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Employee Experience

Developing Creative Incentive Programs for Employees

One Minute Takeaway

  • Talent shortages are making it harder than ever to recruit employees, so it’s important to keep the ones you have!
  • Rewarding employees for positive outcomes is key to employee retention and morale.
  • Employee incentives don’t have to cost a lot. A sincere thank you goes a long way.

Raise your hand if you don’t like being recognized for a job well done! Of course, everybody likes a pat on the back when they knock a project out of the ballpark. Making sure you reward employees for positive outcomes is a vital element of employee retention and morale—a huge focus area these days with talent shortages in almost every industry.

What Can Happen if Employees Aren’t Engaged

Engagement and performance outcomes go hand-in-hand. In 2020, Gallup compared companies in the bottom quarter (least engaged employees) to the top quarter (most engaged employees) and discovered some interesting stuff:

  • Companies with less-engaged employees had 64% more safety incidents than their more engaged counterparts.
  • Businesses with unhappy employees experienced 81% more absenteeism.
  • Healthcare facilities with unengaged staff had an increase of 58% in patient safety incidents.
  • Organizations with already high turnover (restaurants, manufacturing, etc.) experienced 18% more turnover when they had disengaged employees.

(The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes 2020, Gallup)

If you think your company is teetering on the edge of that bottom quarter, there are six things you can do to motivate your employees, make them feel valued and improve company culture. And don’t worry, the six things are easy.

6 Easy Employee Incentive Ideas

  1. Thank them… out loud! This is such an easy thing to do, and it costs you absolutely nothing. But so many managers just don’t take the time to give shout-outs.Recognizing a top performer’s magnificent work in a team meeting can be a huge morale booster. Build kudosinto your weekly meetings to recognize great customer interactions, productivity boosts or cost savings.
  2. Thank them… in writing. When you verbally thank an employee, it can be a nice touch to thank them in your online recognition tool as a follow-up. If the employee isn’t on your team, copy their manager so the thanks can go in their file. (PRO TIP: With Paycor HR, employees can give each other recognition in the system, so everyone can see. It’s a great way to make positive vibes part of the culture. When it’s time for reviews or promotions, leaders can see recognition in their talent dashboard; it’s just another way Paycor helps leaders stay organized and in-touch with their talent.)
  3. Broadcast their achievements. Bragging about an employee’s stellar accomplishments in the company e-newsletter or on the company intranet can be a real “feel-good” moment for the recipient. Bonus: It can encourage other employees to do better so that they can also receive that same hype.
  4. Give a little thank you gift. Ask your employees to fill out a company- or department-wide “Favorite Things” spreadsheet. Include columns for their name; birthday; mailing address; hobbies; favorite restaurant, candy, snack, adult beverage, etc. This is a super-easy go-to document that everyone can access any time they want to recognize a fellow employee with gift cards or treats for a job well done.
  5. Thank you gifts don’t have to be material. Think about a Freebie Friday off to promote good work-life balance, extra vacation time or a flexible work arrangement (ex. 3 days remote, 2 days in the office).
  6. Build a formal rewards program. If you want to go a more tech-y route, you can always enlist the help of an employee incentive tool. These platforms let employees send points to each other along with recognition for things like achieving performance milestones, meeting sales objectives and meeting wellness goals. Employees can then use the points they collect to redeem rewards.

Ensuring your employees have something to remember their achievements by is an excellent morale booster. In this challenging hiring environment, it’s more important than ever before to keep the employees you have… and keep them happy. Putting an employee incentive program in place can be a great start.   

How Paycor Helps

Paycor helps leaders build winning teams and a big part of that process is recognizing and rewarding talent with career planning, continuous performance feedback, fair market compensation and comprehensive benefits that speak to their individual needs. Learn how Paycor can help the leaders of your organization create a healthy, productive culture that celebrates shared success.