Employees value a lot of things at their job: recognition, responsibility, time off, etc. But by far, one of the most sought-after (and delivered) reward systems in place is simple: money. Cash incentives and bonuses are dolled out an incredible rate, used to encourage employees to grow and to constantly strive for success.   

But cash bonuses have been around for forever, and don’t provide that unique spark that comes with something exciting to shoot for, at least for everyone. That’s why employers are starting to offer different incentive programs to their employees, either helping that money go further or providing them with services they may not be able to get elsewhere (like help finding cheap car insurance).

Assistance with Student Loan Payments

The average college graduate begins their new life with over $30,000 in debt, which can take years to pay, that is, if they ever do at all and don’t default in the process.

For that reason, some employers are stepping in to help with those payments, either by directly contributing to the loan payments financially, connecting them with third-party services that can help alleviate some of the stress or allowing their employees to contribute to a tax-free, 529 savings account for their own children. Whatever form this takes, employers understand that helping with student loan debt can take a huge burden off of their shoulders.

Providing Health Reimbursement Programs

With the ever-rising cost of healthcare in America, many employers are looking to health reimbursement programs as a way to help attract future employers. With the Affordable Care Act, smaller employers can now offer reimbursement programs that can help for non-group plan health premiums. These funds are almost completely at the discretion of the individual and their needs, which makes them perfect for things like eye exams, medicine, or lab work.

Rewarding Employees for Health

Giving your employees a financial incentive for meeting a weight-loss goal or quitting smoking has been around for decades, but studies have shown that they’re not overly effective in changing long-term behavior. After a period of time, the employee usually reverts back to their old ways out of habit, sometimes even in worse shape than they started in.

Because of this, many employers now offer lottery-based wellness incentives for employees who will take preventative wellness screenings or get a flu shot. Everyone who participates will receive a ticket into a lottery for tickets to sporting events or a bar-b-q grill, which can be even more effective than a cash bonus. In addition to this, health coaching is now available for many employees who wish to take advantage of it.

Coverage for Identity Theft

Identity theft is not only an emotionally traumatizing and frustrating event, but it is also incredibly expensive: last year, Americans lost nearly $16 billion to identity theft issues alone. This results in time away from work and considerable headaches in resolving the situation.

Some employers are now offering to help their employees with any identity theft that may arise, covering everything from mailing costs to lawyer fees. As the technology that helsp scammers get hold of consumer information gets easier, look for employers to offer this more and more in their employee perk packages.

More Time Off

Though offering employees additional vacation time is not a new idea, the way in which it is being structured is. Not only are employees creating more work from home opportunities for their workers, but they’re also allowing them to flex their time to work a little more each day in order to have an extra day off every couple of weeks.

One example of this is the “9/80” rule, where employees work their 80 hours, but do so over a span of nine days instead of ten. This means that every day, employees work an extra hour, and every two weeks, are able to take Friday off. This gives them an added incentive to stay at work longer and be more productive with the time that they are there.


by:  Mark Palmer