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With the economy picking up in many parts of the country I am starting to hear about employees starting to move around more. As a matter of fact, one of my employees moved on from us after 7 years. Granted she went back to her old industry, but she went back because of the incentives the company offered.
So, it may be time to tune-up your employee incentive programs. As you probably know, it costs a lot to lose an employee. Not only do you have to spend time (and money if you use a search firm) searching for a new employee, training them and getting them up to speed also costs you (not only in time but also the expense). So, what are you doing to make sure your employees are feeling appreciated for not only doing their job but for also going above and beyond their usual duties?
Don’t Let Your Incentives Go Stale
Truly effective incentive programs have a broad appeal across all of your employees. We recommend that you actually discuss your program on a regular basis with an employee group to make sure it hasn’t gotten stale and lost its appeal. If no one is interested in what you are offering you’re not getting the benefit of even offering incentives for employees.
While many companies may offer just one type of incentive your program doesn’t have to be one size fits all. Programs can be developed so that the employees can choose the incentive that best works for them. It may be a bit more complicated to administer (or not with the right management tools) but think of your program designed like a Chinese menu – choose one item from column A, B, and/or C for example.
Some proven recent winning programs include:
- Flex Hours and/or Telecommuting
- Health/Wellness Programs
- Special Events
- Additional Time Off
- Points and/or Gift Programs
As you can see, each of these can work hand in hand or as a stand-alone program. If your company has a staff that doesn’t need regular face to face interaction or work on machinery on premises then the flex hours or telecommuting can be a big incentive. As a matter of fact, when my sister had small children her and her husband both had flex time as a company incentive. She went in late so she could get the kids off to school and her husband went in early so he would be home in the afternoon. A win-win situation right? For a while, yes, unfortunately, the company never “changed” or acknowledged a need to change their program and when they didn’t really need the flex time anymore it lost its “incentive” value and they left the company.
With today’s growing emphasis on being a healthier society and attempting to keep company healthcare costs in check, a health/wellness program has become quite popular. From having a gym on property, offering a discount to a nearby gym or bringing yoga or other instructors in on a regular basis for classes on premises to offering financial incentives to employees that quit smoking or lose weight, there are definitely many perks to choose from. Think about your own weight loss or exercise competition – it really does work to build team morale.
Special Events is An Under-Utilized Incentive
Another often under-utilized team building and incentive is the use of special events. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to host Celine Dion (hard to believe but one of my clients was able to secure her for a private concert – it doubled as a fundraiser and perk for those employees that had achieved certain goals – talk about grand incentives) as an incentive, but there are so many events that employees would love to attend or participate in. I’ve had companies host their own “Olympics” or participated in Corporate Runs (these can be very motivating incentives and team building events) and of course special recognition dinners, lunches and picnics are always appreciated.
As you can tell, this is a big topic and one that’s important to us all. So, we’ll continue our discussion in Part two!