Employee Incentives


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]23 Low-Cost Employee Incentive Ideas for 2021


The most expensive thing you can do is to lose your valuable employees. Incentives are a powerful employee engagement tool to retain your top talent.

Your employees deserve an employee incentive program that reminds them that you are thankful for them.

88% of employees agree it’s important that employers reward employees for great work.

The good news is that showing appreciation doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or money.

In this article, we will show you how to reward your employees and stay within our budget. You can easily implement these employee incentive ideas at your workplace without breaking your bank.

Table of Contents

  • The Positive Effects of Employee Incentive Ideas
  • Here are 23 Creative Employee Incentive Ideas


The Positive Effects of Employee Incentive Ideas

Before we go ahead with incentive ideas, let’s take a look at some positive effects of employee incentives on your business:

  1. Company Culture

Your company’s culture is the combination of a company’s vision, goals and ideologies for achieving greater results. An appreciative culture builds trust and respect among the employees. Employees get a means to learn and praise their peers’ strengths and unique qualities.

  1. Give Competitive Edge to Your Company

Rewards and appreciation promote healthy competition among employees. Your employees try to bring their A-Game to work, and it’s always beneficial for your company. This not only helps the company in achieving its goals faster but is also aids to employees’ development.

  1. Improves Boss-Employee Relationships

You probably have heard this phrase, “People don’t leave jobs; they leave bosses.”

Giving employee appreciation gives managers a way to connect with the employees and convey their regards. It helps both parties to bridge the gap between them. It also makes feedback more effective.

  1. Employee Retention

Employee satisfaction is mainly dependent on how employees are treated inside the company. When you give rewards and incentives, they are emotionally invested in the job and the company as a whole. They naturally tend to stay longer.

  1. Employer Branding

Good employee branding attracts the right candidate and promotes positivity and employee engagement. Appreciation helps in building a strong brand identity. When employees feel appreciated in the workplace, they become active advocates for the company and its products.

“If you do not treat people with the respect they deserve, do not expect any kind of commitment to your productivity goals and target.” – Ian Fuhr, founder and CEO of the Sorbet group

Here are 23 Creative Employee Incentive Ideas

Here are 23 employee incentive ideas for small businesses you can start using today.

  1. Music

Everyone loves good music! Have you ever heard employees wish they could listen to their own music or listen to music at all?

Let people play their favorite music for the day or let them throw on some headphones when it’s appropriate to do so.

  1. Thank You Note From CEO

Take the time to make sure your leaders know about the great work your team members are doing. Ask them to write a thank you note with a gift card to their favorite restaurant.

Take a step further and send a thank you letter to the top performer employee’s family and let them know how valuable they are.

  1. Longer Lunch Time or Extra Break

Let someone have an extra-long lunchtime or let them leave the office for lunch. Favorite place to eat isn’t too far but usually not close enough to make it?

Employees will appreciate it when they get to that spicy chicken sandwich or cookies & cream milkshake.

  1. Allow Pets to Work

This incentive doesn’t cost you a penny. Fix one day every week for your employees to bring their pets to work.

Allowing pets in the office can help in reducing stress and making people friendlier. Work/life balance is valuable for employees, and being able to bring one’s dog or cat to work can help employees feel they are closer to achieving that balance.

  1. Flexible Time

Let your employees create a flexible work schedule, whether it be the hours they work when they work, or where they work. It allows employees to work when they accomplish most, feel freshest, and enjoy working.

  1. Work Happy Hour

After a project well done, a work happy hour maybe just the reward your employees are looking for. Here are some ideas: Order snacks and beverages from a local restaurant, play a game, or gather in a garden and tell something interés about yourself.

  1. Fully Stocked Kitchen

Here is a list of kitchen must-haves:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Creamer
  • Snacks
  • Fruits
  • Water
  1. Concert Tickets

Everybody loves a good concert. If there’s an event coming to your area that you think your team would enjoy, get tickets and attend as a group.

  1. Update Equipment and Tools

Get them the best equipment you can afford so their job is easier and more comfortable to do. Get your employee an improved desk and laptop.

Ask them if they need an upgrade, or if they hear of equipment or technology that would make their job easier.

  1. Throw a Party

Throw a pizza party or cake party. You could celebrate an employee achievement, a work event, a holiday, a birthday, or find something everyone can be excited about.

  1. Books

Find out what kinds of books and other educational resources might be valuable to your team—and don’t forget about leadership, productivity, personal growth, communications management, and interpersonal help books!

  1. Plant Life

Give your employees a succulent bowl or plant a tree that they can take care of and be proud to have.

  1. Company Outing

A company wide outing is a great way to reward hitting team goals. It can be anything from a campfire to a hill station trip on weekend.  An offsite is a great reward that also promotes team building and helps strengthen your company culture.

  1. Cleaning Services

Offer up some outside cleaning help. Purchase a car wash or maid service for the day if your employees are spending more time at work than they are at home.

  1. Time Off to Volunteer

Volunteering can be a life-changing experience and a great chance for employees to build new skills. Giving time off to volunteer is a great way to benefit your employees and your community.

It can be a team activity or allow individuals to take a day off to volunteer when it’s convenient for them.

  1. Netflix Subscription

Simple reward that’s almost every employee loves. Load up 50 dollars on a Netflix gift card and feed their binge-watching habit for a few months.

  1. Cooking Lessons

Learning something new with your team members! Most people try to cook, and most people fail. Incentivize your employee, or small team, with cooking lessons one day after work. It would be fun and yummy time.

  1. Meal Delivery for a Week

Take away the burden of cooking for a week. Bring in vendors to offer meals that are ready to take home or pay for a week’s/month’s subscription for a meal delivery service like Freshly. If they want to go the extra mile and cook it themselves, try a meal-delivery service like Hello Fresh.

  1. Do Their Laundry

Set them up with a laundry service that will pick up/drop off their laundry at their home. This incentive gives your employees more than just clean laundry – it helps restore some work-life balance to their lives.

  1. Offer Free Meals

Little perks like free lunch really make a big difference in how they feel about their company.

People love to work for a company that treats its employees well, and free lunches are a safe hint that the company is doing something right to keep employee relations thriving.

  1. Ask Them What They’d Like

Ask your employees what they think is a great incentive! This could be something free or relatively cheap, your best bet is just to ask them what they want. You’ll get it right every time.

  1. VIP Parking Spot for a Week

Recognize an outstanding performer with a dedicated parking space for a week. You can even decorate the parking spot so everyone knows who the winner is.

  1. Invite Employees’ Families to Company Celebrations

Dedicate a family day and a unique event to them, where you can make them feel special and give them a memorable experience. The employees love it and the most interesting part is more than the employees, it is their families who are more excited about it and looking up to this day.


What are some good incentive ideas for employees?

In this guide, you’ll find 23 employee incentive ideas for every budget.

How do you reward and recognize employees?

In this guide, you’ll discover 20 creative employee rewards, appreciation, and recognition ideas your employees will love.

How do I incentivize my employees without money?

Here are some ways to motivate employees without money:

– Motivate employees with flexible working hours.
– Write thank you notes/messages.
– Conduct some fun team-building activities.
– Give them an extra vacation day.
– Let them work on their passion projects.


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