Top Employee Incentive Programs Examples in Workplace

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Employee incentive programs

Innovation, good work ethics, and morale are three critical pillars for an organization to grow and prosper. Employee incentive programs are effective ways to promote these qualities along with efficiency and productivity. An organization can effectively use employee incentive programs for employee branding, recruitment, engagement, and retention as well.

With employee incentive programs, a company can reward its hard-working employees. At the same time, it is possible to inspire other employees to reach their highest potential. The program itself may not break the budget of the company but it can provide great results.

If you want to initiate an incentive program but are struggling to find one, here are a few ideas you can consider for your company.

What is an Employee Incentive Program?

Employee incentives are privileges and rewards to encourage employees to align with company values and enhance their job performance. The employer can provide either monetary or non-monetary incentives in this manner.

Monetary incentives programs provide financial perks or cash bonuses to employees, while non-monetary programs are cheaper in comparison. Both of these incentives can positively impact employee morale and productivity.

The best practices many companies adopt are combining monetary and non-monetary incentives for the betterment of their business.

Employee Incentives Program Examples - Monetary Incentives

Monetary Employee Incentives

Monetary incentives can be a huge motivation for employees. Here are some examples of employee incentives programs that are monetary.

Spot Bonuses

Spot bonuses often involve cash prizes right after accomplishing a significant achievement. Spot bonus is an excellent way to acknowledge the contribution and hard work of an employee. 

Spot bonus may not have any deep agenda other than being responsible for accomplishing a certain goal. It is a gesture of gratitude from the employers to the employee for the exceptional work they are doing. The company can provide the employee with a yearly bonus or a small amount of cash right after reaching the goal. 

Performance Bonus

A performance bonus is given to the employee right after their performance contributes to the financial success or growth of the company. It also provides the company with a way to calculate employee performance goals.

A higher commission earned by the top salesperson is one example of a performance bonus. Performance bonuses can be distributed to the employees monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Merit-based Bonuses

The merit-based bonuses reward employees with salary growth over a long period. This standardized system allows employers to build long-term relationships with employees. Merit-based bonuses usually stand upon meeting significant benchmarks and performance reviews. 

Many companies usually raise the living adjustment costs every year. Also, several companies raise the basic salary depending upon the performance and expertise of the employee. These are some excellent examples of merit-based bonuses. 


The profit-sharing incentive allows the employees to be more involved with the company’s success. In this program, the employees achieve a higher bonus when the organization makes more profit. This is a great way for startup companies to keep the employees motivated and keep doing their best work.

If a company is not so cash-flow positive, this is a great way to improve the morale of the employees. Also, this is a great way for the employees to understand how their contribution is impacting the company’s bottom line.

In most cases, the profit-sharing incentive plans are based upon the employee’s basic salary. However, if the company wants, it can be a percentage of the earnings distributed among the employees.

Referral Bonuses

Among other incentives, referral bonuses allow the company to hire fresh talents. An existing employee can refer to a candidate for the overall well-being of the company.

When the new employee plays a crucial role in the company and is willing to stay with it for a determined period, the existing employee gains a bonus for his excellent referral.

Referral bonus opens an opportunity for the company to prosper and inspire the employees to bring a talented workforce into the company.

Gain-sharing Plans

The gain-sharing plans are involved with an increase in productivity. As a company can increase productivity with time, it can share a part of the profit with the employees to inspire and motivate them.

In this plan, the company audits the profit gain due to increased productivity and splits a portion with the employees.

For example, if a SaaS company signed more clients due to the enhanced expertise of the content team, it can split some revenue with the team members to keep them motivated. It will make the content team create more appealing content and help in new signups with other organizations.

Employee Incentive Programs Examples - Non-Monetary Incentives

Non-Monetary Employee Incentives

Many employees nowadays prefer recognition rather than financial perks. It can be a great way for companies to boost the overall motivation of their employees. 

Additionally, non-monetary incentives help the employees enhance their skills and productivity. It also gives them opportunities to explore their creative side. Here are some examples of non-monetary employee incentives:

Offer Vacations

After months of hard work and reaching deadlines, the employees may find themselves exhausted and overworked. Naturally, overworked employees cannot be as efficient as they used to be. To provide the employee some relaxation time, the employer can offer him a vacation. This will be beneficial for both parties. 

It can come as an all-inclusive day trip, a local resort room, air tickets to a vacation destination, or spa treatment in a nearby resort. This helps the employee to shed their fatigue and be productive in their respective field once again.

Improved Equipment

The efficiency of a company can increase significantly when the employees are provided updated equipment. It helps the employee to work with ease and with more comfort.

The company can provide the employees with a comfy chair, nicer desk, or updated software, for example. With this equipment, the employees will be able to accomplish their tasks more efficiently.

Paid Time-off

Every company has some policies to provide employees a specific number of paid vacation days. However, when an employee accomplishes any tough goal, the company can offer them some additional vacation days.

It will allow the employee to take a break from their daily routine and get recharged before the next challenges. Also, it will enable them to achieve an outstanding work-life balance and help them stay motivated.

Casual Dress Day

For some employees, getting dressed in formal attire may seem like a hassle. Also, some may feel restricted in formal attire. So the company can declare one day of the week or the month as casual dress day. 

Most companies with casual dress day policies prefer Friday as casual dress day. It allows the employees to come in casual attire and this can be a fun thing.

Outside Service

This is an amazing way to provide some excitement to your employees. After a company-wide achievement, the employers can bring in a food truck, manicurist, yoga instructor. 

This initiative will make the employees happy and make them eager to achieve the next goals.

Company Picnics

Company picnic allows the employees to grab some relief and get acquainted with one another. As a result, the bond between different teams of the organization enhances and paves the way to collaborate for company growth.

Aside from the traditional picnic in the park, the company can choose to take the employees hiking, in a local recreational facility, or in a museum or art gallery. 

Company Merchandise

A company can recognize its employees by rewarding them with company merchandise. It will uphold the great work the employees are doing in the company. Moreover, it can work as an advertisement for the company as well. 

The branded gear can be an exclusive coffee mug, t-shirt, water bottle, or anything with the brand logo in it.

Benefits of Employee Incentive Programs

The employee incentive program builds loyalty among the employees. It gives them a reason to conduct their best work and invest in the success of the company. Also, it will reduce the employee turnover rate. Therefore, the company can build long-term relationships with the employees and nurture their talents.

Also, employee incentive programs contribute to increasing productivity and improve the company culture. It assists the company in driving goals and supports strategic development. Last but not least, employee incentives help the employees build bonds with one another. The company can demonstrate its appreciation for the exemplary work done by its employees.

HR’s Role In Employee Incentive Programs

Designing the employee incentive programs is a key function of HR. The HR is responsible for the cost estimation, drawbacks, and setting the benefits for the employees. 

Any team or HR professional responsible for designing and implementing employee incentive programs should keep in mind the following things:

  • Make sure the taste of the employees aligns with your programs.
  • Make the program easily understandable for the employees.
  • Always keep track of the program, if it is fulfilling its purpose, and how to improve it.
  • Ask the departing employees about the reasons for their departure and make improvements.
  • Inform the upper management how the program is working

Final Words

Employee incentives are crucial for the success of an organization. Make it simple and creative. Also, for gaining recognition, the goals should be achievable and realistic. Only then will the organization be able to achieve the best results from the incentive programs.

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