In simple terms, an employee incentives program is something a business implements to motivate employees to perform better. It can also help improve job satisfaction and help individuals meet specific goals.

A good incentive program is designed around the types of actions you wish to reward. It provides a tool for both managers and colleagues to acknowledge the efforts and successes of one another. When used correctly, they make employees feel valued which, in turn, can improve performance and productivity. Rewards come for employees who achieve positive outcomes and go above and beyond for the business.

What does this look like?

To understand what behaviours you want to incentivise, you should start with your core business values. Identify the types of behaviour that reflect those values to help leaders, managers and staff understand what is expected of them. Your core values should be embedded in every aspect of your business, not just incentives.

It is easy to see how a carefully devised employee incentives scheme can boost your organisation’s culture. It adds real purpose and direction to the actions of every individual and helps everyone focus on the things that should be achieved.

If you need some ideas about how to incentivise your employees and see a measurable return on investment, below are some fresh examples to consider.

1. Compensation

This generally covers the more basic the incentive programs. They usually come in the form of performance-related bonuses, stock options and profit-sharing schemes.

If you want to think outside the box with compensation incentives, you could link it to an individual’s career progression. Spend some time with each employee to devise a career roadmap that enables them to visualise the stages they must progress to in order to get promoted and enter the next salary band.

2. Recognition

If budgets are a concern, you may be happy to learn you can implement more cost-effective programs to demonstrate your appreciation of your staff. Truth be told, the simpler gestures often show gratitude more effectively because they are personal and direct.

‘Thank You’ culture: Your company business meetings are an opportunity to get the whole team together and offer praise where it’s due. You could even arrange special ‘Thank You’ meetings in which star performers are recognised and their good work is highlighted.

Colleague appreciation: We spend a great deal of time with our colleagues, and positive interactions in the workplace help boost job satisfaction. Work to create a culture in which colleagues are encouraged to appreciate one another, perhaps through internal publications aimed at mentioning or nominating individuals who have made a special effort. This enhances the community in your workplace and promotes a sense of pride.

Customer shout-outs: Employees who work hard to keep customers happy deserve recognition, and customer feedback is very effective. Enable your customers to nominate employees who have excelled in order to maintain and encourage high standards of customer service.

Personalised notes: Taking the time to produce a handwritten letter is more personal than a positive email. It can be significantly more valuable for the employee and can be more meaningful than a monetary reward.

A recognition platform can be very effective in recognising the achievements of employees and encouraging them to appreciate one another.

3. Rewards

The classic example of a reward incentive is to offer sales-related bonuses. But these can feel quite outdated in many industries and it doesn’t encourage employees to work hard for the company – it’s all about the money.

The success of your business hinges on more than just sales. And if employees are only thinking about targets and profit margins, they are likely to focus on easy targets and underserve a significant portion of your target customers.

Your business needs to produce satisfied customers if it is to succeed in the long term. You need to take care of them throughout their journey in your company or they are unlikely to become loyal customers. This is why you should focus on offering meaningful rewards to all members of your organisation – think things like peer-to-peer referrals wherein colleagues can provide points that can later be spent on things like digital gift cards that will improve their work-life and life outside of work.

4. Appreciation

This type of incentive program can include things like birthday celebrations, company parties, early finishes on Fridays, prizes, regular team lunches and extra holiday time. It’s all aimed at encouraging unity.

Give each department a social budget for the leadership team to access for team treats. Appreciation from line managers should come more often than just at the Christmas party.

Strategic employee incentives: a powerful tool

Incentive schemes are very effective at boosting productivity and reaping the benefits for your organisation’s profit margins. In order to succeed, however, they need the backing of a corporate culture that acknowledges and appreciates high performance.

A reward and recognition program should have structure and help create greater transparency across departments. They are an excellent platform to raise awareness of the aspirations of your business. They can also help employees contribute to the wider success of the organisation by aligning with your core values.

We offer a range of structured employee incentive programs that include technology that can be integrated with your business. They provide a pre-arranged scheme that will engage employees and support feedback as well as personal enrichment for all individuals. You will also get actionable insights to show how well the incentives are working and what sort of contribution they are making to the culture of your organisation.

You need to think carefully about the employee incentives you offer or you may just be spending money on a rewards scheme that makes no real difference to the things you wish to improve. Think about the culture and values of your business, and the aims it has for success, and then consider how you could motivate employees to work towards a vision of progress. Employee incentives just might get you where you need to be.

Speak to one of our experts at Rewards Come True on how you can create employee incentive programs today.

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