Feature Image of 11 Employee Incentives for Motivation


Ever wondered why employees are less motivated to work? There are a couple of reasons, but the core problem is a lack of employee incentive. Believe it or not, statistics show that 90% of the highest performing companies use incentives to retain and encourage their employees. In fact, 78% of employees are willing to stay in their current employment if they have access to competitive benefits and incentives.

I wouldn’t say we’re an expert on the subject, but we did end up on the “Best Place to Work in Los Angeles” List by LA Business Journal out of 250,000 businesses that applied.

So what’s our approach and philosophy? Employers must create a fun and competitive workplace that supports good work ethics and morale. To do that, offering incentives beyond base pay is a good start. In this article, you’ll learn about different ways to motivate your employee using incentives, perks, and benefits. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Employee Incentives Program?

These are acts of reinforcement that encourage and stimulate employees to achieve more goals and take more actions. Employee incentive programs are like extra perks to drive employees for better performance, and it also says a lot about the culture and personality of any organization. Having incentives programs helps employees see how your organization stands out from your competition. Plus, it shows the company takes good care of its people while keeping them engaged and satisfied.

Why are the Benefits of Employee Incentives?

Employee incentives help to increase productivity and arouse their stimulus to achieve more goals while staying committed and enthusiastic about their work performance. It also fosters loyalty, morale, and accountability because employees feel valued when rewarded for their achievements. More so, employee incentives programs provide a quality work-life balance, and if successful, they can improve job satisfaction, retention, creativity, and the company’s culture.

What are the Different Kinds of Employee Incentives Programs?

Positive Incentives

These employee incentives motivate by promising a reward or reinforcement for a job well done to stimulate that behavior or action. This kind of incentive generally satisfies the psychological requirements of employees. Examples include – praise or recognition, a promotion, extra allowances, stipends, or reimbursements. 

Negative Incentives

Negative incentives motivate by promising a consequence to either correct, discourage, or punish employees for their bad action or inaction in their job. It includes loss of privileges, demotion, transfer, fines, or penalties. 

Individual incentives 

Individual incentives are for a singular employee that can be either negative or positive. It helps that employee be productive and ensure that he gets the credit they deserve.

Group incentives 

Group incentives are for teams in an organization, and it depends on the company’s size. It can also be either a negative incentive or a positive one. Nonetheless, this kind of incentive fosters team collaboration, teamwork, communication and motivates them to do more as a team. 

Monetary incentives 

Money is a quick way to motivate and stimulate employees to be productive because it appeals to their social need to afford material items. So, this incentive is often financially associated such as salaries, compensations, bonuses, or reimbursement. 

Non-monetary or activities incentives

They are non-financial incentives that meet the psychological needs of employees, that is, their ego and self-actualization needs. Some examples are work flexibility, recognition, awards for achievements, day-offs, and time out with the team. 

How are Employee Incentives Different from Employee Benefits?

Employee incentives are optional perks given to employees as a reward for a good work ethic or as a stimulus for motivation to do more work. Employee benefits are compulsory and mandated additions to an employee’s salary. Examples of benefits are retirement plans, health care services, insurance, sick leaves, scholarships, and more.

11 Employee Incentives for Motivation

Here are 11 popular incentives to consider as rewards to motivate your employees:

In-Body Image of 11 Employee Incentives for Motivation


This is a monetary-based incentive that takes the form of an added payment already provided by the employer. As a supplemental wage, this incentive rewards for a job well done. As you know, money satisfies the social needs of people, and for employees, it gives them access to afford whatever they want to purchase. So this incentive scheme is a great motivator for employees to remain consistent. 

Work flexibility.

Work flexibility is when employees decide when they’re comfortable to work and from where they can work. As silly as it sounds, offering your employees a work schedule that screams flexibility in their work life and personal life is one way to motivate them to work better and smarter. The thing is, modern employees want to know that their company cares for them on a personal level – meaning the company doesn’t ignore the presence of their personal life. So, with flexibility, employees can maintain a good work-life balance and the opportunity to choose their working hours. In the end, this will improve their commitment, productivity, and increase job satisfaction.


