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30 Employee Incentives That Will Actually Motivate Your Team (w/ Examples)

Do you want your employees to strive to do their absolute best for themselves and your company? One way to boost morale and motivate them is by offering a variety of incentives.

Of course, you’ll also want to sprinkle in lots of praise and things that help with internal motivation, but offering things of monetary value simply adds to those efforts.

Why Should You Incentivize Your Employees?

Put simply, because happy workers are productive workers.

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Employee satisfaction should be important to organizations who don't wish to churn through talent month after month. We all enjoy being rewarded for our efforts.

In one study, organizations that offered one or more recognition programs had a low turnover rate of between zero and five percent. Since churn costs companies money, keeping employees happy and engaged results in more profits for your business.

30 Employee Incentive Examples

There are many different incentives, so knowing what employees really want is challenging. Below are 30 different incentives your employees are most likely to be interested in. Browse through them and try a few or all of them to motivate your workers.

1. Cash

It might sound obvious, but good old cash incentives aren’t something to overlook. This takes the form of bonuses, profit sharing, or prize money.

2. Trips

For many employees, travel is one of their most desired rewards from an employer. They remember a trip won far longer than they remember a cash reward.

This makes sense, as it's a way to build memories and life experiences. Travel improves mood and perks up employee spirits.

3. Raises

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Offering raises as an incentive is a viable option for many employers. It's a clear way to show your appreciation for a job well done and allows you to really look at how an employee performs across multiple areas.

4. Recognition

Even though tangible rewards are nice, about 38 percent of people feel the recognition for a job well done is equally important.

If you want to please all of your employees, be sure to offer some type of tangible reward along with recognition factors.

5. Gift Cards

Most people welcome gift cards as a desirable prize. Hand out gift cards that a majority of people will enjoy.

For example, a round of golf at the local golf course isn’t something everyone will love, but a gift card for a nice dinner out is.

6. Branded Items

Pass out items with your company brand on them like they're candy. Not only is this is a nice reward for employees, but it also serves as free advertising for your company.

The employee gets a new t-shirt, which they wear and love, and everyone they encounter while wearing that shirt sees your brand name.

7. Lunch With the Leader

Once a week or month, spend some time with a single employee. Pay for their lunch and let them choose where they want to go eat.

Really invest in your employees and it will pay off in loyalty and motivation.

You can do this a couple of ways. You can simply rotate through your employee roster in alphabetical order or you can choose top performers. If you have a particularly large company, you may need to do group lunch dates rather than one-on-one events.

8. Better Parking

Do your employees have to walk several blocks to get to the office?

Choose an employee of the month and reward him with a CEO-level parking spot right in front of the building. This is a nice perk that doesn’t cost you anything but a parking spot, but it motivates employees to strive for that spot, particularly in cold weather.

9. Education

If you want your employees to be among the best-trained employees in your industry, invest in their education.

For example, as they reach specific levels in their careers, you could offer to send them to a conference or pay for them to take a course at the local college to expand their knowledge.

10. Upgrade Their Equipment

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If you ask any of your employees, they'll likely be able to give you at least one product or tool that they feel could be updated, replaced, or upgraded.

Reward your employees with new office chairs, an ergonomic mouse, standing desk, or maybe even a new computer or laptop.

11. Parties

People love parties.

Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, business wins, or maybe just through an in-office black tie event just for the heck of it. Give your team a fun outlet to work toward and look forward to it.

12. Casual Friday

If you have a more formal dress code, this one will definitely be appealing to your employees. It doesn't have to be restricted to Fridays only, but giving them a chance to forgo the ties and pencil skirts is a nice way to keep culture and performance up.

13. Office Shopping Spree

This doesn't mean take everyone down to the nearest mall on the company's dime.

But what you can do is offer teams or individuals that are doing well a pre-determined budget to purchase whatever they'd like to add to the office (within reason, of course).

If it fits the workplace culture, maybe they'll invest it all into a foosball table!

14. Team Service Project

There's a pretty good chance that at least a handful of employees have a charity or non-profit that they're invested in. A cool incentive is presenting the opportunity to donate to their organization of choice.

If your staff is a bit more hands-on, then maybe you can rally the office to go and volunteer locally.

15. Extra Time Off

It's important to build time off or vacation days into your benefits package, but earning a few extra days more than average can tempt many employees to push a little higher for great results.

16. Surprise Snacks

Whether it's a surprise, catered brunch or an indoor food truck (ice cream cart anyone?) food is an excellent motivator.

17. Dog Day

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People love their pets and most folks would love to bring their pups into the office for a day.

