Out-Of-The-Box Employee Incentive Ideas Your Team Will Love


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If you’ve ever managed a team of several employees, you know that what works for one may not work for all when it comes to offering incentives. While money is often offered as a bonus for a quota met or a job well done, it’s not always the most effective driving force for employee motivation. While some like a little bump in cash for the holidays, others are looking for more meaningful, fun or creative incentives that they can get excited about.

Here are 8 “out-of-the-box” suggestions to consider as you develop or evolve your incentive plan going forward:

  1. VIP Parking – If your office has a parking lot, consider reserving a space close to the door (or in another prime spot) as an incentive for your staff.
  2. Mail Subscription – Socks, magazines, meals – consider treating your employee to a subscription of their choice as a thank you! Don’t forget to have it mailed to the office if appropriate so that everyone else will see the bonus, too, and be inspired.
  3. Tickets – Is there a local sports team, or an upcoming concert that your staff would be interested in? Host a contest, or simply surprise a top performer with tickets as the gift.
  4. Training – If your outstanding employee is interested in developing new skills, or learning other areas of the business, offer training that will help keep them motivated to do well. It could be as easy as granting access to an online learning subscription, like Lynda.com, or it could be as complex as arranging a job-shadowing day.
  5. Memberships – For the gym, for a yoga studio, a local museum, for a fabric store, or even to Costco if that’s what floats your employees’ boat. The added bonus of a membership is that an employee will experience the benefit of working hard for you for months to come.
  6. Experiences – many people are highly motivated by the promise of new experiences. Consider whale watching or tidal bore rafting if you’re near the ocean, or skiing, theme park admission, or even a wine tour if appropriate.
  7. Extra time off – For some, finding more time is more valuable than money. If it’s possible to give, extra time off could be just the ticket. Be careful with this one though, if an extra day off is going to cause a pile-up of work for the employees return, perhaps consider something else.
  8. Donations – Almost everyone has a cause or charity that is near and dear to them. Perhaps they are involved in a large organization like the Red Cross or United Way, or perhaps there is a woman down the street who is caring for stray and neglected animals that they try to help as often as they can. Either way, don’t make a tax receipt a requirement for this incentive. Give your excellent employee the money to donate as they wish.
  9. Bonus for your bonus: Always deliver your gratitude in person if you can, with a hand-written thank you note. It is this form of attention that will not go unnoticed by staff.

So think about these 8 ideas and start planning today.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask your staff what appeals to them most!