What are Some Good Employee Incentives I Can Offer?

Incentives are a proven way to push your employees toward important sales or service goals. Of course, money is a great motivator, but it is not the only motivator that has proven to be effective. Employees usually know that a raise or a bonus only comes with good or excellent performance. Those incentives are really only meant to be an annual goal. What can you offer on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that won't break the bank? What really gets employees excited enough to push that extra mile so you can see increased productivity and results?

Start the Game

One of the best ways to offer an incentive is to make a game out of it. The winner gets a nice prize. There can be smaller gifts for 2nd and 3rd place. For instance, if you are running a small restaurant you can offer a Bingo style game with some items to up-sell in each of the boxes. The prize that most people will want is cold, hard cash. Even a $20/1st place prize can be enough to move your servers to offer liquor and dessert to each table. Chances are, you are going to sell a lot more of both and will make up that $20 in an hour. Offering a free meal to the runners up is an option.

If you are running a company with an active sales force, incentives can really overcome a sales hump. Keeping your employees fighting for a worthwhile prize and bragging rights can really light a fire under a stale workforce. Let's face it, having something to look forward when you come in to do the same job again and again can make the atmosphere a bit more electric. Some incentives that seem to really excite people are gift cards, paid time off, and bonus money.

Gift cards can be bought or traded with other businesses. Finding a partner in another business owner can give you both an inexpensive way to provide incentives. If a restaurant manager trades gift cards with a retail manager they both save. Giving your employees gift cards to the establishment they actually work for is okay for a small touch but grand incentives need to provide a getaway, a dinner out, a night at the movies, or some extra spending money. You want your employee thinking of how great it was that his boss sent him on a movie date with his spouse. That means something.

Cheap and Cheaper

Finding affordable ways to provide incentives is a good thing. Once in a while a big prize could really get those employees jumping but providing a steady incentive contest or new ways to win an extra-long break on the clock are good too. Simple, no-cost options like a casual Friday on Monday can be fun and exciting without costing you a penny. Thinking outside the box is a good thing when if comes to providing incentives. Keep them guessing.

Any boss that is looking for some way to move employees besides a good old fashioned whip is thinking the right way. Brute force and fear are one avenue but tend to produce a litigious and unhappy atmosphere. Let your managers and supervisors throw out some ideas. Don't be afraid to try something new. If it doesn't work, you don't have to do it again. If it works, you have another effective plan to push sales forward. The fact that you are asking what are some good incentives you can offer means you already understand their importance.

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