Great Incentives for Great Employees


As a business starts out there are a few challenges that CEO’s will have to face. One challenge is hiring the right people for each position needed. The next one is retaining the employees. If you are going to try and expand and compete you have to make sure that your employees are happy. If employees know they are working in an environment that they love, then they will want to stay. By offering incentives to your employees it shows that you care about them and you want to make sure they are getting treated fairly. You do not have to do anything outrageous like Google or Facebook do in their work space. Simply adding free lunch once a week will improve absenteeism and decrease your turnover rate.


For example, Google has been known to offer on-site haircuts, gym memberships, fully stocked lounge areas with billiards and video games, on-site dry-cleaning, and even gave employees 100,000 hours in subsidized massages in 2012. Who would not want to work there? You can get all your errands done for free while you are at work. By offering incentives like these it increases employees productivity. I know if my job offered half of those incentives I would want to make sure I am doing my best at work so I can stay with the company.


Almost everyone has heard about how working for Facebook is great. Not only do they have catered meals and a insane break room, they also offer paid maternity leave for four months. They also give reimbursements for daycare and as a bonus Facebook gives you $4,000 as a gift for the new born. That is crazy to think that they give gifts like this to every single employee that works at Facebook. You would think people would take advantage of it but that is not the case. They have never had a problem that would make them want to take away the gift. They trust their employees with their company, and the employees trust the company with taking care of them.


Yes all this seems outrageous if your a small company, but just by allowing employees to wear jeans one day a week can make a large differnce. You have to find out what works best for your employees and your company. Start by asking some of the employees what they like or what they feel could help them get through a tough day at work. You would be surprised with how easy it could be to ask employees what they want instead of assuming. By making the employees feel like they have a say, they will have more respect for management and the organization as a whole.


If you can pick some incentives at your job what would they be?

Would your productivity increase if you got offered incentives?

10 thoughts on “Great Incentives for Great Employees

  1. This was an interesting post to read and I agree with you that having these incentives would make people want to stay working for the company and do their best. Although I do agree with this from an employee stand point, it has also been tested that too many incentives or the wrong type of incentives can do more harm than good. For example, if a company offered financial compensation for scores on certain types of tests, or the best creative idea, the tests have proven that the employees would end up producing lower scores or not as good of work. Hence, companies need to make sure that the incentives they are providing are the right ones at the right time. Furthermore, I also agree that the little things do help, such as an extra break, or money for work clothes, things of that nature would increase the happiness of a company’s employees.

  2. I strongly agree with this post and the companies that offer incentives. Happy employees definitely create happy customers. When employees are happy in their work environment, they are enjoying what they do, and therefore produce successful results. It is important to love and enjoy what you are doing. However, I think that companies should never offer too much and employees should never take advantage. These incentives and having a positive work atmosphere should never take away from appearing and acting in a professional manner.

  3. In general, it is always a good thing to take care of your employees. However, an effective incentive system is extraordinarily difficult to set up and maintain. You want to make sure that you have the right system measure the right thing First, the organization needs to decide the purpose of the incentive system it tries to accomplish. Second, the organization needs to set goals for desired outcomes. Third, the organization has to consider which goals to be integrated within and across all levels and divisions. Lastly, the organization has to pick the types of incentive system that is right for the company fully evaluating of the pros and cons of each one.

    The other drawback of the incentive system is when an employee’s work is highly interdependent (teamwork), thus the achievement is not individual oriented. Then it is hard to have a valid measurement of individual performance to use the philosophy of making pay for performance work and the fairness of the system can be challenged and ineffective. In addition, some incentive systems can be so costly that companies might not able to invest with limited resources and budgets.

  4. While reading this post I started questioning the incentive programs and their purpose. On the surface, it seems like a win-win for both you and the company, but do those “great” companies really have good intentions? Or do they want you there for more than just 8-9 hours a day? Would you want to be away from your family and friends for longer than you have to just because you get a free lunch everyday?

