Your employees work hard every day – so don’t they deserve some recognition? When it comes to creating a more engaged workforce, nothing compares to a well-managed incentive and bonus program for employees. Whether your team is small or you have a large number of company divisions spread out across the globe, employees who have something to look forward to will work harder to achieve more for your organization. This improves your bottom line.

Employee Incentives for Maximum Productivity

This time of year can be the perfect time to take a closer look at your employee incentive plan and add some new perks to help maintain a high performance work environment. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Gift Programs for Employees – A nice way to say “thanks” to your employees anytime is by handing out gift cards and a personal note of gratitude often. Take the time to educate your executive team on the importance of regular recognition of employee achievements by giving them access to group discounts on gift cards and points gift programs.
  • Corporate Wellness Program – One low-cost way of giving back to employees and improving their health at the same time is through a corporate wellness program. When employees have access to wellness and spa services and support, they are more likely to participate. Employers who invest in wellness programs also help to reduce the cost of their health insurance premiums by as much as $3 for every dollar spent on wellness.
  • Certificates of Achievement – Employees beam when they receive praise from their supervisors, and especially in front of peers. Make a big deal out of achievements at work and provide printed certificates of achievement along with a photo of the employee to be displayed in their work area. Highlight these achievements at staff meetings and hand them out so that all can see how hard each employee has worked to earn this recognition.

Related Read: Total Employee Engagement and Training & Development

  • Educational Support – Oftentimes, employees are trying to grow in their careers, therefore having access to corporate educational support can become a major perk. Offer on-site classes to earn industry certifications. Provide a generous tuition reimbursement program for those who wish to earn college degrees. Make it known that this is part of your overall benefits package and encourage employees to achieve their educational dreams.
  • Free Beverages and Snacks – When employees have the nutrition they need to get through each day, they tend to be more productive. Give your employees access to healthy snacks and beverage choices, offered free as part of your wellness program. Ideas may include breakfast muffins from a local bakery, or vegetables offered mid-day.
  • Employer-Sponsored Benefits – The rising costs of health care benefits is on the minds of many employees today. You can offset these costs by offering supplemental benefits to your employees such as cancer care, vision and dental benefits, and hospital indemnity plans for employees and their families.
  • Flexible Schedules – Every employee is looking for a way to get work-life balance. Having the option to work a more flexible schedule can help make this a reality. Offer employees the choice of one day a week to work from home whenever possible, or be more lenient to when employees can arrive or go home during the week so they can be more productive.
  • Company Discounts – Your company is likely to have affiliations with leading retailers and community services that can offer corporate discounts. Why not pass those discounts along to your employees too? Create a list of company discounts and encourage employees to use this as a way to save money while supporting your vendors.
  • Celebrations and Birthdays – Every employee deserves some special treatment on their birthday. Therefore, have your company send out birthday flowers to recognize their day. Once a month, have a celebration to let your employees know how much you appreciate their hard work and efforts.
  • Updated Breakroom – It’s a great incentive for employees to have a comfortable area where they can enjoy some downtime at lunch or after a tough meeting. Set up an improved break area that includes soft seating options, a flat screen television, calming lighting, and games for blowing off steam.


Tess C. Taylor

Tess C. Taylor

Tess C. Taylor, PHR, CPC is the Founder and Managing Editor for The HR Writer blogazine, and the CEO of HR Knows – an HR Content, Coaching, and Consultancy firm in New York. Learn more at

This article is by Tess C. Taylor.

For many companies, the people challenges in their industry are painfully clear: employee retention is difficult, cross-company communication seems impossible, and measuring HR’s efforts to help feels like an uphill battle.

Some might accept these problems as par for the course, especially if they work in the food and beverage industry, where waitstaff turnover is high and HQ struggles to communicate with employees across many eateries.

But not Karl Strauss, the award-winning brewery with multiple brewpubs based in southern California. Faced with the same struggles as the rest of the food and beverage industry, they decided to take these challenges head-on and turn to Kazoo to implement new employee engagement ideas. Today, they’ve successfully revamped their approach to some of the industry’s biggest HR issues.

