Top 20 Examples of Employee Incentive Programs

  • Written Written by Varshith Mittapalli 13 January 2023 | 4 min read
  • Editor's Note :

    The blog explores effective employee incentive programs and how they can drive productivity, engagement, and retention in the workplace.


What are Employee Incentives?

Employee incentives are benefits and prizes that encourage employees to accomplish organizational objectives. For example, Adobe India offers a 15-day vacation period for all its employees, which can also be carried forward to the next year if needed. Employers may use an employee incentive program to offer rewards, which most prominently are categorized under monetary or non-monetary to motivate staff to maintain exemplary conduct and job performance. While monetary rewards include bonuses, financial rewards, or commute assistance, non-monetary incentives include aspects that facilitate a positive employee experience, like paid leaves, flexible work schedule, individual mentorship programs, and much more. The combination of these work best with Vega HR, a rewards and recognition platform which is the perfect companion in your quest to creating an amazing work culture with employee engagement.

Employee incentives have evolved from being financial benefits only to initiatives taken for the overall well-being of the employees. It has now become an integral part of a work culture which is starting to become a defining point for companies, especially for their employees and potential candidates. Employee incentives are now directed towards employee engagement and enhancing the overall employee experience.

Benefits of Employee Incentive Programs

Builds loyalty: A carefully thought-out employee compensation incentive program provides staff members a stake in the success of your business.

Causes low turnover rates: Offering incentives to employees can aid in lowering turnover rates within your business, much like encouraging employee loyalty. As a result, you have a higher chance of keeping talented workers on board rather than having to regularly fill open jobs. Studies show that the presence of an employee incentive program motivated 66% of employees to stay at the company.

Drives goals: To support the strategic growth of your firm, incentives can be tailored to specific goals like sales volume or retention rates.

Provides an opportunity for improved teamwork and bonding: Your employees may become closer and develop a solid team spirit if you decide to design a departmental or corporate-wide employee incentive program that calls for cooperation and reliance among them.

The Top 20 Most Effective Employee Incentive Programs

1. Recognition

Recognizing employees' contributions to the success of their teams and the organization helps them understand how much their employers value them. This is especially important as organizations expand or undergo change. Employees are encouraged to keep up the excellent work since it makes them feel secure in their contribution to the organization.

A. Social Recognition

Social acknowledgment is very significant in employee recognition. It is a great opportunity for everyone in your company to publicly express their appreciation for other team members; often, just saying "thank you" is enough to keep someone engaged. According to a McKinsey survey, social recognition programs help businesses increase employee engagement by 55%.

B. Peer-to-Peer Recognition

On similar lines, peer-to-peer recognition has great benefits for an organization – it is a proven catalyst in improving employee engagement, reduces turnovers, improves employee relations while ensuring equal spotlight on all employees so that everyone gets the praise they deserve.

2. Spot Awards

Spot awards are an extremely effective and enjoyable way to reward your employees. They are also quick and simple to implement. Spot awards are typically given by management, but some third-party platforms allow peers to do so as well.

3. Bonus

Many businesses are also willing to offer bonuses as a part of their engagement strategy. There are many types of bonuses, with the most prominent ones being – retention, project, referral, and so on. A retention bonus is a monetary compensation given to employees who have remained with their company for a specified period. They provide it as an incentive to keep employees from leaving the company. Then comes the project bonus. As everyone on the project team may have an interest in whether everyone earns a project bonus, project bonuses promote teamwork and friendship.

4. Rewards

One of the most popular methods of rewarding employees is through rewards. They provide a personalized touch while allowing your employees to select the gift that they truly desire and deserve. Furthermore, you can distribute them whenever you want and in whatever quantity you deem appropriate.