    On another note, this year the company I work for, implemented a pretty nice award program, where employees can nominate each other for an award. I recently received something for helping out a colleague with a report she had constant problems with. The awards are in the form of gift cards to many different stores, restaurants, etc and each employee can award $25-$200 with only their direct manager’s approval. The awards higher than $200 require higher management’s approvals. This program has been such a success, and let me tell you, getting a $25 or $50 from a colleague as a “thanks so much for your help,” means so much more than an on-site dry-cleaning service Google/Facebook offers.

  5. Putting incentives in the workplace is definitely a hot topic in the business sections of the WSJ. One day you read about all the perks that Facebook and Google are giving their workers, as stated above, and the next day you read about how the IRS wants to go after those workers for benefits that are not being accounted for in their taxes each and every year.

    My personal opinion is, at the end of the day, people are motivated by money. The food and haircuts are a secondary part of the deal. If you can dangle the carrot in front of them to try to make them work harder by offering a larger monetary stretch goal, that is most effective.

    The problem that some firms make is they don’t know when to draw the line on placing incentives for a job well done and placing incentives just to place incentives. It can be a slippery slope if companies open their pockets with no regard to some of the ramifications (i.e. inflated bonus programs, etc).

    Currently, I work at a company that, in my opinion, does a horrible job placing incentives for the betterment of the company as a whole. Ideally, a company wants all facets to be pulling on the same end of the rope, not pulling against each other. The incentives that the sales people get at my company, go against what management gets, which go against what purchasing receives, and credit receives something entirely different. A company needs to be cognizant of the programs that each group has to create a work environment where everyone is pulling together.

  6. Companies that offer incentives for their employees will definitely benefit from it. The employees are going to be in a better mood, which means productivity will increase. Employees will feel more motivated to work for the company because these incentives shows that the company cares. The incentives I would want is the choice of time flexibility. Incentives would boost my productivity because I would feel motivated to work harder.

  7. I appreciated that you encouraged companies of all shapes and sizes to be intentional about the message they’re sending to their employees. Incentives, rewards, compensation and the like will all play a role in recruiting and retaining the type of employees that a company wants to attract. Google and Facebook expect their employees to burn the candles at both ends and therefore they’ve set up a campus to help employees run errands and accomplish “home” tasks while still at work. I believe that the companies wouldn’t offer some of the more lavish perks unless they believed they were getting the better end of the bargain.

    I was reminded of some of the frequently asked questions that come up in our annual meetings at work. People have asked why we don’t offer on-site childcare or a fitness center. Certainly those things cost money, but our HR director always responds that those are things that keep people around the office and they just want people to feel like they can go home at the end of the day. It may be frills-free, but a healthy respect for work-life balance in the form of a true forty hour work week is the kind of perk that’s right up my alley!

  8. I think that offering incentives is a great way to not only attract highly qualified employees, but also retain them for the long term. I can’t think of anyone who would want to leave a company that offers free massages for every employee. I just read an article about a Google employee who basically lived on their campus for two weeks and nobody kicked them out or said anything. While I think that may be going to the extreme, the fact that these employees feel so comfortable in their work environment that they don’t need to rush out everyday is a great thing. Although, there needs to be some balance. These employees also need to provide a substantial amount of work in order to be able to keep these perks. In general though, I think these incentives are a great way to increase productivity and loyalty to a company.

  9. I strongly agree that there needs to be incentives in place for employees. In my experience, just having a jean day at work if we met a specific benchmark helped us put in that extra effort to achieve it. Even though it’s just jeans, at the level of work we do, it is a good inventive. At larger companies, like Facebook or Google, a larger inventive is expected because of the performance of the company.

  10. This was a fantastic read! Personally, I always felt that incentives in the workplace were seen by executives as an expense while employees saw them as appreciation for their hard work. I think Google and Facebook have got it down perfectly. In my experience, even having a small incentive such as a casual dress code on Fridays makes employees feel comfortable coming to work and helps them enjoy their environment a little more. I have also worked for a company with terrible employee incentives which only made everyone working there dissatisfied with their environment, workplace, and always searching for a replacement job. As mentioned above, more companies need to offer greater incentives to their employees because with employee dissatisfaction and a low-pay, employee turnover is sure to be very high.

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