In our latest case study, we lay out their blueprint for success:

Brewing Employee Engagement Solutions for the Food & Beverage Industry
Download it for yourself, and you’ll get insights into the unique ways Karl Strauss approached some of the issues every industry faces.

As a preview, here are a few questions answered in the study:

  • How can your company’s core values end up being a recruiting tool?
  • How can your company suddenly see record participation in employee wellness programs?
  • How do you roll out real-time employee recognition if your staff doesn’t have on-the-job computer access?


Enjoy, and be sure to let us know if we can help answer similar questions for your company!

About Kazoo:
Kazoo is a SaaS HR technology platform that redefines the way companies engage with their employees. By providing tools to connect, reward, reveal and report in real-time, Kazoo can consolidate employee engagement initiatives into one, easy-to-use mobile platform for teams of all sizes. Since launching in 2012, Kazoo has delivered its flexible software to small enterprises and Fortune 500 brands across several industries. Visit for more information or schedule a quick demo here.

It’s no secret that companies are completely reevaluating their approaches to employee performance management, workforce recognition and survey programs and now looking for employee engagement tools to help support these new approaches. They’re ditching annual, paper-based and top-down processes in favor of real-time, mobile and peer-driven engagement. Because of this overhaul, you need to view your employee engagement program as a living, breathing thing. Likewise, the technology solutions that support your initiatives aren’t simply “plug and play.” Whether you’re already using a technology solution or are considering one, here are some things to keep in mind:

Change management starts before you even choose an engagement platform.

While selecting an actual engagement technology can be arduous, the work actually begins well before signing a contract with a vendor. As you’re meeting with internal stakeholders, collect their expertise and ideas on how your culture can best shift toward continuous feedback and collaboration. How are managers currently evaluating and coaching their teams? Do employees create their own goals and how do you know if they’re achieving them? How are employee accomplishments being recognized and rewarded? Have your managers taken action on annual surveys? As you’re pursuing a technology, you’ll have their needs at the forefront so you’re best equipped to find the best solution. You can then work with your technology provider to design the best solution for your organization’s needs.

Selecting and implementing employee engagement software just gets the ball rolling.

Solutions like Kazoo partner with stakeholders well before implementation begins, and oftentimes help guide the conversations mentioned above. So while implementation typically only takes around 8-10 weeks, the partnership starts well beforehand and lasts much longer through consultative services, best practices guidance, support and continuous education.

At the same time, you also need to devote internal time and resources to ensure the solution is continually driving value. Engagement technologies are unique in that it’s truly a companywide solution. Accordingly, you’ll need to communicate the purpose of the engagement program itself, meet with managers to get their feedback and survey your employee base regularly to understand pain points and opportunities within the program.

Keep evolving.

You’ll never say, “We’ve done it. Our company culture is up-and-running. We’re done!” Sounds ridiculous, right? You know your organization is constantly changing so the strategy and methods you use to engage your employees must continuously evolve as well. Engagement solutions like Kazoo provide the visibility, flexibility and agility your organization will require as business and employee needs change. The workforce analytics provided don’t have an expiration date and can help your c-suite make decisions on larger business strategies.


So if you’re ready to start the conversation about transitioning toward real-time, continuous feedback, download our eBook, Secure C-Suite Buy-In for an Employee Engagement Platform. It can be the first step in your journey toward creating a best-in-class employee engagement program.

In a recent interview, NPR asked the director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United what the biggest problems facing restaurant workers were. Her answer? Wages and benefits.

With the hospitality industry’s minimum wage debate getting attention lately, is anyone talking about the benefits side? It’s a fascinating part of the equation for us—not just because Kazoo helps companies with their employee rewards programs, but because we see customers in the hospitality industry using rewards and benefits to tackle tough HR issues all the time.

Inspired by our customers and industry insights, we put together our latest piece: 16 Reward Ideas That Serve the Hospitality Industry.

