly linked to improved performance and productivity. When employees have clear performance goals and understand the rewards associated with achieving them, they are more motivated to perform at their best.

Incentives can incentivize employees to meet and exceed targets, resulting in higher productivity and better outcomes for the organization.

Fostering a positive company culture

Incentives are crucial in shaping a positive company culture. By recognizing and rewarding employees' efforts, employers create a culture of appreciation and recognition.

This fosters a supportive and inclusive work environment where employees feel valued and motivated to contribute their best work.

A positive corporate culture can attract top talent, boost employee morale, and improve overall employee satisfaction.

Encouraging innovation and creativity

Well-designed incentives can stimulate innovation and creativity among employees.

By providing rewards for innovative ideas, problem-solving, and out-of-the-box thinking, employers encourage employees to bring their unique perspectives to the table.

This fosters a culture of continuous improvement and drives innovation within the organization.

Enhancing employee engagement:

Incentives are powerful tools to increase employee engagement. Employees who feel valued and rewarded for their contributions become more engaged.

Engaged employees are emotionally committed to their roles, display higher discretionary effort, and actively contribute to the organization's success.

Building loyalty and commitment

Incentives contribute to building loyalty and commitment among employees. Employees who are recognized and rewarded for their achievements develop stronger loyalty to the organization.

This loyalty translates into a long-term commitment, reducing turnover rates and creating a stable workforce.

Useful Read: Employee Loyalty and The Different Generations in The Workplace

Attracting top talent

Effective incentive programs can also be a competitive advantage in attracting top talent. Job seekers are often drawn to organizations offering attractive incentives and rewards.

By highlighting their incentive programs, employers can differentiate themselves from competitors and attract highly skilled candidates motivated by the prospect of being recognized and rewarded for their contributions.

Improving overall business performance

Ultimately, incentives are driven by the desire to improve overall business performance.

Motivated and engaged employees, coupled with higher levels of job satisfaction and retention, lead to increased productivity, better customer service, and improved financial results for the organization.

Examples of employee incentives

employee stock ownership employee benefits financial incentives


Compensation is a broad category of employee incentives that includes various monetary rewards. Some specific examples include:

  • Pay raises: Offering salary increases to employees who demonstrate exceptional performance or take on additional responsibilities.

  • Cash bonuses: Providing one-time or periodic cash rewards based on individual or team achievements.

  • Profit sharing: Sharing a portion of the company's profits with employees as an incentive for their contributions to its success.

  • Stock options or equity: Granting employees the opportunity to purchase company shares at a discounted price, giving them a stake in the company's future financial growth.

  • Commission-based incentives: Providing additional monetary rewards based on sales performance or business development achievements.

Extra PTO

Paid time off (PTO) is a valuable non-monetary incentive that promotes work-life balance and employee well-being. Some examples of extra PTO incentives include:

  • Paid sabbaticals: Offering extended time off, typically after several years of service, to allow employees to pursue personal projects, travel, or engage in professional development.

  • Additional vacation days: Providing employees extra paid days off beyond their regular vacation allowance as a reward for exceptional performance or years of service.

  • Flexibility in scheduling: Allowing employees to adjust their work hours or take time off when needed without deduction from their PTO balance.


Monetary bonuses are highly effective incentives that motivate employees to excel. Here are some examples:

  • Performance-based bonuses: Rewarding employees with cash bonuses based on achieving specific performance goals or targets.

  • Spot bonuses: Offering immediate, on-the-spot cash rewards to employees who demonstrate exceptional effort, problem-solving skills, or significant contributions.

  • Referral bonuses: Providing monetary incentives to employees who refer qualified candidates who the company subsequently hires.

  • Team-based bonuses: Recognizing and rewarding entire teams for outstanding collective performance, encouraging collaboration and teamwork.

Tuition reimbursement

Investing in employees' professional development through tuition reimbursement is a valuable incentive that benefits both the employee and the organization. Examples include:

  • Reimbursement for degree programs: Supporting employees pursuing advanced degrees related to their role or career development.

  • Certification programs: Providing financial assistance for employees seeking professional certifications that enhance their skills and knowledge.

  • Continuing education courses: Covering the costs of relevant courses or workshops that contribute to employees' professional growth and expertise.

Team retreats

Team retreats offer non-monetary incentives focusing on building relationships, fostering teamwork, and boosting employee morale. Examples of team retreat incentives include:

  • Offsite team-building activities: Organizing offsite events, such as outdoor adventure challenges or workshops focused on team dynamics and communication skills.

  • Retreats at luxury resorts: Treat employees to a relaxing and enjoyable getaway where they can bond with colleagues and participate in team-building exercises.

  • Team-based competitions: Creating friendly competitions or challenges within the retreat that encourage collaboration and teamwork.

Flexible schedule

A flexible schedule is a non-monetary incentive that allows employees to have greater control over their work hours and achieve a better work-life balance. Examples include:

  • Remote work options: Allowing employees to work from home or other locations outside the office regularly or occasionally.

  • Flextime: Offering flexibility in setting start and end times, enabling employees to work during their most productive hours.

  • Compressed workweek: Allowing employees to work longer hours on fewer days, such as four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.

Useful Read: The 4-day work week schedule - An Implementation  Guide


Organizing various activities as incentives can cater to employees' interests and values. Some examples include:

  • Personal fitness classes: Providing on-site fitness classes or subsidizing gym memberships to promote employee health and well-being.

  • Volunteer work opportunities: Encouraging employees to participate in volunteer activities during work hours or providing paid time off for volunteer work.

  • Social events: Organizing team-building activities, social outings, or themed events that allow employees to bond and have fun together.

