There’s a reason why it’s hard for management to settle upon the most ideal incentive scheme for their company. It’s largely because there are a variety of incentives that can work for a certain type of industry, or department. So what are the incentive plans most common in each industry?

As experts in implementing effective incentive schemes within a range of industries and departments, we are well-placed to answer this question and tell you what you should at least be aiming for.

Retail and hospitality industries typically prefer basic incentives, such as discounts and loyalty schemes. The professional services sector often rewards employees with performance bonuses or special recognition awards. Manufacturing companies reward productivity gains through piece-rate pay plans and share options.

In others, like the tech industry, stock options are commonplace to incentivize innovation. Healthcare providers use both financial and non-financial rewards to motivate staff.

Incentive plans most common in each industry

Let’s start listing the different industries first, then we’ll go through a second list of departments, and finish on a list of particular roles.

Most common incentive plans by Industry

1. Technology

Tech companies often use innovation, productivity bonuses, employee rewards, recognition programs, flexible working hours, and stock options to incentivize their employees.

The more global high tech companies are also known for their staff-friendly environment incentives such as relaxed working options, in house gaming areas, and innovative perks like free snacks and drinks.

These are still very much target and KPI based, often awarding teams working on and completing specific projects or tasks.

Ultimately these rewards are designed to motivate employees to complete projects, and to develop new ideas and products which will ultimately benefit the company. We love incentive based bonuses for tech companies. If you find yourself questioning how to implement this into your company be sure to download our guide. The Ultimate Guide to Pay For Performance for Tech Companies.

Download our FREE Guide

the ultimate guide to pay for performance for tech companies

2. Hospitality

Incentive plans such as free meals, additional vacation days, flexible working hours, discounts on hotel stays, and other products tend to be popular in the hospitality industry.

They can also include team-building activities such as offsite retreats, dinners with management, rewards for customer loyalty or feedback, and flexible scheduling options.

These types of incentives allow employees to take advantage of benefits that can help them with their day-to-day lives, help build teams and inspire staff to progress through the company ranks – particularly in the larger chains.

3. Healthcare

Recognition programs such as employee of the month awards and performance reviews are often used in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare often focuses on merit-based pay increases for meeting care targets, special recognition awards for outstanding performance or exemplary service from particular employees, and development opportunities such as continuing education or leadership programs.

These initiatives serve as a reward for hardworking staff members who consistently perform well and provide excellent patient care. Need help creating an incentive plan for your healthcare team? We have a tried and true method in our FREE guide. The Ultimate Guide to Pay For Performance for Healthcare Providers.

Download our Free Guide:

The ultimate guide to pay for performance for healthcare providers

4. Education

Financial incentives are common in the education sector, with teachers often receiving bonuses for good performance or meeting certain targets.

Recognizing initiatives such as award ceremonies or classroom competitions can be effective at boosting morale and encouraging innovation among educators.

5. Retail

Employee discounts on products from their workplace are a popular incentive used within the retail industry. This encourages staff members to stay loyal to their employer and allows them to enjoy exclusive offers which they can share with their friends and family. In addition to this, offering free staff meals or discounted gym memberships can act as a reward and increase employee satisfaction.

Retail: Discounts on products, bonuses based on sales goals achieved, gift cards for meeting certain criteria, and recognition programs.

6. Professional Services

Professional services such as accountancy firms, marketing agencies, contractors and architects can offer team incentives to increase motivation.

Professionals generally benefit from higher salaries. So they’re often motivated by rewards such as trips abroad or tickets to high-level sporting events. Rewards like this can be a great way of incentivizing staff members and showing them that their hard work is appreciated. We love incentivizing these professional services with pay for performance incentives.

Download our FREE Guide

Marketing Incentive Plans

The Ultimate Guide to Pay for Performance for Contractors

7. Banking/Finance

Incentives used in the banking industry often take the form of monetary bonuses or increased salaries for high-performing employees. It’s also not unusual for shares in the company to be given.

This serves as both an immediate reward and an incentive to strive toward excellence.

In addition to this, providing experiences such as personal development courses or conferences can act as a motivating factor for those working in the sector.