Like it or not, most people love attention and recognition, as it sits well with the ego aspect of our subconscious. So, another way to motivate your employee through incentives is to give them the recognition they deserve, make them feel seen and celebrated, and let them know their actions matter.  It could be through employee-of-the-Month celebrations, certification of achievement, or a shout-out on the social media platform to acknowledge their great work.

Training and mentorship programs.

This is self-improvement and career incentive that involves putting programs to help employees grow professionally. Unknowing to most employers, employees are constantly looking for ways to advance their career, so offering them this employee incentive is another way to motivate them to be productive. It also shows that you care about their professional growth and that you’re willing to support them all the way. 

When employees are aware of this, they are willing to stay committed to the organization, and in turn, you’ll have more capable and smarter employees on your team. You can hold webinars, pay for membership to professional organizations or a  professional course or hold a lunch TED talk with them. 

Give small gifts.

Many people love free things, and if they have to work hard to get them, they will.  Another employee incentive for motivation is to give gifts. Don’t limit your gifting to only cash prices or services. You can give away coupons of any kind (depending on each employee), gift cards, free tickets to concerts, parks or museum membership, or a house cleaning or car wash service. Employees appreciate valuable gifts, especially when they don’t have to use their money to get them. 

Unexpected holidays.

Some extra time off from work can help maintain a sound work-life balance. That is why granting a day off outside of annual leave or the regular holiday is a perfect employee incentive. Outside the known day-off, consider giving an extra or unexpected day off to your employees – It may also come in the form of a “free day pass” that they can use whenever they want. It shows you recognize their hard work and care about their health and disposition. In the end, they’ll achieve better and be more productive at work. 

Have company picnics and team building days.

This may be old school, but it’s still gold. Company picnics and team building events serve as a medium to bring every team and individual together. Employees use this incentive to meet and get to know other employees from different teams. This employee incentive program fosters communication and depends on employee bonds. Plus, it gives them the chance to network with colleagues within the organization and continue learning from each other while they share the results they’ve achieved together.


Companies like Verizon, Deloitte, Bank of America, and many more reimburse their employees for spending money on tuition. Crazy right? This reimbursement incentive program motivates employees to continue pursuing additional education or certification. As an incentive, it also fosters professional development for employees to get better at their job. Some other companies reimburse their employees for making work-related expenses, like business trips, which is good. This act increases employees’ willingness to do more tasks of that nature in the future and it also boosts their confidence in taking responsibility. 

Paid vacation.

Some employees may be reluctant to take the offer of the free off day or unexpected holiday because they may think it would affect their paycheck or so. But, with an all-paid expense vacation, they have no choice but to accept. For most employees, this incentive program encourages them to take breaks when it’s needed as it helps to reduce fatigue and burnout. 

Positive work environment.

The work environment is where your employees will spend most of their hours, so creating an on-site entertaining and comfortable workplace is another amazing employee incentive program that can motivate your employees to be productive. Although a workplace usually comes equipped with all the necessities, like a nap room, games room, quiet room (for employees that love to practice mindfulness), or more. In essence, making your workplace comfortable and inclusive to accommodate everyone helps prevent employees from feeling left out, losing focus, and being less productive. 


Promotion incentives are one of the most powerful employee incentive programs for motivation. When there are opportunities for career advancement within the organization, it’s easier for employees to double down and be productive. It also fosters loyalty, commitment, and retainment for the amazing talent you’ve built over time. 


Bottom line,

Most times, employees experience burnout, communication problems, and a lack of opportunity for their career advancement. Other times, a poor work-life balance can contribute to their low productivity.  So, it’s very thoughtful to include employee incentive programs to boost their morale, productivity, effectiveness, commitment, job satisfaction and help the company achieve its goals. 

Still thirsting for more information on potential incentive ideas? Head over to our candidate services page and inquire!

Benefits and Compensation PackageWhat to Look for in a Benefits and Compensation Package
An image of a man holding a laptop on his left armEleven Recruiting Places Infrastructure Engineer (SCCM) for an LA Based Investment Group