Pointers for Offering Incentives Your Employees Will Actually Care About

by / ⠀Startup Advice / March 21, 2013

Keeping employees happy and motivated is of the utmost importance for a business. The combined costs of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees can add up to a great deal if you have high turnover rates. It is definitely important to consider offering different incentives that will inspire and motivate your employees both to work hard and to stick around.

Here, we suggest numerous ideas for doing so, some of which won’t cost you a dime.

Show that you trust them by allowing a work-from-home day every now and then.

Employees appreciate the flexibility of being able to work from home at times, whether it is just to get a mental break from the office, or because a child is sick, or perhaps their cable is being installed. Whatever the reason, employees appreciate the level of trust they feel you have in them by allowing them to work from home.

Believe it or not, this is an incentive for employees to stick around at your company. Make sure they have a VOIP option on their laptop for easier communication with coworkers and customers while working remotely.

Paid cell phones.

Particularly for a sales force, offering to pay the cell phone bill is not only a nice to have, but has come to be expected by some. Whether or not you see this as an incentive, your employees definitely will, as every dollar counts for an employee in a down economy. Especially if your salaries are relatively low (maybe you have a startup), consider helping employees in other ways like with the low cost of cell phone bills.

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Consider offering free cell phones to employees–this is always a much appreciated gesture.

Summer Fridays.

Some companies offer a half-day on Fridays during the summer, or the ability to pick a Friday or two to take entirely off in the summer so that employees can enjoy the weather and get away early to a trip they are taking. This is very generous, and since summer time can often be a less productive season for businesses anyway, this benefit will be much appreciated by your staff.

Rewards for hitting sales goals.

Consider having cash rewards or some other type of incentive like paid time off for when your business hits its quarterly and/or annual sales goals. Give your sales team something to work harder for, and don’t skimp on the reward–you wouldn’t have achieved such milestones without your team, and you need to keep them motivated to keep achieving.

Free sodas.

Employees love feeling as though they are getting something for free that they would otherwise be paying for. Many people drink soda, and this is a relatively inexpensive thing to offer that will put a smile on an employee’s face (not to mention prospective employees). It might actually also keep people in the office a little bit later to be productive if they can get that quick pick-me-up late in the day as a result of your free offering. Free snacks don’t hurt, either, by the way!

Employees love free sodas–consider offering this inexpensive incentive.

Flexible hours.

It’s not easy for every employee to pull a 9-to-5 shift. If the work merits it, consider allowing for a bit of flexibility for mothers, for example. Some mothers need to leave work earlier to care for their children when they get out of school. It is a massive benefit to allow for this, and to either pay the employee accordingly for working fewer hours or to negotiate with her the option to finish her work later from home.

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Regardless of the incentives you provide, do consider providing some unique offerings that allow you to stand out a bit from the companies your employees could otherwise be working for. Having these incentives in plain sight (like free sodas) will also aid in the recruitment process. Happy employees will share details about great incentives while interviewing candidates, as well.

Keep your employees around and happy with fun and low cost incentives, and you’ll reduce overall recruitment costs, allowing the costs associated with incentives to be well justified.

Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from health and wellness to the online reputation management with Reputation.com. Cara has a BA in English from Stanford University, and founded a for-profit social venture with her brothers. 

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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