Choosing Effective Incentives: Balancing Rewards in Engagement

BY Lucy Fang
Jan 30, 2024
Balancing Rewards in Engagement

Chapter Four: Effective Employee Incentives

In the fast-paced world of employee recognition and loyalty programs, choosing just the right incentives remains a solid cornerstone of success. Building the ideal reward to drive engagement isn’t a luxury; it’s a well-crafted, strategic endeavor to keep employees living, working, and playing together through foresight and creativity. Chapter Four of “Enhancing Engagement: The Power of Gift Cards and Incentives in Employee Recognition and Loyalty Programs” deeply delves into the craft of well-rounded incentive strategies. Here, monetary (gift cards) and non-monetary (Badges) rewards are in perfect harmony, tying together the disparate needs and motivations of all types of employees and their organization and threading the needle to ensure each reward is felt sharply and creates a powerful engagement.

Understanding Different Types of Incentives

Incentives play a pivotal role in employee engagement and motivation. But what types of rewards truly resonate? Let’s explore:

  • Monetary Incentives: Direct financial rewards like gift cards, prepaid cards debit cards, bonuses, raises, or profit sharing.
  • Non-Monetary Incentives: These include recognition awards, additional leave, flexible working options, or career development opportunities.
  • Performance-Based Incentives: Rewards tied to specific achievements or milestones.
  • Personalized Incentives: Tailored rewards that address individual preferences and interests.

Each type has unique appeal and impact, making the right mix crucial for a successful incentive program. Balancing these effectively can transform the workplace atmosphere, boosting morale and productivity.

The Psychology Behind Employee Incentives

The effectiveness of employee incentives is not merely transactional. Instead, it delves deep into the human psyche. The future of employee incentives is to stop thinking about them as “rewards” and pinpoint what truly motivates and matters to employees. Our psychological needs are numerous and varied — the need for appreciation, for example, the need to belong and achieve — and different incentives satisfy different needs. Recognition in front of peers satisfies our desire for esteem. Engagement and belonging are satisfied by collaborative incentives, and personalized gifts satisfy our selfish need for things. When organizations understand that incentives have intrinsic human value beyond their face value and create a strategy for incentives around them, the company builds a more motivated, loyal, and productive workforce. Note, too, that this is not just at the individual level. When an employee understands that his motivation and performance are directly linked to his psychological needs, he is no longer just a worker; he is a partner in fulfilling a human psychological armor, and that’s incredibly transformative for an organization’s performance.

Customizing Incentives to Align with Organizational Goals

Crafting an incentive strategy that aligns seamlessly with your organizational goals is key to fostering a motivated workforce. Here’s how you can tailor these incentives effectively:

  • Understand Organizational Objectives: Start by defining clear organizational goals. Is the focus on boosting sales, enhancing productivity, or improving customer service?
  • Employee Preferences: Consider the diverse preferences and needs of your workforce. What motivates one group may not resonate with another.
  • Variety of Incentives: Integrate a mix of rewards, from financial bonuses to additional leave days or recognition programs.
  • Feedback and Adaptation: Regularly gather employee feedback on incentives and be ready to adapt your strategy for continuous improvement.
  • Measuring Success: Set metrics to evaluate the impact of your incentives on employee performance and organizational goals.

By customizing incentives to reflect both the aspirations of your organization and the desires of your employees, you create a powerful tool for engagement and achievement.

Real-World Success Stories: Incentive Strategies That Work

Exploring real-life examples provides valuable insights into successful incentive strategies:


Google’s approach to employee incentives is diverse, focusing on monetary and non-monetary rewards. They offer unique perks like on-site wellness and healthcare services alongside performance bonuses, showcasing a blend of incentives that cater to a wide range of employee needs.


Salesforce stands out for its commitment to philanthropy and wellness. Their “1-1-1 model” of philanthropy, which contributes resources to communities alongside comprehensive health and wellness programs, demonstrates the impact of non-monetary incentives in fostering a culture of engagement and social responsibility.

These examples illustrate how blending various rewards can create a compelling and holistic incentive strategy.

Closing the Gaps: Effective Employee Incentives Strategy

In mastering the balance of effective employee incentives, we unlock the potential for enhanced engagement and loyalty. Explore this vital strategy further to align your organization’s goals with the aspirations of your team.

Navigating the Series:

Chapter 5: Best Practices in Incentive Program Implementation and Management

Chapter 6: Success Stories: Transformative Engagement through Rewards

Explore the Full Guide: “Enhancing Engagement: The Power of Gift Cards and Incentives in Employee Recognition and Loyalty Programs

Contact us for deeper insights and tailor your approach to fostering a motivated, high-performing workforce.