Kazoo - 16 hospitality industry rewards
If your company employs shift workers, you’ll want to give it a look. These ideas address some of the biggest (yet straightforward) asks of hospitality employees, including:

  • On-the-job rewards to make shifts more enjoyable
  • Quality of life perks to help with the inconsistencies of shift work
  • Education-related rewards (with examples) that can help instill company loyalty

From waiters to cleaning crews to barbacks, employees in the hospitality industry do so much for us every day. Isn’t it time we turn the tables and return the favor?

By adding these ideas to your employee reward program, you can create just the shift you need.

About Kazoo:
Kazoo is a SaaS HR technology platform that redefines the way companies engage with their employees. By providing tools to connect, reward, reveal and report in real-time, Kazoo can consolidate employee engagement initiatives into one, easy-to-use mobile platform for teams of all sizes. Since launching in 2012, Kazoo has delivered its flexible software to small enterprises and Fortune 500 brands across several industries. Visit for more information or schedule a quick demo here.

In my post a few weeks ago I recapped the sessions at the Executive Forum that focused on engagement. The discussions I had at the event furthered my thinking that there are a few interesting ways the staffing industry (including firms, MSPs and RPO providers) can leverage a technology platform to engage and develop their employees and the workers they place.

Overhaul the internal employee review process in the staffing industry

When I asked people how their firms manage performance reviews internally, I was met with an outcry of distain for the process. Your sales and recruiting teams are being measured by the new business won and the requisitions placed. That is happening day in and day out. Instead of force- fitting into a tired once-a-year review cycle, give your managers easy to use, mobile-friendly coaching tools. Let your staff set agile quarterly goals that align with greater business objectives. Managers can quickly check-in with their teams to track goal progress or have a skills discussion. Throw the traditional annual review out the window and alternatively, use the record of the coaching conversations as a year in review and forward-looking discussion.

Build a stronger workplace culture through social recognition & rewards

Trying to compete in the war for talent requires building strong company cultures and brands. Many staffing firms have disparate workforces with multiple branches and mergers and acquisitions are not uncommon. With a powerful social platform where employees can recognize one another for their accomplishments, you can align teams to the overall mission, vision and values of your business. Integrate it with your CRM and recruitment tools so that new wins and placements automatically appear in the feed, building a stronger sense of team unity. You can also automate your existing rewards programs or modify them to incorporate regionally based experience awards or wellness programs.

Capture employee, worker and client sentiment more frequently

Most staffing firms conduct some sort of an annual employee survey to get an understanding of the overall sentiment and examine more granular data to make workplace decisions. Today’s workplace is moving at a rapid clip, making the annual survey less valid and effective. Using more frequent pulse surveys to listen to the voice of the employee on a more frequent cadence is powerful. It gives you the ability to monitor the overall health of your organization trending over time and find inefficiencies, roadblocks and blind spots before they happen. Guarantee anonymity to give your employees the security to make their voice heard, which gives you access to totally candid, genuine feedback. Not only can you do this with your own organization, but consider including your worker populations and customers as a way to compare feedback from your clients with how the people you place feel about the assignments.

Go a step further and gather external feedback

There was a lot of talk about public reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and Yelp having an impact on the company brand and recruiting efforts. I got the impression that most firms are passively monitoring these channels. But, what if you could encourage your happy clients, workers and employees to provide feedback to you during the course of day-to-day operations? Include a branded call to action button in your team’s email signatures that asks, “How am I doing?” You could gather all of that feedback and share the positive comments on the public sites of your choice (through an integration) and quickly address the constructive criticisms behind the scenes. Propel your business forward with “people” Data And, most importantly, executive teams can get unprecedented insights into their workforce. A people platform can bring together a history of your employee and manager interactions and merge that with your HRIS data. This gives you an opportunity to have a real dialog with your data, to build a highly valuable (almost priceless) repository about what your people are doing, their history and experiences at work and how they progress in their careers. This can be used to address specific business problems, such as how to improve sales productivity, increase the leadership pipeline and improve employee and customer retention.

In closing, staffing firms face a unique challenge in engaging not only its employees but also the workers they place. However it’s possible to build a high-performing organizational culture cultivated by real-time, continuous feedback and engagement.