That being said, with so many different companies offering up a wide range of perks, it’s hard to know what to roll out to employees that’s both different and genuinely beneficial. Of course, there are the old classics – commission, bonuses and flexible work arrangements. However, while these incentives are always welcomed, nowadays, more and more employers are looking past financial perks and coming up with more innovative, personal and carefully thought-out ways to encourage and reward their staff.
So, here are 5 original ways to incentivise employees that you may not have thought of before:
1. Reward Wellbeing
Providing free or discounted gym memberships for employees is becoming more and more popular, especially as companies realise that a healthy workforce is likely to be a happier workforce. However, some companies are going a step further when it comes to rewarding wellbeing. Online mattress maker, Casper, actually pays employees 2 US dollars a night for getting a good sleep – which is tracked by a fitness app called IncentFit. While this may seem over the top, there’s no arguing the need to be well rested in order to improve productivity.
In addition, there are a number of organisations, Casper included, which actively pay employees to exercise. While the monthly pay for exercise at Casper is capped at $130, this is nevertheless a great way to incentivise staff to get fit. Tech giants, Microsoft, have a similar set up - offering employees money to spend on fitness related activities. Who knew it could pay to burn calories?
2. Think of the Foodies
On the other hand, if exercise doesn’t incentivise staff, food will. When it comes to food perks, employers can put on quite a spread. Companies are offering free lunches, healthy breakfasts and fresh fruit all day every day – not only helping employees bond, but also ensuring they enjoy a healthy, balanced diet whilst in work. Of course, there are ways to get inventive with food incentives. Brunch on a Friday, a buffet to cure the Monday blues, or as Online Media Company, Thrillist, does, offer up an extravagant breakfast when a big deal is closed – there’s no limit to what companies can serve up. Now there’s some food for thought.
3. Paid Birthday Holiday and Unlimited Annual Leave
Nothing says a company appreciates you quite like giving you your birthday off – especially when it’s paid! While it’s only one extra day of holiday a year, workers appreciate being given time off on special days to spend with family and friends. Believe it or not, there are in fact some companies - Netflix and Linkedin for example - who offer unlimited annual leave. Having a policy like this allows workers extended time to travel overseas or spend time with their families at particularly important moments and can be a very attractive proposition for those seeking a better work/life balance. Of course, employees must ensure that the work is covered while they are gone. It’s also equally important to make sure what you are offering is available to everyone to avoid facing a backlash from employees who feel they are discriminated against with regard to incentives.
4. In Office Yoga and Massages
Everbright, the event management company, believes that people who are working non-stop aren’t good employees as their productivity levels sink if they are over worked. So, to combat this, some companies encourage employees to take 40 minutes out of their working day for in office yoga, or a massage. A nice idea, especially if you have been sitting at a desk all day.
5. Free Beer
Yes, you read that right. Some companies actually offer free beer to their employees. Obviously, this takes a great deal of trust between employee and employer, but if managed correctly, it can be a nice perk – especially at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. Of course, it doesn’t have to be beer - staff could be offered smoothies or milkshakes to give them an extra boost throughout the day.
It goes without saying that not all of these perks are suitable for every organisation. Equally, original, innovative perks shouldn’t be limited to start ups or tech companies. The key is to get a feel for your workforce and offer what’s right for them.
There’s no doubt that original incentives are a great way for an organisation to stand out from the crowd. Not only do they get people talking, if they are well thought out, they have the potential to attract employees that are a great cultural fit for the organisation. However, always remember that when it comes to building a strong company culture, incentives and perks aren’t everything. Creating a meaningful culture that resonates with your employees and has the core values of the business at its centre is essential and will ultimately attract, and retain, talent much more effectively than a free lunch.
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