6 cool ways to compensate and motivate your people

Between attracting the right talent and retaining your best employees, there’s little room for scrooging when it comes to employee incentives. The usual health benefits, competitive salary, and beer cart Friday are not always enough to make your people feel they are valued and in the right place for career growth. So, the question to ask as you think about incentive programs is, what do your your people really want?

It goes without saying that you should look into what makes your people tick before deciding that you know best. In the meantime, here are 6 great incentive ideas to get the wheels turning.

Education reimbursement

Landing a job out of school not only means steady cash-flow, it’s also often about getting rid of debt. Over the summer, The National Post reported that students are leaving school with over 25K of debt looming over their heads, which can wreak havoc on their mental health. Lots of companies give employees the opportunity to take courses or subsidize continuing education costs, but what about the people who’ve been through school and are paying off a mortgage, car, and adult life’s other glorious necessities? Here are some companies who are helping their people reach financial (and mental) freedom by offering education reimbursement programs.

Flex hours

Who wouldn’t love the opportunity to avoid an awful commute in the winter once or twice a week, or spend more time with their family while still getting their job done? No one, that’s who. According to FairyGodBoss, flexible hours are a top priority for women across the board when accepting a job offer – and with good reason, considering just how many hours of our lives are spent at work. It’s safe to assume that everyone loves flex hours, so why not offer them to your people based on performance. If you can get the job done from anywhere, flex hours are the reward that keeps on giving, especially since work-life balance is a priority for top talent in today’s job market.

Transportation allowance

Companies that offer travel allowances or subsidize the cost of transit are helping their people a lot more than they probably even know. In Toronto alone, the average cost for monthly transit is upwards of $140, and that’s not even looking at the time lost (and the stress associated with that). According to this cool site, almost half of working people think their commute is getting worse and 70% of them feel their employers should be helping to solve that problem. If you can’t cover the entire cost of travel, a simply subsidy or additional cash that can be put toward whatever it costs to get to and from work will without a doubt be highly appreciated.

Volunteer credits

Many companies are taking cues from popular organizations that rely on community activities and volunteerism as a team-building exercise. This helps create better bonds at work and lays the foundation for leadership to get to know what their people care about. So why not support employees for giving back to their communities? Choose a number of paid hours you’re willing to give your people, so that they can volunteer for causes that matter to them. You’ll be supporting their personal and professional development. Here are 8 companies that are doing it well, including Salesforce and Deloitte.


Sometimes it’s hard to watch your developers or sales reps get stuck doing a late-night site launch or dealing with a massive client issue that takes them into the wee hours of the next morning. Reward your hard working employees by telling them to come in late, go home early, or simply giving them a day to recover from an all-nighter. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to spring for pizza every now and again.

PTO for Eldercare

Deloitte surveyed 1,000 of its employees and found that 88% wanted a broader parental leave policy. This isn’t something that’s widely offered, but it probably should be given that eldercare is as important, costly and time-consuming as childcare. The WSJ tells us that Deloitte’s new policy kicks in this month, and will allow employees to take up to sixteen weeks of paid time off that includes eldercare and looking after other sick family members.

See also:
Employee motivation strategies that don’t work
The (quick) lowdown on employee engagement


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