What To Offer In An Employee Incentive Program

If you and your company have decided to create and implement an employee incentive program here are some tips and ideas on what kind of rewards you should be giving out. According to the Incentive Research Foundation, when asked to report how they determined the best amounts to budget for their reward and recognition programs, the groups responding with over 50 percent across four award categories: Cash, Travel, Merchandise, and Pre-Paid Cards.

Here are some different ways to offer various rewards, including “free” ones such as recognition, to your employees:

Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition programs are a simple, powerful way to improve working relationships, employee engagement, and retention. Peer recognition can work all sorts of ways: employees can show appreciation one-on-one or in public, using paper notes or e-cards, bulletin boards or social media.

Spot Rewards

Employees are given rewards instantly, or “on the spot” when they show strong performance or exhibit professional behavior. Very simple and easy, keeps employees on their toes as it can happen at any instance.


Teams or individuals compete to win a reward, a popular method for highly competitive salespeople. A great one to re-use whenever you feel necessary.

Points Programs

Employees collect points over time for meeting various goals. Points can be redeemed instantly or saved up. This program is a little bit more difficult to implement, but it keeps employees invested for long periods of time but can often be rewarded.

One-Time Rewards

The most straightforward incentive: meet the goal, earn the reward. This structure is ideal for launching new products and policies.

Utilizing sick days

Gives the employees the opportunity to “cash in” unused sick days at the end of the year or small rewards for perfects months. This idea is a good way to encourage attendance.


These are small prizes with no cash involved. Give an employee an extra hour for lunch, casual days, etc. Keeps it fun as this can be as creative as you want it to be.


A weekend away for an employee plus a friend or loved one, or a week away for the best sales team. This can tie into a contest or points program, and something as big as a chance to travel for free can fire up your employees.


As long as you’re creative there can be an abundance of different ways to reward employees for their hard work. Just remember to keep it fun and not get out of hand as people can become very competitive. The idea is to bring employees together and recognize their hard work, not to divide the office up.




Author: Jeremy Landry

Jeremy is passionate about HR, Strategic Development, and new and exciting business technologies. His role within The HR Gazette is content curation marketing.

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