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How Work Incentives Drive Employee Engagement

Motivating and engaging employees is one of the most important steps in achieving your company goals. Engaged employees boosts overall company morale, helps team members feel more valued and appreciated, and encourages everyone to strive for their best performance. One of the easiest ways to engage employees is through a work incentive program. As a result of effective work incentive programs, employees become more invested, loyal, and productive. These programs also help to reduce absenteeism, turnover, and company cost while encouraging employees to hit their targets and increase achievement, which is a win-win for everyone.

Start out Simply–Think Outside the Box The road to improvement starts with the atmosphere of the workplace. The age of being stuck in a cubicle all day long is dying hard because it stifles energy and productivity. Spark creativity and efficiency by creating open team work spaces that give employees more room to work and encourage collaboration. Simple changes and additions to your company’s workspace will ultimately help employees become more motivated, creative, and productive. Consider providing a workspace that offers:

  • Open seating areas and work stations (e.g., couches, tables, standing desks)

  • Work spaces with windows to increase the amount of natural light

  • Inspirational artwork and live plants

  • Healthy snacks and drinks

Look for ways to show employees the connection between their individual actions and how it improves the company. For example, when employees see how their work adds to the overall success of company’s goals, they will want to help hit that next target. Fun ways to help employees see this connection could be a visible target board or color-coded graphs of each department’s upward movement towards company goals.

Employee Appreciation If there’s one thing that kills office morale and motivation, it’s employees that feel under-appreciated. It is truly important to show employees that they play an important role in achieving company goals. To do so, create sustainable opportunities that show your employees their hard work and input are appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed. Staff incentives can be a reward, prize, or even as simple as giving recognition for a job well done. Try to get the entire office together in one room when you highlight employees. Your recognitions might include announcing employee of the month or weekly recognition of top-performing departments and teams. You might even pen a lighthearted mention in an email/reward when you hit a target goal out side of all-hands meetings. Team lunches or outings can also be highly effective in boosting morale and uniting your team. Some of the most popular celebrations are those where everyone is celebrated together at the end of a quarter, season or when a certain goal is reached. You can also create interactive countdowns or visual aids to show overall, team, and individual progress towards company goals. It should be consistently updated to create a sense of urgency, excitement, and even, competition. In addition, make sure that employee incentives are easy-t0-understand and convenient to access. No one appreciates a vague reward program that doesn’t show how employees can actually reach the promised benefits. Instead, convey true appreciation by making it convenient to get the rewards employees achieved.

Make it Personal Show your employees you care about them in the long term by providing positive and unique outlets for health and wellness. Provide options to keep them healthy, such as a workplace gym or gym club discounts/reimbursements. This can motivate employees to stay healthy and give them the ability to remain upbeat and take care of themselves. You might even organize an on-site yoga session or healthy meal preparation in one of the company conference rooms. When employees know they have opportunities for non-traditional health benefits, they will work harder to earn them. This can increase loyalty and productivity, as well.

Offer Company Stock Company can be an extremely powerful incentive to show employees their high value and make them really feel they are an integral part of the company. When employees have opportunities to earn these types of concrete rewards, they feel more emotionally invested in the company, which results in better engagement. When employees have a stake int he company, they then become more focused on company goals because not only because it benefits the company, but them as well.

Gift Cards and Choices Using gift cards as an incentive is a relevant approach for rewards that employees want and value. In fact, 91 percent of employees report that they enjoy a gift card as an incentive. Besides, isn’t that what everyone wants for the holidays, as well? Employees will remember the company provided these types of rewards. Other employee incentive ideas can include a fun outing to a sporting event or an arcade/eatery such as Dave & Buster’s (see our full list of non-financial incentive ideas). These types of incentives stand out in employees’ minds and will encourage them to over-perform in the future. In addition, to add diversity, offer a wide selection of choices to reward your loyal and deserving employees. Gift cards are one option, or you can use e-gifts, or travel bonuses. Take time to talk with employees to find rewards and incentives that they want. This will encourage employees to work towards rewards and also feel like they are part of the incentive plan building process.

Paid and Unpaid Time Off as an Incentive Work-life balance has become increasingly important to employees in recent years. As part of your incentive plan, you can reward employees with a flexible time off policy or travel discounts to encourage employees to take some “me” time when they need it. Well-rested employees have more motivation and benefit the company more overall. With adequate time off, employees are happier, healthier, and more productive in the long run when they experience the benefits of a much-needed vacation. The companies with the happiest employees recognized that life is all about balance. Show your employees that when they work hard, they can play hard too. You can provide additional benefits such as the option of working for vacations and group day outings to increase motivation and camaraderie among your employees. This shows employees they are even more a part of the team and creates a closer, friendlier atmosphere/ They now have this time to take a break from work and see their colleagues in a new light. Adventure outings can spark new energy, ideas, and team spirit that is a crucial part of building a strong and supportive company culture.

Final Thoughts It is easy to see that a work incentive program can drastically improve employee engagement and productivity. The advantages of showing employee appreciation are prolific, and doing so will help tie directly into your company’s success and growth. When employees see their value and role in the company, everyone benefits. As a result, there will be less turnover and absenteeism in your company, and you’ll see more focused and direct company growth as you reach your goals. A work incentive plan will create loyal, hardworking employees who embrace your vision and feel appreciated to grow your company and see it succeed. And, the results are priceless.


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