Enhance workplace connectivity and engagement with Employee Incentive programs

Fostering robust employee social connectivity is essential. With the development of remote work and the constraints posed by strict Return-to-Office (RTO) regulations, businesses are under pressure to foster a sense of connection and employee engagement among their employees. In response to these problems, many firms are using incentive programs as a strategic strategy to increase social connectivity, attendance, and overall employee engagement.

Employee incentive programs are integral to motivating, inspiring, and rewarding employees for their performance and productivity.

- Buddypunch states.

The challenges of engagement and belonging in the Workplace

Poor attendance rates remain an issue for many organizations, especially without strict regulations. However, implementing demanding Return to Office (RTO) regulations frequently results in backlash and fails to solve underlying productivity or social connectivity difficulties. Instead, such rules breed anger and disengagement among employees. Remote and remote-first workers commonly experience feelings of loneliness and disengagement because they miss out on spontaneous encounters and friendships in regular office environments.

In December 2022, 74% of employees would go to the office more frequently if they knew their “work friends” were there

- stated Microsoft

Furthermore, the lack of cross-team linkages and segregated work environments stifle cooperation and creativity, decreasing productivity and morale. Moreover, employees may discreetly disengage or choose to leave their positions entirely owing to a loss of social cohesion and purpose in their roles, eventually contributing to high turnover rates and further exacerbating organizational challenges. 

Why Employee Incentive Programs are a Must-Have 

Incentive programs emerge as a desirable way to address workplace difficulties and increase employee belonging. Companies may successfully encourage employees to interact with colleagues inside and outside the workplace by offering bonuses, cash prizes, additional paid time off (PTO), or other incentives. These initiatives have proved their capacity to improve social cohesion, workplace engagement levels, and attendance rates while avoiding the negative consequences commonly associated with rigid Return to Office (RTO) laws. As seen with Apple, “56% of Apple's employee planning on leaving after very strict RTO policy” shows the effects RTO policies may have on employee morale. 

Such employee incentive programs are essential in promoting attendance and employee engagement by encouraging employees to participate in various workplace activities and events. This proactive participation develops a feeling of community and belonging among staff members, resulting in a more social cohesion and supportive work environment. Moreover, these programs promote interactions and relationship-building among employees, enhancing social connectivity and cultivating a greater sense of belonging within the organization.

84% of employees would be motivated to go into the office if they could socialize with coworkers

- stated Harvard’s Business Review. 

In addition, incentive programs promote cross-team cooperation by breaking down barriers and facilitating interactions among departments or teams. This cross-collaborative environment encourages creativity, increases production, and improves employee job satisfaction. Furthermore, by developing social relationships and promoting a feeling of belonging, these programs help increase staff retention, which reduces turnover and related expenses.

In short, employee incentive programs provide diverse solutions to workplace difficulties while encouraging a more unified and motivated staff.

Examples of existing successful employee incentive programs

Many major companies have implemented creative reward programs to improve workplace social cohesion and employee engagement. Among them, Salesforce and Spotify stand out as they demonstrate many tactics that major firms use to incentivize and foster social connectivity among their employees, resulting in a more engaged and unified work environment. 

