Employee incentive programs like rewards or discounts may sound good in theory, but they're not always as beneficial as they seem. While these are positive ways to show appreciation for exceptional employees, some programs are difficult to use, or simply don't matter to workers.
If you want your staff to use your incentive programs, it's crucial to make sure your employees actually care about the rewards you're offering. Based on recent research, here are some tips for implementing three types of workplace incentives that employees are interested in.
Look into low-cost perks
More than 300 HR professionals participated in a survey by Michael C. Fina Recognition and confirmed that employees highly value workplace recognition programs, which cost very little to implement. Almost three-quarters of the respondents said their companies are planning to expand their recognition programs within the next year.
Some of the most influential recognition initiatives, according to the respondents, are performance awards (33 percent), service-anniversary awards (20 percent), and personal notes or e-cards (10 percent). [See Related Story: Want to Boost Employee Productivity? Offer an Incentive]
Consider offering small financial incentives
Bank of America's 2015 Workplace Benefits Report revealed that 70 percent of employers find incentives to be effective. However, few employers actually offer or consider offering solutions that financially benefit employees, whether that means offering extra cash or helping workers save money.
According to the report, the most popular financial incentives include cash rewards like gift cards or bonuses (29 percent), a points program for discounts or cash (14 percent), discounts on health insurance and premiums/other products (11 percent), and drawings/raffles (11 percent).
Make employee perk programs easily accessible
A recent Google consumer survey conducted by employee-verification company SheerID asked more than 500 respondents about employee-discount usage within companies. The results revealed that only 22 percent of workers use their employee discount programs often. However, if these programs were easier to use, 46 percent said they would use them more often.
Some popular employee discounts that are most likely to be used, according to the survey, are:
- Entertainment/attractions/travel (63.10 percent)
- Restaurants (54.72 percent)
- Software/computers/electronics (49.55 percent)
- Subscriptions (Netflix, Spotify, etc.) (38.32 percent)
- Apparel/health/beauty (28.16 percent)
- Office supplies (20.50 percent)
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