8 Best Employee Incentive Programs

Best perks to offer aside from salary, raises, and health benefits.

Employee retention is especially important when the economy is down because sourcing, interviewing, hiring and training replacements drain valuable time and money resources. In order to promote employee job satisfaction, you as a manager or HR professional need to focus on making some of the top preferred perks available to your workers, in addition to base pay and insurance.  Employee morale surveys from Infosurv  can help you determine what incentives are best for your employees. To find out more about some of the best employee incentives, read on.

1.    Flex hours and/or telecommuting

Flexible hours and telecommuting are two different perks, but they both offer the same thing: flexibility and freedom for the employee to choose when and where he or she works. This is one of the most sought after employee incentive programs. There are a number of ways to offer flex hours to employees who earn it. One option may be to allow them to create their own work schedule for a given amount of time, or they might still work the same days but get to decide when they start, take breaks and stop. Similarly, instead of or in addition to flex hours, you may also choose to offer the option of telecommuting. Again, there are several options for the structure of a telecommuting perks program, but it allows employees to avoid the stress of traffic, picking up their kids on time or missing appointments because they work so far from home. These perks are extremely valuable in that the employee earns a reward that makes his or her life easier, and it doesn’t cost you a thing.

2.    Health and wellness program

Health and wellness are becoming more important in many employees’ lives, but gym memberships are expensive. Additionally, not all employees will have time to balance a gym membership with a spouse, children, community involvement and more. One very highly appreciated perk is a wellness benefit. As with other perks, this program can be set up in a number of ways – discount to a certain gym, cash reimbursement on fitness-related equipment and classes or company athletic events. Regardless of how it works, healthy employees are likely to perform better and miss less work, so this will benefit your company as well.

More employee incentive programs…

3.    Points program

Many employers have set up points programs similar to those of a credit card company. Certain behaviors or successes result in a certain number of points that can be redeemed for gift cards, cash back or a variety of other items. Making the program visible to the entire team can also encourage competition and increase participation. The down side to a program like this is that it could cost you more money than you’re able to budget, so if you’re looking to spend less on employee points perks, offer rewards such as long breaks or telecommuting days.

4.    Separate group and individual incentives

While group incentives help improve teamwork, individual incentives are more effective, as employees like to be able to control their own destiny. However, offering both is beneficial, but they should be offered as separate programs. In a sales environment, for example, this program could involve a reward for the individual with the most sales of a certain product, as well as a team outing for the group with the highest overall results. Individuals will be encouraged to participate and win the unique prize, but they will also want to be an active and vital part of their team.

5.    PTO, paid holidays and relaxation

Whether your organization already offers PTO and paid holidays or not, offering the opportunity for additional free days is highly desirable as far as employee incentive programs.  As opposed to only offering paid days off for sick days or emergencies, you could consider setting up a program where employees work to earn additional time off that they can use whenever and however they choose. Additionally, if they are unable to use the time before the year’s end, you could consider converting it to cash on their next paycheck.

6.    Production-based bonuses

The ability to earn additional money on top of salary and raises is an incentive that most would love to have. One effective way to set up a bonus program is to allow employees to measure their progress on a daily, weekly or monthly basis in order to continue improving. Individuals will measure their success against the company as a whole, and dollar amount for the bonus is based on their percentile rank in the company. This is also a great way to encourage open discussion about improvement and growth for those that earn the bonus and those that don’t.

7.    Social and networking events

Offering the opportunity for team gatherings and events will help build commodore amongst employees. Social activities boost morale and create strong bonds between team members, encouraging them to work together and perform better on the job. Whether it’s a monthly outing or a reward for meeting goals, off-site events will help to create a more cohesive team and is often one of the underutilized employee incentive programs.

8.    Tuition reimbursement and learning opportunity

When the economy is down, employees are willing to spend time to improve their knowledge and skills in order to keep their jobs and work toward promotions. However, formal education and training are expensive, and it may prove difficult for employees to pay for schooling, especially those that have already completed degree and certificate programs. Tuition reimbursement and ongoing training opportunities are perks that can really help with employee retention. If you’re offering to pay for their education that could lead to an internal promotion, they are more likely to jump at the opportunity and perform better for your organization long-term.

Several additional options exist for employee incentive programs. Whether you choose to implement some or all of these suggestions or come up with some of your own, the key factor is figuring out what will work best for you and the members of your team. By offering employee perks, you’re giving your organization a better opportunity to gain top talent through administrative recruitment and to keep them on board for the long haul.

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