Even if you have employees who are happy, work is still work, and it can become boring or tedious after a while. To truly keep your team happy and productive, you need to be able to offer them more than a salary and the standard two-week vacation. But what incentives actually produce happier employees? You can get an idea by taking a peek at Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

What do Edward Jones, The Boston Consulting Group, Ultimate Software, Wegmans Food Markets, and Salesforce have in common? I mean, besides being the top five best companies to work for? When staffers put in extra work, they’re rewarded for it. And not just with regular bonuses. Bosses handed out baseball tickets, breakfasts, and even college scholarships. Employees at Wegmans report feeling fulfilled, working to assist the company in achieving its mission of “helping people live healthier, better lives through food.” Excellent health benefits, reward trips to places like Walt Disney World, and paid time off to volunteer are other great perks.

But if your budget doesn’t allow for out-of-state trips or college scholarships, you can still let your employees know you appreciate their work and thank them for reaching and exceeding company goals. Even small rewards can be impactful because they can be given more frequently, and frequent recognition can help build morale.

Spectra360: Setting the Example

At Spectra360 we take employee engagement very seriously.

At Spectra360 we take employee engagement very seriously. We have a talent of the month program that recognizes the best employees working on client sites. We also have a President’s Club for our sales team that rewards them for reaching sales goals. Going one step further, we work on fun quarterly goals to keep every employee engaged and help them to understand that employees are the backbone of our success.

Family, Friends, and Health

A survey conducted in 2015 found that work is a significant factor in overall happiness, but respondents ranked family, friends, and health tops in terms of contributions to overall happiness. Keeping that in mind, you may want to develop an incentive plan that allows workers more time off to spend with their loved ones.

Bring Your Pet to Work Day

Americans love their pets! Look around the office and you’ll probably even notice quite a few of your employees have pictures of their pets on their desks or shelves. Some companies set aside one day a month for their employees to bring their well-behaved pets to work. This perk has been around for a long time and remains a popular one because it works. Research has also shown that having cats or dogs in the workplace offers a sense of well-being that cannot be achieved in any other way. And happy workers translates to productivity.

Unlimited Sick Days

Nobody wants to be sick. Besides feeling awful, many people worry their jobs will be on the line if they’re out more than a day. In addition, employees who come in sick risk spreading the germs around the workplace, leading to more absences. Giving your workers time off without worrying they’ll be in trouble if they don’t return immediately is an excellent incentive that benefits you both.

Special Parking Spot

If you’ve got an Employee of the Month or similar program in place, consider offering up a coveted parking spot.


There are a lot of employees who would love the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with the leader of the organization. It’s a good way for you to get to know your team member, and for them to get to know you. Try to keep the work talk to a minimum. Find out what your employee likes to do when he or she is off the clock.

Team lunches are also a great way to show your employees you value them. Host a company lunch break during work hours, or even a company picnic on the weekend.

A Simple Thank You

Whether you have programs in place to recognize workers for a job well done, perfect attendance, or excellent performance, a simple thank you can go a long way, and should be given daily. Asking your workers how they enjoyed their weekend or what they did during their vacation shows them you are interested, and that doesn’t cost anything.

Workers are most productive when they feel needed and appreciated. Spectra360 can help you hire the best team possible for your company. Find out how our talent management experts can help you.