Productivity and employee engagement are more critical than ever for companies worldwide. The pandemic has shifted how people perceive work, including where and how they do it. How do employers keep their employees motivated and ready to work?
Some businesses offer incentive-based programs to keep their employees going, but how does that work?
Why Are Employee Incentives Important?
Offering incentives can be an excellent way to motivate workers to do their best at all times. Disengagement is a problem at some workplaces, with employees feeling tired or unmotivated to try their best. Incentive programs are an effective way to get the wheels turning with employees and give them reasons to come to work and put forth the effort.
Creating incentive programs for employees can be tricky, so companies need to gauge what specific things workers would like to see. Different offices will want various rewards, especially considering the growing remote and office divide. Home-based work has become a mainstay in the workforce, so it’s critical to consider incentives that suit both in-office and remote employees.
What Incentives Can Employers Offer at Work?
Incentive programs can stay in-house, so nobody has to leave the workplace to participate. These three incentives can increase attendance and productivity.
One of the most accessible incentives employers can give is recognizing employees who work hard and show impressive results. About 35% of workers say they want more recognition in the workplace for their effort, and 69% say acknowledgment and rewards programs motivate them to stay at their job. Resignations have been high during the pandemic, so employers must recognize hard work.
There are multiple ways to recognize employees in the office. Managers could prioritize celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries. Supervisors could create a trophy and pass it around to the most productive member each month. Social media recognition on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and other apps could be an excellent way to show people outside work how effective team members are.
2. Bonuses and Raises
Money can be a tight issue for many employees and their families. These days, inflation and other factors have led to higher costs and more strain on workers’ wallets. A company can ease the pain by offering bonuses and raises as incentives for employees to work hard.
Performance-based bonuses can be one of the most powerful incentives for a business. About 65% of employees say they prefer them.
3. Food and Drink
This incentive is more than a “Wheel of Fortune” category. Providing food and beverages at the workplace can be an effective way to get employees to come to the office. Work from home (WFH) has allowed many people to opt for a home office, but keeping a kitchen full of nutritious snacks and beverages can lure these workers back in, especially if they’re free. Employers could offer food delivery vouchers and gift cards for remote workers if in-office work is unattainable.
A popular incentive a workplace can offer is a good coffee blend. Coffee provides caffeine that can keep employees alert and ready to work. Most caffeinated coffee has between 65 and 100 milligrams of the substance, with lighter kinds typically containing more caffeine than dark or medium. The brewing method can also affect the caffeine content.
Another factor when choosing coffee is the origins of the beans. South American coffee tends to be sweet, whereas Central American beans have a flavor closer to chocolate. African coffee will resemble fruit flavors, and Asian beans usually taste earthy. Employers should ask their workers what they prefer to get the most out of this incentive.
What Incentives Can Employers Offer Outside of Work?
Incentives in the workplace are excellent, but employees also want to see their company care for them outside of work. Employers can offer these three incentives to help employees accomplish their goals outside of the workplace.
1. Health and Wellness
Health and wellness have become a more significant concern since the pandemic began. Conversations about physical and mental health have led to changes in the workplace, with employers offering programs to help employees. These are crucial for workers and companies alike. Mental health services at work can help prevent burnout and retain top talent.
Physical health is another priority for employers. Some companies offer discounted or free gym memberships for their employees. This gym could be on-site or through a partnership with a local fitness center. Encouraging exercise can be a worthwhile incentive to promote good health. Staying active can help improve sleep and energy so workers remain alert for longer.
2. Tuition Reimbursement
Depending on the workplace, most employees have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Others may have a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, many people want to continue their educational journey. Learning is a part of human nature, and companies should encourage their employees to continue growing. It helps them become marketable, and the company benefits by having more skilled workers.
One way employers can help their workers is by giving tuition reimbursement. Workers from entry-level positions up to the CEO can and should participate in ongoing learning because there are always opportunities to learn. Offering this incentive can be an effective way to attain and retain top talent in the industry. Companies like Starbucks, Walmart and Amazon have offered tuition-free degrees through partnered universities, and other companies are likely to follow suit.
3. More Time Off
Balancing work and life has become a more significant focus for prospective employees. It goes along with their job’s physical and mental health aspects, leading people to want more time to themselves. In fact, about one-third of employees would even take a reduction in salary if it meant they had unlimited vacation time. These workers say they would give up about a quarter of their salary in exchange for more time off.
Taking time off work is essential for workers. Giving them adequate time throughout the year to relax and go on vacation can lead to more productive employees. It can also alleviate turnover and increase motivation to come to work. Unfortunately, in the United States, only about 37% of workers use all of their paid time off (PTO). Creating a program that incentivizes time off can do wonders for a company.
Giving the People What They Want
The workplace can and should be more than a place to spend eight hours and then go home. Employees want challenges, learning and career coaching opportunities and rewards for their hard work. The Great Resignation has shifted the American workforce and led employers to consider how they can attract and retain top talent. They have to ask themselves what people really want from their jobs.