3 Ways Small Businesses Can Incorporate Incentive Programs

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A startup or small business focus is created to fulfill a dream, be a cure to a cause or solve everyday problems potential customers face daily. The focus is placed on how to help others. There are multiple challenges that start-up businesses face and with the lack of staff and financial backing, the solutions are not cheap.

Hard-working staff members can be stretched further than normal due to the amount of work that needs to be done inside the business. Most employees believe in the goal and vision shared by the head staff and owners of the organization. However, it is of utmost importance to use incentives to reward the staff for their dedication and hard work that they put into the company.

What Is An Incentive Program?

An incentive program is a reward system handed to employees for achieving set goals or tasks created and communicated by the owner or top management within a small business. Companies use these incentives to motivate employees to work towards set objectives.

Small business owners can use incentive programs to create and build a strong work culture and to show appreciation for the value the employees add to the company. As small businesses are consistently growing and learning, employees will be in a constant problem-solving mindset, which must be rewarded to ensure that the turnover of employees is not high.

Companies will spend time obtaining the best incentive program for the team. The process must however always benefit the employee first. The idea behind the incentive plans is to ensure that the employees can be rewarded and draw benefits from working towards goals and growth within a company.

Small businesses have smaller teams, which leaves them with more access to the team members. By simply asking, managers and owners can have access to what incentive programs will best work for the team. The incentive will motivate and reward the employees within a team, thus inquiring about their form of motivation can save the business time to set up the best incentive program for the team.

Incentive programs are not all set in one form or another. Most incentive plans have multiple layers which will ensure that every team member has an incentive set for them. Some employees appreciate the bonuses while others enjoy more time off to spend with family. Thus creating a broad plan of incentives will ensure that the entire team has an incentive that motivates them to wait at the end of the finish line.

Benefits Of Incentive Programs

There are many benefits to implementing incentives for small businesses. These benefits all depend on the goal that the company wants to achieve with the different programs. The programs must be adjusted to ensure that the best benefit is reached for the company and the employee. 

Incentive programs reduce burnout. According to a survey done in 2021, 57% of U.S. workers are stressed out at work. This statistic leaves business stress in America as one of the highest reasons for burnout.

An incentive program allows employees to take a few days off, or to work from home. This will allow them to rest and recoup, preventing them from burnout from all the pressure and tasks that need to be done at work.

Another benefit is the boost in morale and productivity that incentive plans bring. Productivity within the workplace is a key to success. With more tasks being completed, the company can move on to bigger goals or heavier tasks to ensure growth for the company. Incentives will motivate employees. The reward that any employee will receive after achieving a goal will push them to reap the benefit.

Some incentive programs will not provide financial rewards, however, employees may have an extra day off, or obtain a few extra days to work from home. Working from home will allow for fewer office distractions and may just create a creative environment that boosts productivity.

Employee engagement and company culture can be improved through the use of incentive programs. With an incentive that rewards employees with non monetary benefits such as educational seminars or paid holidays, employees will ensure to lift their voices.

According to a source, only 21% of employees engage at work while 33% of the employees thrive in their overall well-being. This showcase how the working environment is not open for engagement from the employees and that the overall well-being is set at a low standard.

Providing educational incentives, employees will learn and grow their abilities, which will equip them to handle and solve difficult problems. The employee will bring to light the new information that will not only benefit the team but the company as a whole.

Type Of Incentives For Small Businesses

There are two main forms of incentive programs. One is where the employees gain financial rewards in the form of bonuses, promotions, or gift cards, or another in the form of paid traveling, extra off days, or other rewards that are not connected to any financial gains.

Monetary incentive programs solely focus on rewarding hard work and performance with financial benefits. A bonus will be received when an employee reaches a goal or completes a task that was set by the small business owners.

Non Monetary incentive programs aim to reward performances through leisure activities, retreats, conventions, or extra off days. Non-monetary incentives such as recognition in front of other staff members can have great benefits to the team.

Small businesses do not have the set fudge within the budget to provide bonuses, promotions, or an all-expenses paid travel experience. However, the use of extra off days or recognition for a job well done can do the job.

The employee must feel validated and appreciated through the incentive. Small businesses must take time to ensure that the incentive is not just a quick thank you note, but a moment where the team members can be appreciated.

Educational sources and ensuring growth within a company is of crucial importance. A study showed that 63% of employees leave an occupation if there is no opportunity for growth. Companies can counter this by simply creating incentives that will ensure growth and promotions in their workforce.

Many small businesses do not have the option to promote employees due to the size of the company. However, the managers and owners of small businesses can invest time through education which will ensure the employees learn and grow with the business, not leaving anyone behind. 

Methods For Implementing Incentives In Small Businesses

Implementation of incentives can be a difficult part of the incentive program. There are many options that the small business can decide on, and knowing which will be of the most profit to both the company and the employees can be a hard task.

According to a survey, HR professionals stated that the above and beyond performance award had the most impact with a 33% success rate. While anniversary awards for service to the company only had a 20% impact.

This provides small businesses with the information that high-impact incentives are those that reward hard work and performance. An easy method of shortening the experimentation of trial and error when deciding on an incentive plan is to ask the employees what they prefer.

Receiving input from the employees will reduce the time of deciding and planning an incentive program. These programs aim to motivate, reward, and benefit the employee. Thus asking them what they prefer will ensure a higher success rate for the incentive program.

There are tasks to check before an incentive can be implemented for a small business. Determining the goal and setting a budget for the incentives are at the top of the list, with planning and rewarding the incentives just under them. Companies must decide when and how often to reward incentives. If it is too far apart employees will not be motivated to work for the incentive.

Final Thought

Small businesses can have tunnel vision when it comes to growing and building a business. The focus is aimed on growing the customer base and building a brand that would outlast every employee and owner. The goals can be set, however, without a team to work towards set goals and work culture, the business will never grow.

Incentive programs will ensure that employees stay motivated and rewarded for their work. A regular incentive in the form of nonmonetary programs will ensure that the employees have enough time to rest while focusing on key goals and objectives.

Monetary programs can be used once a year which will provide the team with financial benefits and motivation to keep the business and themselves growing. Small businesses can have rapid growth and with incentive programs, the company can ensure a strong and healthy team that can work towards the goals and tasks set.