  1. Spotify's environmentally responsible approach to SpotiFEST mirrors a broader trend in incentive programs, in which firms increasingly include sustainability goals in their projects. Spotify is committed to matching employee values with company culture by focusing on sustainability, community building, and celebration. This resonates with current staff members who want purpose-driven work settings. "It’s about celebrating the Spotify app, our playlists, our creators and most of all: our people. That’s why we make sure to create the time and space for everyone to come together, connect and celebrate." states Jessica Deakin. Sustainability-focused incentives inspire employees by providing fulfilling experiences and creating a feeling of pride and fulfillment in their contributions to bigger environmental goals. Spotify's SpotiFEST exemplifies how incentive programs may go beyond typical prizes to foster meaningful social connectedness and inspire positive change.
  2. Furthermore, Salesforce's "Connect for Good" encourages employees to return to work by linking charitable contributions to actual office presence. While the project hopes to collect significant amounts for local charities, it also represents a departure in Salesforce's corporate culture, which always prioritizes employee well-being and flexibility. “The company has previously mandated that 65% of its workforce come to the office three or, in some cases, four days a week.” With this program, Salesforce encourages charitable giving and reasserts its commitment to office-centric company culture despite controversies surrounding layoffs and executive decisions. Salesforce's charity giving initiative reaffirms its commitment to an office-centric business culture despite the controversy surrounding layoffs and leadership choices. As Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff stated, "Ohana means family," yet implementing such measures suggests a departure from the company's erstwhile employee-centric stance.
  3. Additionally, Verkada, a cloud-based security business, has created a unique benefit known as the "3-3-3" program" to increase employee engagement. Verkada's CEO, Filip Kaliszan, recently spoke on this program, which allows three or more workers to pay for meals and beverages if they go out after 3 p.m. Kaliszan emphasized the necessity of such connections in conserving competitiveness in the technology business, as well as the usefulness of spontaneous debates that might occur during these trips. The scheme, which costs up to $30 per person and requires no prior clearance, has received universal support from Verkada's 1,800 employees. Verkada hopes to create a coherent corporate culture that prioritizes employee relationships and cooperation by encouraging such connections.

How to craft successful Employee Incentive Programs? 

Organizations have the option to design incentive programs that are tailored to their specific needs and company culture. One typical way is to use monetary bonuses, in which staff are compensated for meeting specified targets or milestones, inspiring them to strive for excellence. Another alternative is to provide additional vacation days as a kind of appreciation for outstanding performance or active involvement in business activities, which allows employees to relax and refresh.

By recognizing employees as invaluable assets and prioritizing their welfare, businesses cultivate a culture of mutual respect and appreciation.

Furthermore, recognition programs are essential in creating a pleasant work environment by recognizing and rewarding those who display excellent cooperation, cross-collaborative, or leadership abilities, reinforcing desired behaviors and values throughout the firm. By designing incentive programs to meet their specific circumstances, firms may effectively create a company culture of engagement, motivation, and productivity among their staff.

Another example is sick leave incentive programs, often known as attendance incentives, which are gaining popularity in organizations across several industries. These efforts aim to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and improve general employee well-being. But what precisely do these programs contain, and why would a corporation want to pay additional benefits to employees who routinely show up for work? As stated,

According to Forbes Advisor, 40% of employers report that workers leave their jobs in pursuit of better benefits.

Sick leave incentives are available in various formats, including monthly, quarterly, or yearly cash bonuses and amenities like gift cards or extended planned time off. The primary goal of these programs is to encourage employees to have excellent attendance records by providing incentives that recognize and reward their commitment to constant work attendance.

Leveraging Engagement Platforms for Social Cohesion

Café, the Workplace Engagement Platform

Engagement platforms like Café provide companies with an essential tool for fostering social ties and developing a feeling of community among their employees. Café include various features designed to increase employee engagement, groups and communities, mentorship programs or event management. These initiatives build an organization-wide company culture of social cohesion and cross-collaboration by allowing for regular and real-time recognition of intentional meetings. 

Incentives offered by engagement platforms like Café are essential in increasing workplace engagement, employee belonging, and retention. Companies may foster a more inclusive and dynamic work environment by promoting social engagement and cooperation, ensuring employees feel appreciated, supported, and linked to their colleagues and the firm. As the workplace evolves, investment in incentive programs will remain critical for developing a vibrant and resilient staff.

Request a Demo


Author's picture

Ligiya Mamikonyan

LinkedIn logoTwitter logo

Users talk about Café

Product Hunt Golden Kitty Winner 2021
Café is a leader in Online Community Management on G2

Seamless integration with all your favorite tools

Request a Demo