What are the Benefits of an Effective Staff Incentive Scheme?

Introducing an effective staff incentive scheme can play an important part in recruiting and retaining talented candidates and existing members of the team. By rewarding good performance with perks your staff actually value, you can also get the best out of your team for the benefit of your business.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the business benefits associated with incentives and perks as well as exploring some of the different options available.

The benefits of a staff incentive scheme

A ‘carrot and stick model’ i.e. providing a reward for positive behaviour, has been proven to be a successful method of helping a company achieve its short-term goals. However, over the longer term, such an approach is only successful if an incentive scheme is created which links rewards to company values.

Values-based recognition schemes have been found to be much more successful when compared to non-values-based recognition. For example, a report by Globoforce (pdf) found that 90 percent of HR professionals felt engagement was positively impacted by a values-based recognition programme. There was also a positive impact in terms of retention, with 71 percent of programmes seeing a positive impact compared to just 54 percent of non-values-based programs.

There’s also evidence to show that incentive schemes that are created with the collaboration of employees, i.e. by letting employees choose which incentives they want, can motivate employees to reach higher achievement levels. The advantage for the employer is increased levels of productivity and a team that are encouraged to achieve pre-established goals.

How to create an effective staff incentive scheme?

The key to creating an effective staff incentive scheme that will actually be valued by employees is to make sure it is tailored to the particular needs of your business. You should consult with employees to understand what incentives they value the most and work with them to set targets for those perks to be achieved.

There should also be a mix of long-term and instant rewards so that employees feel all their good work, whatever form it takes, can potentially earn them additional benefits which are proportionate to their efforts.

What form can an incentive scheme take? 

There are a huge range of potential incentives employers can put in place. Everything from introducing flexible working practices to providing free fruit work in the workplace has been proven to benefit your team.

A good staff incentive scheme could contain financial and non-financial benefits and ideally, they should be self-financing, in that the benefits of the improved performance outweigh the costs. There should also be incentives to reward individual performance as well as perks to encourage effective team working.

Options for staff incentives include:

  • Profit-related and share-option schemes
  • Bonuses
  • Commission
  • Formal recognition and rewards
  • Flexible working opportunities
  • Extra holidays
  • Company vehicles
  • One-off gifts and vouchers

What is your experience of staff incentive schemes? Do they work, and if so, what incentives do people value the most? Please share your thoughts with our readers in the comments below.