5. Health and Wellness

Employees who are unhealthy are unable to perform at their best, so wellness incentives are critical for companies looking to prevent burnout and promote physical and mental health. Since the pandemic, many organizations have ensured that their employees are well taken care of, even in a remote setting. This includes keeping regular tabs on their health and providing any kind of support that could help them.
During the epidemic, TCS provided numerous employee care perks, including medical benefits for employees and their families, paid quarantine leave, and a 24x7 medical helpline for medical support and counseling

6. Milestones and Celebrations

Your teammate’s birthday tomorrow? Celebrate it together! As an organization, make sure that you celebrate your colleague’s milestones and achievements, as it creates a bond that goes beyond the workplace and shows how much you value their contribution to the company. With the right structure, employees would start to feel the office is a home away from home.

7. Gifts

Gift-giving to your employees demonstrates that you care. Gifts are excellent motivators for company-specific holidays as well. Try gamifying each of these holidays by organizing fun contests and quizzes, and then rewarding and recognizing employees who participate the most. Give employees a gift card for something they want, such as a music or OTT subscription, or movie tickets. Create a culture where you surprise your employees with gifts during major holidays as well, as a way to celebrate these special occasions together.

8. Flexible Schedule

Flexible work schedules have become one of the most important aspects of the modern workplace. This has allowed employees to work from the comfort of their homes while also being in touch with everything in the office, which helps promote productivity and a healthy lifestyle. Working in a timeline that they are comfortable with allows them to catch up with their life where they would be able to maintain a healthy work–life balance. . Flexibility and awareness of how the company is developing are two significant work advantages that have become more in demand in recent years. A flexible work schedule, along with a hybrid setup has created a truly dynamic workplace, which has aided in high productivity and retention rates.

9. Career Development

Employees today are not just looking for pay, but also the scope of the role and the type of learning opportunities they can benefit from. Companies must provide appropriate learning and development opportunities to encourage this growth. Offering specialized training sessions is one effective way to motivate employees.

When you invest in your employees' careers, it matters to them, and they will stay with you for the long term. In turn, your company benefits from the new knowledge and experiences that employees bring to the table, allowing for more internal promotion opportunities. This is evident in the startup culture, where budding organizations facilitate a roadmap where their employees have great opportunities of growth along with the company. This has resulted in higher retention rates and has enhanced the loyalty between the employer and employee.

10. Team Outings

Planning a team outing to a fun location can be an amazing stress buster. They are also a great way to foster team bonding and is a great way to get to know your employees beyond the workplace. Outings like these create a fun environment at the workplace and most importantly, core memories with your team!

11. Office Competitions

A little competition here and there to spice things up can never go wrong. Promote healthy competition at the workplace by organizing contests and quizzes, which bring out the hidden prowess of your employees and also a very useful test of their acumen and skill. And what better proof there is than the legendary Office Olympics held in Dunder Mifflin.

12. Volunteering Opportunities

Encourage your team to volunteer. This promotes genuine relationships among co-workers. Any company's expansion and development depend on it as well. You may be able to achieve greater gains in employee performance than you would with individual rewards by providing incentives that support charitable organizations or causes. Employees will strive to get support for the causes they care about, and they won't ever feel ungrateful for working hard to get rewards.

13. Team Bonding Activities at the Workplace

Create an employee incentive program for your entire company that requires your employees to collaborate and rely on one another. This could aid in employee bonding and the development of a strong team mentality. Create opportunities where the younger employees take the lead, be it by organizing office activities or team bonding exercises. Ensure that employees do not feel lonely or left out by creating buddy programs or young leader programs, where they learn soft skills and are also able to socialize and grow professionally as well.

14. Employee Mentorship

Any employee, especially freshers, looks for people who can help them grow in their careers and be a guide for their future endeavors. Creating a program where your younger employees get to interact with the seasoned pros of the industry helps not only in their growth but the overall organizational growth as well.

15. Tuition Reimbursement

Every employee should be learning something new every day. Tuition reimbursement is a great way to incentivize learning. Furthermore, encouraging ongoing education can be an excellent way to foster a culture of recognition. Encouraging your team to congratulate your employees on receiving a certification or a diploma also helps to foster interpersonal relationships at work.

