What is an Employee Incentive Program?

An employee incentive program is a special way to show appreciation for all the hard work and dedication employees put into their jobs. It’s about saying “thank you” and offering them benefits, such as bonuses, rewards, or even public recognition, to keep employees motivated and excited to continue giving their best for themselves and the company. At Plentive, we’re big fans of employee incentive programs. In fact, our CEO was so impressed by how an incentive program helped to boost his engineering company’s success that he spent the last 5 years building, Plentive, and thousands of incentive programs for other companies to help them create similar levels of success. We’ve also learned that not all bonus plans work for everybody, so we’ve created a list of the top 20 employee incentive programs your team will love.

Examples of 20 Employee Incentive Programs your Team will Love

  • Performance-Based Bonuses

Performance based bonuses exactly what they state. They are bonuses based on how well you do in your project or job. They can be dished out several different ways, but the easiest way to explain is that it’s similar to a pat on the back. The better you do, the more accolades you get. Our software, Plentive, is primarily based on performance bonuses. We would love to help you incentivize your team with performance based bonuses.

  •  Recognition Awards 

Were you ever student of the month in grade school? Recognition awards are basically the same thing. They acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of individual employees.  These awards help individuals feel that their contributions matter, boost office morale, can help create a positive work culture and encourage continuous improvement.  .

  • Employee Referral Programs

Employee referral programs motivate employees to refer qualified candidates for job openings within the company. These programs help employers feel valued and that their opinion matters. They also provide employees with co-workers that they feel comfortable with and like to be around.

  • Flexible Work Hours/Remote Work Options

Flexible work hours allows employees to choose where and sometimes even when they work. When covid happened we were forced to “offer” remote work options. Our company actually found the benefits to outweigh the negatives. Certain employees were able to work when was best for them, and their work productivity sky rocketed. Offering flexible work hours or remote work options allows employees to balance their work and personal lives more effectively.

  • Professional Development Opportunities

Providing professional development opportunities, such as training programs, workshops, or tuition reimbursement, enables employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. Investing in employees’ growth and development fosters loyalty, engagement, and career advancement within the organization. This helps your employees grow their careers right inside your organization.

  • Wellness Programs 

Wellness programs promote employees’ physical and mental well-being through initiatives like gym memberships, wellness challenges, or mindfulness sessions. These programs improve employee health, reduce absenteeism, and increase overall productivity and morale.

  • Team Building Activities

Everybody loves a reason to celebrate and what better than employee appreciation events, such as team outings or holiday parties.  These get togethers provide employees with the opportunity to engage in conversation outside of work and find common interests. Most companies report that teams who engage in activities outside of work together boost morale, strengthen team cohesion, and foster a positive company culture.

  • Company Stock Options

Offering company stock options or equity grants allows employees to share in the company’s success and financial growth. Many businesses report that combining the company’s performance, motivates them to work towards its success, and enhances loyalty and retention.

  • Profit-Sharing Plans

Profit-sharing plans distribute a portion of the company’s profits among employees, based on the criteria the company sets up.. When the company does well, employees share in the profits. This can help to motivate employees to work harder and smarter.

  •  Career Advancement Opportunities

Providing clear paths for career advancement and growth within the organization help employees see a path forward. Career advancement opportunities encourage skill development, increase engagement, and reduce turnover by offering a clear trajectory for progression. Not many people like a dead end job. If an employee gets hired on with a clear trajectory for advancement they are much more likely to stick around.

  • Team Building Activities

Team building activities promote collaboration, communication, and trust among team members. If you are reading this I imagine you have been a part of the team building exercises, While they may seem silly at the time these activities strengthen relationships, improve teamwork, and enhance morale, leading to a more cohesive and productive work environment. If you have been a part of a team building exercise chances are you remember it and that is the purpose. Creating memories outside of work environments.