Office happy hours offer

Informal employee recognition programs, such as office happy hours or catered lunches, can create a positive work environment and foster camaraderie. Examples include:

  • Regular social gatherings: Organize informal get-togethers after work hours to promote social interactions and build employee relationships.

  • Celebratory events: Host office parties, holiday celebrations, or milestone commemorations to recognize achievements and show appreciation.

Bring-your-pet-to-work day

Introducing a "Bring-your-pet-to-work" day can be a fun and unique incentive that promotes a positive and inclusive company culture.

This initiative allows employees to bring their well-behaved pets to the office, creating a joyful and stress-relieving atmosphere.

These examples demonstrate employers' wide range of possibilities when designing effective incentive programs that align with their employees' preferences and organizational goals.

Perks for staying with the company

team members employee benefit

As employees demonstrate long-term commitment and loyalty to the company, employers can reward them with special perks and incentives.

These perks serve as a token of appreciation and motivate employees to continue their dedication to the organization. Here are some examples of perks for staying with the company:

Gift cards

Long-term employees can receive gift cards to their favourite restaurants, stores, or online platforms. These cards provide a flexible and personal reward that employees can use according to their preferences.

Subscriptions to valuable services

Employers can offer long-term employees subscriptions to valuable services that align with their interests or needs. This could include subscriptions to streaming platforms, fitness apps, professional development resources, or even personalized online learning platforms.

Access to in-house amenities

Employers can provide long-term employees exclusive access to in-house amenities to enhance their work experience. Such amenities include a free gym membership, access to wellness programs, recreational facilities, relaxation areas, or even on-site childcare services.

Rental cars

Offering long-term employees the convenience of access to rental cars can be a valuable perk. This benefit can be particularly useful for employees who frequently travel for work or have personal needs that require temporary transportation.

These perks for staying with the company motivate employees to remain committed and loyal and demonstrate an employer's recognition of their long-term contributions and dedication.

Benefits of an employee incentive program

Employee incentive programs offer numerous advantages for both employees and the organization. These programs contribute to a positive work environment and enhance employee satisfaction, engagement, and morale.

Here are some key benefits of implementing an employee incentive program:

Motivate employees to meet and exceed performance goals

Incentive programs provide clear goals and rewards that motivate them to perform at their best. Employers can encourage employees to push their boundaries and achieve exceptional results by aligning incentives with performance targets.

Improve retention rates

Employee incentive programs are crucial in improving employee retention rates. Employers create a positive and rewarding work environment by recognizing and rewarding employees for their efforts and achievements. This, in turn, fosters loyalty and encourages employees to stay with the company for the long term.

Foster a positive company culture

Incentive programs foster a positive company culture where employees feel valued and recognized for their contributions. Such programs create a sense of camaraderie, teamwork, and appreciation, which can improve employee morale and job satisfaction.

Enhance employee engagement

Employee incentive programs actively engage employees in their work by providing them with meaningful goals and rewards. Engaged employees are more likely to be productive, dedicated, and invested in their roles, improving overall performance and business outcomes.

Boost employee morale

Recognizing and rewarding employees through incentive programs significantly boosts morale. Employees feeling appreciated and acknowledged for their hard work creates a positive emotional connection with the organization. This positivity spreads throughout the workplace, contributing to a more vibrant and motivated workforce.

Increase job satisfaction

Employee incentive programs contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction. Employees who feel valued and rewarded for their efforts are likelier to find fulfilment in their work. Job satisfaction leads to increased productivity, reduced turnover, and improved employee well-being.

Reinforce company values

Well-designed incentive programs align with the company's mission and goals. Employers reinforce the organization's desired behaviours, work ethics, and culture by integrating incentives that reflect these core values.

Employee incentives program examples - Monetary incentive

employee stock ownership plans employee stock ownership plan incentive plan employees motivated

Monetary incentives such as cash bonuses, profit-sharing, or ESOPs are highly effective in motivating employees. They directly contribute to an employee's financial well-being, creating a sense of reward and accomplishment.

Company merchandise

Offering company merchandise as an incentive can foster a sense of pride and belonging among employees. This non-monetary incentive can motivate employees by showing appreciation and reinforcing company values.

Offer sought-after health and wellness incentive

Health and wellness incentives such as gym memberships, health insurance, or wellness programs can improve employees' well-being and job satisfaction.

These benefits demonstrate an employer's commitment to its employees' health and wellness, which can significantly boost morale and engagement.

When well implemented, incentive programs can drive a company's success by improving employee performance and satisfaction. Companies can design effective and impactful incentive plans by recognizing employees' unique needs and motivations.

When integrated with the company's culture and values, these plans can foster a work environment that motivates and rewards employees, thereby driving performance and productivity.

Whether a simple recognition program or a more complex profit-sharing plan, employee incentives can distinguish between a company that survives and thrives.

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In conclusion, employee incentives are vital in enhancing motivation and retention in the modern workplace. Employers can create a positive work environment that fosters loyalty, engagement, and satisfaction by recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions and achievements.

Integrating Shiftbase in Your Employee Incentive Strategy

An effective employee incentive strategy can be perfectly complemented with Shiftbase, a comprehensive workforce management SaaS. Shiftbase's features, like employee scheduling, time tracking, and absence management, directly align with non-monetary incentive strategies such as flexible work schedules and professional development opportunities. For instance, with Shiftbase, employers can effortlessly manage flexible schedules, empowering employees to balance work and life commitments more effectively. The time tracking feature ensures fairness and transparency in rewarding overtime, and the absence management tool ensures everyone's entitled time off is well managed. So, are you ready to take your incentive strategies to the next level?

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Topic: Employees
Rinaily Bonifacio

Written by:

Rinaily Bonifacio

Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.


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