17 Creative Incentive Examples To Motivate Your Team
Motivation and achievement walk the same path, but they don’t always go hand in hand. Sometimes success comes easily, and that’s cause for celebration. But, occasionally motivation lags behind, and that can threaten confidence, lead to a breakdown of communication, impede progress, and even derail a project.
As an individual, a team leader, or a company CEO, what can you do about it?
If you recognize that the commitment level and enthusiasm of your employees just isn’t what it used to be, or that you aren’t as passionate as you once were about your job, then it’s time to tap into some innovative ideas to open all eyes to new possibilities.
Here are 17 incentive examples to recharge teams suffering from some form of DMS (decreased motivation syndrome).
Flex Time Power
It should come as no surprise that some people are early-morning types while others are confirmed night owls. Unless there’s a need for an in-person office meeting, why not allow employees to set their own schedules. Technology keeps everyone in touch, so why not allow varied hours, work-at-home days or after-hour desk time just as readily as “Casual Fridays?”
The Power of a Gripe Session
Don’t talk; just listen. Don’t take notes, but take note of underlying concerns and complaints. Then act. Elicit ideas about how to make things better. Brainstorm. Get down to the nitty-gritty, even if suggestions are as seemingly inconsequential as a new coffeemaker in the break room.
Rally Around a Charity Event
Give back to your community, not for recognition, but in support of a common goal. Tutor at-risk students, work at a community garden, local library, food bank or homeless shelter. Team up in support of veterans or pet adoption efforts; sponsor an art fair or benefit concert. Spend the time rather than cash, to make an effort more meaningful.
Institute a Suggestion Box
It might be surprising how such a simple idea can empower a team. But it only works if you’re willing to try out some new ways of doing things. Go ahead; take the risk. Reward small ideas and bigger, more fundamental changes will occur. Once the power is unleashed, who knows where it will lead.
Form a “Sporting” League
It doesn’t have to be baseball, tag football or lunch-hour jogging. Think yoga, karate, ping pong or even salsa dancing. When teams come together for fun, the spirit often carries over to the workplace. Offer periodic cash cash incentives with a stipulation to try something totally new that leads to personal growth and development.
Let your employees know that you’ll send an Uber, no questions asked, to get them to the office, to a meeting across town, or to the airport when necessary. And back! It’s a business perk that’s totally worth it.
Eliminate Vacation Days
No, don’t do away with vacations. The idea is to banish burn out, and to encourage “recharging” when necessary. Don’t require advance approval; the only pre-requisite should be that unplanned personal time off doesn’t affect the production schedule or create extra work for someone else.
Reward “Above and Beyond” Effort
In grade school, students get gold stars; athletes win medals and ribbons. Employees who distinguish themselves should get appropriate recognition for unusual achievement, something other than a plaque for their office wall. How about concert or game tickets, membership at a fitness club, or a weekend getaway?
Everyone wants to eat better – but it’s so difficult – one of the best gifts you can give someone is the gift of health. Let your team know you value their quality of life by investing in things that enhance their quality of life. There are a variety of options to choose from in every city. There’s a variety of options from organic prepackaged prepared meals to diet plans that can be executed by the individual.
Install a Workplace Quiet Room
When daily stress levels mount, private time is essential. Offer an “escape pod” for personal phone calls, quiet meditation, or “silent screams.” Workers shouldn’t have to hide out in the restroom or take a walk to regain composure.
Post a New Challenge
Growth comes from pushing through limitations. That’s easily said, of course, but it’s a bit trickier to live by every day in every way. Strive for record-setting achievement. View failure as a learning experience. Set the bar high; adopt a “Never give up” mindset. Remember that’s what led Churchill to greatness during World War II.
Actively Promote Work-Life Balance
Consciously pursue happiness, not as an end result, but as a direction. This one involves getting to really understand what makes your team tick, but it can offer huge rewards. Indulge in a bit of childlike wonder. Visit the zoo. Try indoor skydiving. Enroll in a cooking class. Learn Portuguese. Just for the fun of it!
Get Healthy and Stay Healthy
Creative minds thrive in healthy bodies. Promote proper eating by supplying an office lunch once a week, followed by a quick outdoor “walkabout.” Little is more rejuvenating than fresh air, sunlight and exercise.
Imagine learning leadership and motivation skills – but from the top of a mountain! There’s no more impactful way to incentivize and excite a team than by giving them each a custom adventure that they can learn from and grow. These excursions will benefit physical and mental health far and above any “in-house” solution.
Begin a Mentoring Program
Match older employees with interns, Baby Boomers with Millennials and managers with stockboys. You get the idea. Shake up existing perceptions, exchange ideas, pass along knowledge and learn while you teach.
Give Credit Where It’s Due
It’s always better to lead from in front rather than to push from behind. But recognize performance and be generous with praise. Know that you’re not alone in the game. Allow people to fail, but help them learn from mistakes. Reward persistence. Solve problems without becoming a dictator.
Throw a Party
That’s right. Celebrate at every opportunity. Nothing motivates individuals or teams like having fun, both in personal life and on the job. Look for a chance to surround your workers with “warm fuzzies” at every opportunity. Celebrate opening, sales successes, project completion, birthdays, holidays and Tuesdays, as appropriate.
Come together in support of a common goal, whether it’s beating a deadline, shaving departmental costs, or winning a sales award. It may not always be easy to get back on track, but jump-starting team motivation is essential if you don’t want to give up the idea of forward momentum.