  • Paid Time Off

Offering paid time off benefits, such as extra vacation days or paid sabbaticals, allows employees to recharge and rejuvenate. Who doesn’t love to have a day off while getting paid!! This promotes work-life balance, reduces burnout, and increases overall job satisfaction and retention.

  • Personalized Rewards

Personalized rewards, such as gift cards or custom gifts, recognize individual achievements and contributions. What do you love? A massage? Sports gear? Having bosses or team leads that know what motivates you and reward you for a job well done can go a long way. These rewards show appreciation, motivate employees, and reinforce desired behaviors and performance.

  • Mentorship Programs

Mentorship programs pair experienced employees with less experienced colleagues to provide guidance, support, and career development opportunities. When being teamed up with an employee that already knows the ropes can be a huge sigh of relief to have someone you can build a trusting work relationship with.

  • Employee Assistance Programs

Employee assistance programs offer support services such as counseling, financial planning, or legal assistance to employees facing personal or professional challenges. More and more we find it very helpful for employees to have the opportunity to use these benefits and not having the financial burden on their shoulders. These programs often promote employee well-being, reduce stress, and encourage productivity and morale.

  •  Commuter Benefits

When living in a city it can be hard getting to and from work, not to mention the expense of driving. Offering commuter benefits can provide financial assistance or perks to employees for their commuting expenses. This can come in the form of  transit or parking passes, bus fare reimbursements or even rideshare options. Doing this allows employees the ability to save money on work commutes and can even provide opportunities for employees to ride together and get to know each other better.

  • Health and Wellness Initiatives

Health and wellness initiatives promote healthy lifestyles and habits among employees through initiatives like on-site yoga classes, healthy snack options, or ergonomic workstations. Being active and healthy improves moods and the ability to concentrate better when working. Health and wellness can improve employee health, reduce absenteeism, and increase productivity and morale.

  • Volunteer Time Off

Give employees paid time off to volunteer for their favorite charities. This is a great way to give back to the community and boost employee morale. These programs give a sense of social responsibility, teamwork, and engagement. Giving back has an effect on your body. Studies show that when people donate to charity, the mesolimbic system, the portion of the brain responsible for

feelings of reward, was triggered. The brain also releases feel-good chemicals and spurs you to perform more kind acts — something psychologists call “helper’s high.”

  • On-Demand Pay

Allow employees to access their earned wages before payday. This can be a helpful perk for employees who live paycheck to paycheck. If there’s a way to give employees a little bit of financial freedom with on demand pay studies show that 74% report a decrease in financial concern.

  • Pet-Friendly Office

Allow employees to bring their pets to work. This can be a great perk for pet owners and can help to reduce stress levels. We haven’t tried this one ourselves, but have heard it’s a game changer. Various studies show that bringing a pet to work provides employee comfort, buffers against stress, enhances work engagement, and improves work life quality.


We have yet to talk to a company owner that isn’t looking to improve the company morale and productivity. By implementing an employee incentive program you’re not just rewarding those for working hard, you’re investing in the success of your company.  Explore the 20 employee incentives your team will love and when you’re ready to build an incentive plan that improves performance and inspires employees chat with one of our experts.

How Plentive Can Help

Plentive offers a robust platform for managing monetary incentives, with features like real-time tracking, automated payouts, and comprehensive analytics.

The Plentive platform sets a gold standard in monetary incentive management with its blend of advanced analytics, automated payouts, and real-time performance tracking. Designed to simplify the complex administration of incentive schemes, Plentive ensures accuracy and timeliness in rewards, fostering trust and satisfaction among employees.

Plentive’s customizable and scalable solutions cater to the unique needs of any business, supporting growth and facilitating adaptation to changing objectives. Moreover, Plentive enhances employee engagement through transparent, user-friendly dashboards that provide clear visibility into performance metrics and potential earnings.

Backed by unparalleled support and expertise, Plentive stands out as the superior choice for businesses seeking an efficient, effective, and strategic approach to managing monetary incentives.

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