3 ways to give your employees incentives that they actually want

Photo courtesy of Social Chain
Photo courtesy of Social Chain

Employee incentives often sound like a failsafe method of motivating your workforce - particularly the younger ones who might have friends who are reaping the benefits of free gym memberships or a giant slide and ball pool.

However, not all benefits are as beneficial as they seem. The team at ESA Group speak to many HR managers who have used perk programs, which are too complicated, or are simply a waste of money.

Make them relevant

It seems, the key to engaging your employees into using their incentives, is to make sure they care about them.

Whilst it could be a barrier for larger companies to find a recognition programs that are all things to all people; smaller companies have the benefit of being able to ask their employees what kind of perks they’d like. Using an employee survey, for instance, could reveal what benefits would be the most important to your team. For the younger members, discounts on health insurance is likely to be less interesting than a yearly subscription to Netflix.

Consider low cost perks:

Research suggest that three quarters of companies are planning to expand their recognition programs within the next year. The most influential of these perks are performance awards, service anniversary awards and personal awards, such as ‘employee of the month’.

However, none of these necessarily have to be financially disruptive. Some of the most popular rewards with employees include early work day finishes or extra holiday. A little extra cash can always help though. Some simple, low cost perks could include:

  • Gift cards
  • Restaurant vouchers
  • Entertainment vouchers
  • Subscription services, such as Netflix or Spotify

Make them accessible:

There has been an abundance of employee ‘perks’ companies popping up all over the internet, such as Perk Box and The Work Perk, offering to manage your employee recognition for you.

Whilst these can certainly work, a recent SheerID survey revealed that only 22% of workers regularly use their discount programs, however 46% of staff said that they would use their perks more if they were easier to access or manage.

So, if your employees have to logon to a complex website every time they need to search for a discount, and if that website is difficult to use, chances are that they’ll give up before they find that 10%- off holiday voucher (that was probably already available elsewhere).