16. Unlimited Sick Days

Unlimited sick days is an impactful incentive. Employees’ health and well-being must always be a top priority, and that must be inculcated in the work culture as well. The mutual trust that develops between the employer and employee becomes really crucial, as employees must not misuse this trust in any scenario. Neha Bahri, founder and director of Bconnect Communications observed that this has improved productivity by 10% - 20%. Myntra, a popular fashion brand, has established a structure to avoid these kinds of discrepancies – if employees need leaves beyond the allotted number of leaves, they need to provide medical documents to support the claim. A very simple measure that is very effective in the long run.

17. ESOPs

Because of the numerous benefits they provide, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) remain a popular method of motivating employees. It can aid in the management of equity risk and employee retention, as well as increase employee satisfaction and decrease turnover.

18. Customized Incentives

Personalizing your incentives shows how much you value your employees. This is very useful for smaller size teams especially. It can be based on their interests and hobbies, and it goes a long way in strengthening their relationship with the company and their productivity as well. For example, a gift that book that your employee always wanted but was not able to get or arrange for concert tickets for their favorite performer. These small gestures are also a sign of healthy communication, which goes a long way in setting a productive work culture.

19. Commute Assistance

Provide commuting benefits and stipends to encourage a hybrid workplace. Furthermore, by improving employees' commutes, you put them in the right frame of mind to have productive work days. There are many ways to do this - you can provide cab fares for those who stay far from the office, or help them find a place close to the office according to their convenience. It shouldn’t become a case where though employees want to support the hybrid work structure wholeheartedly, probably the distance or some other reason might make it difficult for them to commute. This is where it becomes crucial to aid.

20. Extra Day Off

After working hard on projects, employees deserve a well–rested break to come back with that same energy and vigor, so don’t shy away y from giving an extra day off to your amazing team! This is a great incentive and promotes a healthy work–life balance as well, giving them a chance to rest and recuperate before getting back to work. Recently, Meesho offered an 11--day break for all its employees, calling it Rest and Recharge. They announced this keeping in mind the physical and mental well-being of its employees which was really nicely received and appreciated. Major organizations like LinkedIn and Bumble also facilitated paid week offs for their employees for them to rest and rejuvenate.


Employee incentives are an integral part of every productive work culture now. Companies that provide benefits like flexible work schedules and work-from-home options are more likely to experience lower employee turnover and longer employee retention. Employees will feel more motivated in their work with higher rewards. Their morale and motivation will increase as a result.
With Vega HR, personalize your employee incentive program and create a work culture that recognizes and appreciates performance and productive behavior while giving them opportunities to grow as individuals and as employees of your company.

Frequently asked questions

Employee incentives are rewards and awards that motivate employees to achieve organizational goals. Employers can use an employee incentive program to provide awards to incentivize employees to maintain right-minded behavior and job performance.

There are many benefits of employee incentive programs, like employee loyalty, higher morale, and better retention rates, amongst others. Read this blog to know more!

There are many ways to incentivize your employees, like flexible work scheduling and recognition. In this blog, we have highlighted the top 20 ways that you can appreciate your employees.

Flexible work scheduling enables employees to work from home while remaining connected to everything in the office, which promotes productivity and a healthy lifestyle. Working on a routine that they are comfortable with allows people to catch up with their lives and maintain a healthy work-life balance. The benefits of these incentives include increased productivity, higher employee morale, and lower turnover rates.

Examples of training and development programs that can be used as incentives for employees include leadership training, mentoring, and continuing education courses. When you invest in your employees' careers, it matters to them, and they will stay with you in the long run. As a result of the additional information and experiences that employees bring to the table, your organization benefits from greater internal promotion opportunities.

About Vega HR

Vega-HR is a powerful tool in the talent war, offering employee rewards, recognition, and pulse recognition. With an engaging platform, it fosters a world-class work culture, providing P2P recognition, social feedback, on-spot recognition, and monetizable incentive solutions with 3000+ coupons in various categories.

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