Financial Data
Updated 30 Sep 2020

Fresh ideas to consider for incentivising your employees

In a fast-evolving world where companies and employers are expected to keep up (just as fast), retaining your top staff and looking out for their best interests is essential. Much has been written about employee benefits – here are a few different ideas. 

Belinda Mountain, 20 July 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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Free coffee and a branded pen will only get you so far. These days, employees want to be surprised and delighted by the incentives you offer them, to be motivated to work harder and perform at their best. With that in mind, here are some more off-the-wall ideas to reward your employees – we’re sure you’ll be able to find something in there that fits with your company ethos and your budget.

Massage day 

Sitting at desks is not great for our physical health, and many people start to store tension in their backs, necks and shoulders specifically. Hiring a mobile masseuse or two to come into your office and offer 20 minute massages to everyone will be hugely appreciated by all. You could even do it once a month so people know that on the last Friday of every month they can look forward to their massage. 

Related: The science of successful incentives uptake

Local attractions 

Many people are so busy living their lives (including working five days a week), that they never get to discover the delights of their own city. If you want to organise a “team building” day, why not show your employees parts of their own city they’ve never had a chance to see, from going up Table Mountain in Cape Town, to hopping on the Big Red Bus in Joburg. They’ll appreciate the gesture, make memories and have fun at the same time.

Relieve stress with a medical aid plan 

While this doesn’t sound like a unique or particularly fun incentive, it’s a really practical one, relieving your employees of stress if they or their family members ever get ill. It also shows them how much the company cares about them. Here’s a good plan to take a look at.

Lunch with the CEO 

Lunch -with -the -CEO

In medium or larger sized companies, some employees may feel quite distant from the CEO, with him or her being viewed as operating in an ivory tower. So, to counteract that, why not set up “Lunch with the CEO” once a month, where the best performer gets to pick a venue and meet with the CEO for a short meal, discussing any concerns or ideas they may have, to improve the way the company operates and performs. 

This is also a chance for the CEO to touch base with how his employees are really feeling, and discover new things about the way the company works.


This may sound like a small thing, but it’s amazing how much people value getting their own allocated parking bay, instead of having to stress about finding one when they get to work. This could be based on performance over a few months, and the better people perform, the closer the parking bay could be to their office, for example. 

Pick the playlist 

Within limits (no one wants heavy metal band Metallica playing all day long), you could let employees pick a playlist to play in the lobby, coffee shop or common working area – if they have performed well over a certain time period. They’ll enjoy giving everyone a taste of their musical style, and they'll also love bopping along to their tunes as they work.

Related: 21 Ways to reward your employees

Pyjama day

Let’s face it: Getting dressed and coming into the office every day can be a drag. So as a reward for excellent performance, why not offer employees the chance to work from home one day a month, although only on a day when they have no important meetings or other office-bound tasks to complete. They’ll enjoy lazing around in their pyjamas for a day, and they’ll still get their work done if they’re managed correctly. 

Charitable giving 

Most people have a charity that is close to their hearts, from Hospice to the SPCA to Reach for a Dream. You could align this somehow with your company’s charitable initiatives and allow the best performing employee to pick the charity that should receive your donation for the year, or choose which charity employees could volunteer their time to in working hours. They would get a lot of feel-good moments from this, knowing that their performance played a part in doing good.

It’s important to think outside the box when deciding on incentive schemes for your employees, so that it’s original enough to spark their interest and motivate them to perform better.

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About the author

Belinda Mountain

Written by Belinda Mountain for Fedhealth. Fedhealth’s proud heritage dates back to 1936. Run by members for members, they’re a scheme governed with a completely transparent approach to medical aid: offering an extensive range with options for everyone, unique benefits and the best support.

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