Employee Incentives FAQ 

Answers to the most popular employee incentive questions.

Showing a little appreciation can go a long way with your employees. Employee incentive plans motivate your talent with structured rewards and recognition strategies. These plans can help businesses attract new talent, reduce employee turnover costs, provide better customer service, and create a high-performance culture. 

Your employees want to feel valued. Cash bonuses can help do that, but they can’t keep the enthusiasm going for long. Eventually, cash bonuses become associated with baseline pay—the kind of pay that goes towards bills, car payments and other expenses. Not very exciting.  

Non-cash rewards work well because they’re tangible, memorable, and sharable. According to an Incentive Research Foundation study, employees will put in more effort and make more lasting behavior changes for non-cash rewards than cash commission or praise. Why? Because non-cash rewards have social value—they can be talked about and showed off to friends. 

Examples of effective incentives for employees include:

  • Online Rewards – Giving employees points for online merchandise is an effective way to motivate them, while sparing management the logistical demands of other incentives. 
  • Group Incentive Travel – Incentive travel provides something even more substantial than merchandise: lasting memories. A memorable trip rewards top-performing employees and encourages them to be as emotionally invested in your brand as you are.  
  • Gift Card & Debit Card Rewards – Although gift cards and debit card rewards are less personal than merchandise rewards or incentive travel, they are fast, flexible, convenient, and popular with employees. 
  • Social Recognition – Companies are communities. Pairing your rewards with social recognition can be a powerful motivator for employees. Providing interactive leaderboards lets employees compete and see who’s in the top spot, while social media-based platforms encourage peer-to-peer recognition. 

The most effective way to reward employees is with an incentive program where they can earn online rewards, gift card rewards, debit card rewards, or incentive travel opportunities for helping your company achieve its goals. However, other rewards for employees can include: 

  • Employee recognition at company-wide events. 
  • The option to earn remote workdays. 
  • Catered lunches. 
  • Paid-for courses, certifications, and seminars. 

Yes; according to the Incentive Research Foundation, tech companies that achieved a 5% year-over-year increase in revenue and strong customer/employee satisfaction metrics were more likely to use reward points and group incentive trips than companies that failed to achieve those results. 

Low turnover rate and high average tenure are two important measures of employee loyalty. Both factors can be predicted by employee engagement, and they’re vital KPIs for determining if your employee rewards and recognition program is effective. Sending regular self-reported surveys is another way to monitor how your employees feel about your company, helping you stay on top of potential problems. 

Incentives encourage employees by always giving them something to work toward and providing clear goals for improvement before the next year-end review. Non-cash rewards are also tangible reminders that your company values its employees, which makes your employees more likely to achieve their goals in the future.

The best recognition for employees is immediate, visible, and personalized. Effective forms of employee recognition include:

  • Reward point certificates that employees can redeem for online rewards.
  • Shout outs on social-media inspired walls that update in real-time.
  • Interactive leaderboards that display which employees are making the most progress towards their goals.
  • Putting together an incentive travel promotion for top-performers.
  • Mentioning employees who go above and beyond at company-wide events.

Non-cash rewards for employees include:

  • Online rewards.
  • Debit card rewards.
  • Gift card rewards.
  • Incentive travel.
  • Catered lunches.
  • Remote workdays.
  • Positive mentions online and at company events.

Learn from our incentive experts