When deciding which incentives to offer your employees, you may be shocked what can work. It’s not always about spending a ton of money on your employees because money does not always equate to happiness. Today we are sharing some excellent workplace incentives that your employees want.

You need to consider each employee incentive that you put forward heavily. Each incentive has the chance of being perfect for your company, but it also has the chance of being negative.

According to a recent article published on The Balance:

Incentives can be tricky for employers. Depending on what is incentivized, employers can encourage teamwork and cooperation or damage it. If you provide an individual sales incentive to sales staff, for example, you guarantee that your sales force will not work together to make sales. Alternatively, provide a team incentive and employees will follow up each other’s leads, share best methods, and work as a team to make sales.

So, you have to be careful when it comes to the workplace incentives that you have in place, and you must make sure that they are helpful, not a band-aid for any bad company culture you have, and help your team work together to solve issues.

Simple Recognition and Thanks

Before you spend a single dime, you must understand that many employee incentives don’t cost a thing.

Many employees want to be recognized for the work that they are doing, and that can be incentive enough to get your workers excited and ready to work.

It is important for you to praise your employees as much as possible, and according to an article on Business Insider, you may need to engage with your employees and praise their work every week or so. This may seem like a lot, but if you keep track of this and work hard to recognize employees from across your company, you can make a tremendous impact on your company culture.

Simple recognition and thanks to your employees is beneficial because it is cost-effective, and a simple thank you is a phrase that is heard far too often in the workplace.

Related: 9 Reasons Why You Need Better Employee Recognition Now

Bonuses + Raises

One of the most common forms of workplace incentives is the bonus or the raise. It is often the fallback incentive and the one that companies go to again and again.

This can be taxing because often employers do not know how to recognize their employees in other ways besides offering them more money for the work that they do. While employees will not likely turn down a raise, other ways impact company culture in a more distinct way.

Ultimately, a bonus or a raise should be just one technique in your employee incentive arsenal.

Bonuses and raises can be very beneficial because money is a major factor for many employees and people in general. More money from a job means that your employees can provide more for their families and have more money to spend on that family.

Work/Life Balance

Let’s start this off with a simple statement; your employees want to be able to have a life outside of their jobs. Many people love their work and all the things that they can accomplish there, but you need a good balance of work and life to be truly successful.

If you value your employee’s work/life balance, they will return to work each day with new ideas, a new outlook on the work that they can accomplish, and they will be well-rested. Prioritize leaving work at work so that your workers can get the rest that they need between office hours.

While work/life balance isn’t a typical “incentive,” it is important for any employee. According to Psychology Today,

Workplaces that support employee well-being and allow time for employee recover are part of creating a sustainable workforce where employees don’t get burned-out an ineffective.

In other words, creating work/life balance helps your employees stay healthy and happy!

Workplaces that support employee well-being and allow time for employee recover are part of creating a sustainable workforce. Click To Tweet

Staff Development & Training

If you are an employee, your goal is to never stop learning. Things happen with your job, you may want to apply for a higher position, or you just want to make sure that your certification is always up to date.

Many companies offer training and development programs for their employees to benefit from. Companies like Amazon, Mariott, AT&T, and Bonobos all take employee development seriously and offer this perk for their employees.

According to Mary Richter, AT&T’s corporate communications manager,

We’re focused on aligning company leaders to strategic business innovation and results, skilling and reskilling our 280,000 employees and inspiring a culture of continuous learning.

Offering this perk is obviously one of the more expensive perks but offering opportunities for education, personal development, seeing speakers, etc. can have a positive impact on your employee’s performance at your company.

Support & Clear Pathways To Success

When it comes to millennial workers, many want to feel that they have the support that they need as well as a pathway to get from where they are to a higher ranking position or just a better position in the company.

If you want to provide this incentive you can do a couple of things:

  • Offer mentoring programs in your office where senior executives can team up with newer employees.
  • Outline a path for each employee and let them know all of the things they can accomplish as well as the steps to achieve those things.

Your employees want to feel like they are moving forward and by pairing them up with people who have moved forward, you can create a bond in your workplace as well as the future leaders that your company needs to compete in the future.

Student Loan Assistance

Many employees are saddled with student loans that make it impossible to enjoy your life, even when you start working with a company and make a significant amount of money.

If we dig into facts and figure, in the United States there is $1.45 trillion in student loan debt, and that debt affects 44.2 million Americans. That’s a lot of debt, for many American workers. A college education is so important now, especially to work for companies who pay a decent wage.

With all of that going on, it’s easy to see why student loan assistance would be a great employee incentive. Many companies like Chegg, Staples, the U.S. Government, and Penguin Random House all have student loan assistance programs in place.

Mental Health Support & Mental Health Days

Mental health support and even mental health days can have a very positive impact on your employees and help them thrive in your workplace.

Many employees struggle with mental health issues, especially in high-stress jobs. It is important for companies to understand the mental risks that their companies are putting employees in, and understanding when they need to help employees with mental health support.

If mental health days aren’t in the future for your company, there are other ways that you can support mental health. You can create relaxing spaces throughout your office, introduce your employees to meditation, provide insurance that covers seeing mental health specialists, etc. Research what other companies have done to support mental health in the workplace.

Maternity & Paternity Leave

When women leave the office to go on maternity leave, they are often scared of what will have become of their careers when they return.

It’s hard for women to return to the working world.

If your company can make it easy for women and men to return to the workforce after a baby, it will be a great incentive to get people to work for your company.

This doesn’t mean just offering maternity or paternity leave. It also means minimizing the risks often associated with taking that leave because if your employees are afraid to take it, the leave doesn’t do much good.

Companies like Netflix, Etsy, Adobe, Google, and Twitter are among many companies that pride themselves on having excellent maternal and paternal leave.

Help With Or On-Site Child Care

Child care is expensive. Care.com did an extensive look at child care, and its affordability and what parents would do to get great child care for their kids. Child care caused tension in the relationships of 40% of parents surveyed by Care.com and on top of that 72% of parents budget for child care and only 30% of those parents were able to stay in budget for their child care expenses.

If your company can provide child care for or help with child care for your employees, you can lift a significant burden that many parents have in the workplace. Finding a great child care facility within budget is difficult for many parents, and they don’t trust their children with just any person. You want to be able to retain parents on your workforce, so providing them with this as an incentive can help you do that.

If you follow this path, you will join companies like Aflac, Publix, Intuit, and General Mills that all help their employees with childcare.


Employee incentives help us keep and attract wonderful employees. We need our employee incentives to be beneficial for our employees. Your employee incentives should get at the root of the issues in your company and should be more than just a band-aid for bad company culture. If you can take pride in the employee incentives and what they represent, you can create a company full of happy and healthy employees.


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By | September 22nd, 2017|Company Culture|

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