How Major Companies Are Rewarding Their Employees (and What Can Be Learned)

One of the best ways to secure employee loyalty and boost morale is simple and intuitive: reward the employees. Despite the seeming obviousness of this concept, many companies don’t have an employee reward program in place, or offer lackluster incentives that don’t serve as sufficient motivation to encourage their best performance.

There’s a careful balance to strike here, since it’s important to give your employees enough recognition to reward and inspire them, but not so much that it drains the company’s budget. Fortunately, there are options, no matter the goals in place.

General Ideas

There are several types of incentives that can be effective:

  • Bonuses. Straight-up cash bonuses can be nice, especially when earned by meeting a specific goal. These incentives can quickly exhaust a budget, but are universally enjoyed and appreciated.
  • Celebrations. It’s also a good idea to reward good work with a celebration of some kind, especially after hitting a specific milestone. Purchasing a celebratory round of cigars or going out for a company dinner can raise morale while building bonds within the team.
  • Perks and benefits. Perks and employee benefits can also be extremely motivating to employees, especially new recruits. Insurance plans, retirement programs, time off, and certain types of reimbursement can serve employees well.
  • Raises and promotions. Ongoing opportunities for advancement, including raises and promotions, are a practical necessity for most businesses’ employee rewards programs.

The Best Companies

So how are the best companies in the world rewarding their employees?

  • Facebook. Facebook is ranked as the best workplace in the United States, according to an Indeed survey. The company rewards its employees with a suite of perks and benefits, as well as an atmosphere of teamwork that allows employees to work together on mutual goals. Some of their best perks include onsite services, from dry cleaning to healthcare, tons of time off for vacations and new parents, and a wellness allowance for gym memberships or other healthy activities.
  • Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines is consistently rated among the best companies for employees. For starters, the company offers a suite of benefits, including various insurance policies and retirement plans. The company also allows employees to enroll in its ProfitSharing plan, which allows employees to benefit whenever the company performs well. There are also wellness rewards, where employees can earn up to $500 in bonuses for adopting healthier activities.
  • SalesForce. SalesForce offers its employees tons of perks and rewards in several categories, including financial, health, career growth, and giving back. For example, they offer $100 per month in wellness reimbursement to encourage healthy activities among their employees, free mental health and legal counseling for employees who need it, ongoing opportunities for career growth, and time off to volunteer for their favorite charities and organizations.
  • CostCo. CostCo may not seem like the type of company to invest heavily in employee rewards, but it sets the bar high. For eligible employees, CostCo offers an employee stock purchase plan, healthcare reimbursement, multiple types of insurance including health, dental, and life insurance, and multiple other perks.

What to Take Away

So what should the typical business owner learn from these examples?

  • Perks make the workplace. Most headlining companies have earned their reputation, in part, by offering a suite of rewarding perks and benefits. This is a vital area for companies that want to attract-and retain-the best talent.
  • Teamwork culture thrives. Perks and rewards are doubly effective when they also encourage teamwork between employees, such as if they’re rewards for achieving a team goal, or if they force staff members to interact with each other. Building team dynamics is a reward all its own.
  • Different brands offer different experiences. Not all companies have the same perks, nor do they have the same approach to employee rewards. There’s no need to follow a precise formula; instead, each program should fall in line with its brand.

Employee rewards, celebrations, perks, and bonuses are the best ways to keep staff members loyal, happy, and productive. There’s no “right” way to build a system for this, but the more robust the plan is, the happier the receiving employees will be.