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November 15, 2023
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17 Employee Incentive Ideas

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Make 2023 Bright for Your Employees With These 6 Awesome Incentive Ideas

We all have needs. They might be physical, psychological, or emotional, but no matter what category they fall into, we tend to have difficulty functioning if our needs consistently go unmet. Employees with unmet needs are unfulfilled and unhappy in the workplace and eventually leave. 

Once an individual feels safe and doesn’t need to worry about where their next meal is coming from, they tend to crave a sense of purpose and emotional fulfillment. This is where employee incentive ideas and recognition can make a difference.

The 17 Best Employee Incentives

Take a look below at some employee incentive examples to get you started on building up your very own employee incentive program.

1. Meaningful Gifts

This kind of gift will show your employee that you pay attention to who they truly are and their likes and dislikes. Don’t you feel special receiving your favorite flowers or a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant? In addition to the gift itself, it means someone’s been paying attention. 

The meaningful gift shows your employee that you thought of them and noticed them. 

2. Personalized Gift Cards

Offer your employees gift cards tailored to their favorite places or a versatile cash card. It's a thoughtful way for them to enjoy a treat on their own terms.

3. Wellness Gifts

Work can sometimes be stressful. Offering wellness gifts like subscriptions to fitness apps or yoga classes can provide a much-needed boost to their well-being.

4. Experience Gifts

People can’t re-gift or give away an experience. Encourage your employees to relax by sending them on retreats, to a spa, or to experience a new culture or part of the world. You could also consider paying for an online course, covering a portion of their education costs, getting them tickets to see their favorite band, or sponsoring a beloved hobby. 

5. Funny Gifts

The funny gift can be a little tricky. After all, you don’t want to step on any toes or create any tension, and not everyone will appreciate the funny gift. However, it can be fun to honor or appreciate an aspect of your employee’s job they might not love, but they perform with a good attitude. Again, knowing your employees well will make giving the funny gift easier because you’ll understand what will work or what won’t. 

6. Time Off as a Gift

Consider gifting additional vacation time as a unique employee incentive. Announce it during a team meeting to ensure everyone respects the recipient's time to unwind.

7. Work Perks

Make work more enjoyable with perks like extended lunch breaks, afternoons off, or office equipment upgrades such as noise-canceling headphones.

8. The Edible Gift

Who doesn’t love food? Be aware of dietary restrictions and allergies when planning for this gift, but also know that you’re probably heading in a good direction by giving the edible gift. These can range in cost, from a gift card to their favorite place to grab a drink to the high-end steakhouse in the next city over. 

9. Music Subscriptions

With a subscription to a preferred music service, your employees can enjoy their favorite tunes anytime, enhancing their work experience.

10. Lunches

Ease the burden of daily meal prep by surprising your employees with a catered lunches or lunch delivery from their favorite local restaurant or café. Alternatively, provide a gift card to a local eatery, allowing them to enjoy a takeout meal or a relaxing lunch outside the office.

11. The Holiday Gift

The holiday season is a great time to get gifts for your employees. You can give all kinds of traditional gifts during this festive time of year, from a warm fleece blanket to monogrammed mugs or water bottles. You aren’t limited to traditional ideas, though. Feel free to think outside the box on the holiday gift. 

12. The Company Swag Gift

Giving the gift of company swag creates a feeling of unity and support among your employees—support for one another and support for the company. Again, lots of traditional options to consider here, ranging from a lanyard to a company jacket. If you’re going the clothing route, be sure to get the right sizes.

13. Outdoor Activities and Work Gatherings

Not all employee incentives need to be tangible. Reward your team with a safe outdoor gathering, like a picnic or a hike, to foster team bonding.

14. Surprise Treats

A surprise delivery of cookies or cupcakes can add a touch of sweetness to your employee's day and show your appreciation.

15. Online Learning Opportunities

Offer access to online courses that can either enhance their professional skills or cater to their personal hobbies and interests.

16. Notes of Appreciation

Never underestimate the power of a heartfelt note or postcard. This simple gesture can convey your appreciation in a deeply meaningful way.

17. Office Decor

Help your employees personalize their workspace with a plant, artwork, or other decor items. It's one of the best ways to make their office feel more inviting and comfortable.


What Are Employee Incentives and Incentive Programs?

The best employee incentives are rewards or benefits used to motivate positive behaviors in the workforce or a given individual. Employee incentive programs are designed to attract, engage, and retain talent.

Why Are Employee Incentive Ideas Important?

First of all, employee incentives can genuinely help satisfy elements from Maslow’s pyramid of human needs, such as esteem and self-actualization. Not only that, but employee incentive gifts and programs can emphasize the kind of work you want to see from other employees, focusing on the goals and standards that matter most to your company. 

You can effectively communicate and engender greater buy-in of your company values and simultaneously help your employees feel more valued and fulfilled with excellent employee incentive ideas.

Get a Demo Today With Awardco

Awardco offers many different ideas for employee incentive gifts and programs. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a demo!