Unlocking Employee Motivation: Understanding Work Incentives

March 14, 2023

Considering the high rate with which employees leave their jobs to go remote, work incentives are a good way to keep needed staff satisfied and working. Work incentives are schemes to help employees improve and feel that their extra effort is duly noted and well appreciated. These schemes are given out to employees for being excellent, going the extra mile, and doing one thing or the other, giving them an edge over their fellows. 

These incentives could be awards to the best staff, best team player, or even the most punctual staff. Incentives could also be cash gifts such as financial support, grants, scholarships or free trips. Work incentives are a great way to keep employees motivated and willing to do more. It also keeps employees working longer with the company. The goal is majorly to promote great work ethics and increase productivity. 

Employee incentive ideas

There are several employee incentive ideas that companies can use to motivate their employees, which range from:

  1. Cash gifts: this includes pay raises, bonuses, and financial aid. 
  2. Non-monetary rewards include rewards with no real financial attachments like time off, leave, or vacation days off.  
  3. Development schemes like training, paid advance courses, mentorship programs.
  4. Free healthcare: enrolling deserving employees in free healthcare is another good way to motivate them. This would especially come in handy for those with some health challenges. Footing their bills goes a long way beyond encouraging them. It shows you care about their well-being. 
  5. Recognition awards: certificates are also non-monetary incentives to motivate your staff. 

Incentive plan

A thriving company or company looking to do better must have an incentive plan laid out. This plan is a draft from feedback gotten either from staff working within or outside the company. 

The survey should focus on team playing, best performing staff, respectful staff, and other core values the company holds dear. The plan will then serve as a template to reward employees better. 

Incentive plan examples

Several incentive plan examples can be implemented depending on the organization’s core values. Examples are:

  • Performance-based incentives for individuals: 

This type of plan rewards individual employees based on their personal performance and commitment to the organization. For example, a salesperson might receive a commission for every product they sell. This makes for good Incentive plans for employees in that unit.

  • Team player performance-based incentives: 

This type of plan rewards a group of employees for achieving specific goals as a team. For example, a group of customer service representatives might receive a bonus if they can resolve a certain number of customer complaints within a given time frame.

  • Company-wide performance-based incentives:

This type of plan rewards all employees based on their overall performance as evaluated by the company. For example, an organization might offer a bonus to all employees if the company meets its financial goals for the year to show appreciation to its devoted staff.

  • Non-monetary incentives: 

Not every incentive has to involve money. Non-monetary incentives can still be effective in motivating employees. Examples include time off, additional vacation days, flexible work schedules, or company-wide events.

  • Service or milestone incentives: 

These are the rewards gifted to employees for reaching a specific service milestone, such as meeting their monthly targets or something as simple as completing a certain number of years with the company.


Employee incentive program

Companies need to have an employee incentive program in place for their staff so they can perform better. The incentive program is a laid template by companies to encourage employees to meet or exceed specific sales targets, meet customer service goals, or improve other key performance indicators. The following are employee incentive program examples:

  • Sales commissions: This incentive program ensures that sales staff get a reward in the form of a commission for a meeting or exceeding specific sales targets.
  • Profit sharing: Under a profit-sharing program, a portion of the company’s profits are distributed to employees as a bonus.
  • The employee of the month: This program recognizes and rewards employees who go above and beyond in their work.
  • Recognition and rewards program: This program rewards employees for demonstrating certain behaviors or values important to the company, such as teamwork, punctuality, or customer service.
  • Employee referral program: This program rewards employees for referring job candidates who the company eventually hires.
  • Performance-based bonuses: They are bonuses the company gives to employees who meet or exceed specific performance goals.
  • Employee wellness program: This program rewards employees for engaging in healthy behaviors, such as exercising regularly or eating a healthy diet.

Incentive ideas for employees

Companies that develop their employees are the real deal because, besides helping the staff, they are helping their company grow. There are ways to develop your employees. This can be through training them to learn a skill, enrolling them in courses, and paying for an advanced course. 

For companies in event planning and management, getting your staff trained to be effective helps them and the company too. This is a win-win plan for everyone. Smart Work Event Agency provides the best event planning management. 

Event Planning Skills

Event planning is the process of organizing and coordinating events, such as conferences, festivals, and weddings. It involves various tasks, including selecting a venue, arranging transportation, coordinating catering and entertainment, and managing budgets. Enrolling your staff in Event planning skills is a great incentive plan. This skill hones employee communication and organizational skills and the ability to problem-solve and adapt to changing circumstances.

Event Management Skills

This is another great tool to hand over to staff who do great in the management team. Event managers may work with a team of professionals, including vendors and contractors, to ensure that every aspect of the event runs smoothly. This skill requires strong communication and organizational skills are essential for success in event management, as well as the ability to problem-solve and adapt to changing circumstances. 

Event Coordinator Skills

Event coordinators organize and coordinate events, such as conferences, festivals, and weddings. Staff with event coordinator skills can be further trained to be better. For a company into event planning and management, this skill is something you want your employee to excel at. 


Ultimately, the best employee incentive idea depends on the purpose for which the company is giving this motivation. It may also be helpful to have a survey passed around for employees to fill out and you get the feedback. This will help guide the company to make meaningful decisions and create the most appealing incentives.