Managing and maintaining a successful business involves staying in touch with your staff and offering more than just salary or baseline perks. According to the Small Business Association, there are mandatory employee benefits that every company is required to offer their employees. Many employers choose to take the extra step, and offer additional incentives that keep their workers happy and encourage them to strive to meet higher goals. These extra perks tend to boost morale, which in turn kicks productivity into hyper drive as employees feel valued and appreciated for their efforts. Following are five optional incentives to consider for your small business employees.


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Reward perks for completing projects and achieving goals

Set specific project completion goals that come with rewards for a job well done. Offer special perks for working together as a team or for individual successes. Rewards might include an occasional catered lunch at the office for the most productive team, or a gift card for a movie, restaurant, gas station or car repair. Offer a day at the spa, or go all out by bringing in professional massage therapists to provide the ultimate relaxation for individual achievements without leaving the workplace.

Workplace wellness programs

One of the best investments you will ever make as an employer is to invest in your workers’ health and well-being. Of course, if your employees are not healthy, the quality of work will suffer as well, so taking an interest in their well-being will produce a great return for your efforts. Start by asking your employees how they would like to improve their health. Based on their answers, create incentives that offer rewards for those who lose weight or stop smoking within a given time frame. Make it a team effort by encouraging a place to take part in walking during lunchtime or extra breaks for nonsmokers.

Corporate memberships

Local gyms and other recreational facilities, buying clubs, airlines, hotels and travel agencies offer discounts to groups or corporations. Tap into these small business resources for your employees. As an added perk to the business owner, some of these corporate membership expenses may even be tax deductible. Offer free or lower cost corporate memberships to promote wellness and overall enrichment of life and relaxation outside of work, which will spur your team on to achieving company goals.

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Value employee time with flexible hours

Allow employees to work around their life instead of trying to fit a life around work hours. Attract new employees or hang onto the workers you already have by realizing each one has a life outside of work. Offering flexible hours is a fantastic incentive to establish an environment where workers feel valued as a person and not just an employee. Give the option of working a couple extra hours a day in exchange for another day of the week off, or alternate shifts to offer earlier or later start times when necessary.

Family fun events

Each of your employees has a family or friends whom they enjoy spending time with when they are not busy working. Include these families and friends in company events. While company picnics are a great way to kick back outside of the work environment, go beyond the annual picnic. Consider offering a night at the movies, an all company game night, or embrace take your child to work days.


The most successful entrepreneurs know that the best rewards to offer vary depending upon the individual employee’s needs, so the most important first step is to get to know your team before attempting to implement optional incentives. Start by going straight to the source and asking your employees what motivates them including what their individual favorite restaurants, movies, hobbies, or likes are outside of the workplace. Use this information to personalize your optional incentives that you offer to your small business employees. The payoff typically proves to be beneficial to both the individual employee as well as the company as a whole.


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This article was written by Tere Scott for CBS Small Business Pulse