8. Manufacturing

As you might expect, bonuses linked to meeting targets and production goals are popular in the manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing employees provided with additional training opportunities or new career paths helps motivate them to stay committed to their job and improve productivity levels over time.

Alongside this, incentives that focus on safety standards, such as bonus points for zero accidents or extra time off for passing safety inspections, are often effective in manufacturing industries.

These types of rewards not only encourage workers to take safety seriously but also recognize their efforts when they do so successfully.

Download our FREE Guide

The ultimate guide to pay for performance for manufacturers

Most common incentive plans by department

A list of the most common incentive plans by department

1. Administration

Monetary incentives such as bonuses, commissions, or bonuses where it’s appropriate – such as sales administrators, and gift cards are popular in the administrative field.

These types of incentives help to reward administration staff for their hard work and dedication.

2. Human Resources

Offering competitive salaries and benefits packages is often the best way to attract and retain top talent in HR departments.

Other incentives might include additional vacation days. Or flexible work hours, or educational opportunities such as industry-related conferences or seminars, often based on KPIs.

3. Sales

Incentives that involve financial bonuses tend to be most effective in sales departments since they provide a direct link between performance and reward and are often heavily reliant on targeted incentives based on expected KPIs.

This could come in the form of a bonus for meeting certain targets or a commission for each sale closed – or each milestone toward a sale.

Your company relies heavily on your sales department.

4. Customer Service

Recognition programs are key to motivating customer service employees, as it rewards them for their hard work and provides a feeling of accomplishment.

Incentives could come in the form of employee-of-the-month awards. If you choose not to reward with an incentive program a few things that help are bonus days off for excellent performance or team lunches to recognize outstanding customer service.

5. Accounting

We also covered this in the industry section as it’s a very similar incentive structure to the finance and banking industry.

Incentives for accounting professionals should focus on encouraging them to achieve long-term goals. These are usually aimed at specific company KPIs. And can include developing their skills to make further gains for the company.

This could include higher salaries or bonuses, or stock options. All are based on performance metrics. It can also come in the form of professional development opportunities such as conferences, workshops, or training programs.

6. Marketing

Incentives in the marketing industry should focus on recognizing and rewarding creativity. As well as achieving KPIs for returns on investment.

This could include awards for innovative ideas, extra vacation time for participating in industry trade shows or conferences, or monetary bonuses when goals are achieved such as successful campaigns.

7. I.T.

Incentives for this sector often revolve around meeting KPIs in system maintenance and project completion. And often means access to further advanced training and development.

This could be in the form of a budget allocated to attend conferences or seminars, online courses, or access to new technology.

It can also be useful to recognize the achievements of individual employees via gifts and awards.

8. Warehousing

Incentives in the warehousing industry should focus on motivating employees to work quickly and accurately.

This could include performance-based bonuses, extra vacation time for exceeding goals, or gift cards for meeting daily, weekly, or monthly quotas.

9. Executives and Management

Incentives for executives and management should focus on rewarding long-term performance and loyalty.

Incentives could include incentive bonuses, stock options, and status rewards such as a company car upgrade, or office upgrade. Or access to exclusive experiences such as VIP events or conferences.

Read more on this subject in our article on motivating managers and executives.

Should I adopt a variety of incentive programs?

It’s important to tailor your incentive programs to your specific industry, and department. And in line with employee roles so that you can get the most out of them.

Offering different types of incentives for different departments will ensure that everyone is engaged and motivated by whatever reward you give them.

Incentives should match the goals of the business

Incentives should always be tied directly to achieving business goals to be effective.

Additionally, ensure the incentives are tailored to the job duties of each employee. This will ensure they receive an incentive that is meaningful and motivating.

The ultimate aim is to motivate employees to achieve excellence. But the industry, or department, will determine what type of incentives are adopted most.

Incentive plans most common in each industry – Your industry

Knowing what incentive plans are most common in each industry or department means you may need some guidance. We hope this has provided you with a place to start from.

Build your bonus plan

Speak with an expert to create your bonus plan