Of course, check with your landlord, respect any allergies within your team, and make sure that all animals are up to date on their shots and trained well.

18. Traveling Trophy

Introduce a Terrific Teammate trophy into the office that gets passed off to individuals as they accomplish certain goals. You can gameify it by promoting some healthy competition, or allow employees to pass it off on their own accord to those they find deserving.

19. Wall of Fame

The coveted wall has been immortalized in sitcoms for ages. Employee of the month photos prompt a sense of awe and aspiration.

It's not a bad idea to incorporate into your own office, especially if you can make it silly or entertaining.

20. Care Package

For employees that have been going the extra mile or those you've received wonderful customer feedback on, consider creating a care package full of nice goodies for either their desk or to take home.

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Throw in some snacks, candy, maybe a gift card, or company swag to show your appreciation for their efforts.

21. Office Library

Promoting education and growth in your team is important if you don't want them to plateau or become stagnant. Bring in some industry-related books that they can pick up to further their skills and professional development.

22. Work From Home

This is incredibly important if you want to avoid employee burnout.

Once an employee reaches a certain employment milestone, let's say six months for example, offer them some days where they can work remotely from the comfort of their own home.

23. Brewery Tour or Wine Tasting

This is a great culture event as well as an incentive. If you have local breweries or wineries nearby, sponsor a trip to one as a reward for an excellent quarter or big win.

24. Gym Membership

This is a pretty popular idea. There are lots of gyms that offer discounted rates for businesses or have specials throughout the year. It's a pretty budget-friendly means of encouraging your staff, while promoting a healthy lifestyle.

If your office building has a gym in it, look into what it would take to gain access for your staff.

25. Remote Year

This is a really cool incentive, but it may not be for everyone. The idea is that you sponsor an employee as they work remotely abroad for either six months or a year.

It's meant to enrich their life experiences and promote new perspectives and diversity in your workforce. Naturally, this one may not be in every organization's budget, but if you can swing it, it's worth the resources.

26. Spa Day

Whether you bring a masseuse into the office or you treat a team member to a day at a local spa, giving your staff an opportunity to relax and refresh is an excellent incentive.

27. Mileage Reimbursement

Commuting comes with territory in most industries, but it doesn't make the drive any less tedious. Consider offering mileage reimbursement as an incentive for those who commute a long distance or are often on the road on company time.

28. Pet Daycare

It's not uncommon for pet owners to feel a certain measure of guilt for leaving their furry friends alone for most of the day. Offer to pay for a pet daycare membership for a certain amount of time for employees who have shown loyalty to the company or have reached an employment milestone.

29. Childcare

Of course, there's definitely a greater need for childcare services than one for a cat or dog.

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Make contributions toward your staff that need daycare or childcare assistance.

30. Calling Dibs

If your office has some pretty neat amenities, then you can create some friendly competition with this incentive.

Have a monthly contest where employees have to meet a certain quota in their work to earn calling "dibs" for the following month. They'll get first pick of snacks and lunch breaks, cut in line for the printer, and any other "dibs" worthy ideas you can think of.

Tips for Better Employee Engagement

Even with all of the coolest, most enticing incentives in the world, there can still be some sort of disconnect between employees and their work at times. Maintaining employee engagement and satisfaction isn't a one shot fix.

Here are just a few tips on how to keep up your employees' engagement:

Employee Engagement Surveys

Not everyone is comfortable approaching leadership with their opinions or concerns. Make it a bit easier on them by performing employee engagement surveys.

This gives them an open invitation to draw your attention to opportunities for improvement and they'll appreciate being heard. You can use online survey tools and apps to make gathering feedback efficient and easy. 

Employee Resource Groups

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led associations where team members can come together based on shared interests or background.

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ERGs offer leadership opportunities and give employees a platform to have their voices heard, both great things for engagement.

Engagement Initiatives

Managers have a lot of power to motivate their staff. Higher levels of emotional intelligence in your managers allow your employees to be more authentically present in their work.

It’s up to managers and leadership to do much of the day to day work that engagement entails, so make sure you're educating them on how to keep their reports invested.

Fresh Ideas for Incentives

These are just a few ideas for ways to reward and motivate your employees. The key to keeping the interest of your workers and engaging them is to come up with new reward programs that push them to always strive higher.

Rewarding employees for a job well done is nothing new, but today there are many different ways to offer those rewards.

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Micah Lally

Micah Lally

I’m a Content Writer at Bluleadz. I’m a big fan of books, movies, music, video games, and the ocean. It sounds impossible to do all of those at the same time, but you’d be surprised by the things I can accomplish.