7 Low-Cost Workplace Incentives to Boost Morale

Low morale can undermine productivity and lead to increased employee turnover. With the average turnover rate for all U.S. industries at 16.7 percent and the direct replacement costs for employees reaching as high as 50 percent to 60 percent of the individual’s annual salary, businesses need to pay attention to morale in order to be successful.

Workplace incentives can increase morale and help organizations achieve plenty of other benefits.

Benefits of Employee Incentives

“Employee incentive programs offer one of the best ways to foster happy, motivated and productive employees who will aim to help you reach your company’s goals,” according to Michael Howard, adviser at executive office space company American Executive Centers, on SmartCEO. “These programs also convey the message to employees that you value and appreciate their hard work, dedication and loyalty.” He offered five specific reasons for using employee incentives.

Mutual Employer/Employee Reward

The program instills a feeling of value for the employee, and when this happens, companies benefit from more inspired workers. Productivity peaks and the company’s bottom line rises.

Increased Motivation

Incentives give employees a reason to stay focused and productive. Additionally, they understand that the company cares about them, their achievements and their happiness.

Increased Company Morale

A happier, more positive workplace is one result from employee incentives because they promote goal setting, focus and purpose. These programs have been proven to positively impact employee morale and decrease absenteeism and overall company costs.

Increased Productivity

Employee incentive programs encourage workers to keep track of goals they’re working toward.

Employee Loyalty

You can’t buy company loyalty from your employees, but incentives for consistent good work and overall productivity can help obtain dedication and commitment.

7 Low-Cost Incentives

U.S. organizations spend more than $77 billion annually on workplace incentive programs, according to reward company Hawk Incentives. However, managers don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to make their employees feel valued and appreciated. The following low-cost incentives offer some ideas.


Many employees enjoy the improvement in work-life balance that telecommuting offers. Companies save money on office space and utilities, and workers are less stressed, more engaged and happier, according to TechRepublic. Virtual workers are more productive and less likely to quit.

Flex Time

In addition to flexibility in work environments, flexible work hours can also be effective. This incentive allows employees to alter their start and finish times, enabling them to work around their personal schedules, avoid traffic and other benefits.

Dress Code

Relaxing dress codes is another simple way to boost morale.

Recognize Success

“Several times a week I hear stories from people who say, ‘Here is the most meaningful recognition I have ever received.’ And it’s a hand-written note,” Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works, told Inc. A personal thank you note can leave a lasting impression.

Say “Thank You” in Person

Likewise, sometimes the most effective way to show appreciation is the most obvious. A simple, verbal “thank you” is overlooked by some managers and workplaces. Employees should not have to assume that their work is appreciated; they should hear it from leaders.

Bring Your Pet to Work

A regular or special “bring your pet to work” day can be an exciting way to incentivize employees.

Celebrate Birthdays

From bringing in doughnuts or homemade cupcakes for workers on their birthday (or monthly for larger offices) to taking the whole team out for lunch and buying the birthday person’s lunch, there are plenty of low-cost ways to recognize birthdays.

Becoming a Business Leader

Alvernia University offers an online MBA to help you reach your potential as a leader. Learn the skills and knowledge you need to pursue management-level positions, start a business or reach other career goals. The program takes place in a completely online learning environment, enabling you to maintain your work and personal schedule.

Get Started

Call Us At (888) 536-1251