Family-friendly employee incentives

It can be hard for employees to feel valued if they feel unable to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Corporate Rewards explain the ways you can offer employee incentives while avoiding the danger of them feeling separated from family by employment.

What are employee incentives?

Employee incentives are rewards, usually associated with sales targets and promotional events. They are used to motivate staff to work towards a goal by offering a reward to either individuals or entire teams based on performance.

The rewards can take a number of forms, from vouchers, to iPads, gig tickets and even trips abroad. They often focus purely on teams however some rewards can really help staff to enjoy time with their families.

Involve the whole family

While individual incentive rewards can make employees feel valued, parents of today can often find themselves too distracted by family obligations to find any real value in them.

Employers can help avoid this by offering family-inclusive rewards. Free entry at a local zoo or a family cinema pass are perfect options that the family can fit around their schedule.

An alternative way to approach incentives is to offer cinema vouchers or free entry as smaller incentives, while offering something larger as a reward for a sales incentive based competition. A day or weekend at a theme park, with VIP access, will leave the whole family feeling valued by your company, while allowing them to relax away from the stresses of work.

Avoid purely financial rewards

While it may seem like an annual bonus injected directly into your employee’s pay packet will leave them feeling rewarded, financial incentives no longer hold the same lustre they once might have. A short-term cash injection will likely find itself absorbed by the general day-to-day expenditure of a household. This is especially the case when it comes to families who are handling the extra expense of raising children.

Incentives such as the family trips mentioned above are more personalised, thoughtful and rewarding. You could also consider some form of internal reward catalogue for your staff to choose from. By offering a wide variety of incentives, your staff feel motivated to work towards the choices that they would prefer, and they are more likely to appreciate it once they’ve earned their chosen incentive.

Show your employees their time is valuable to you

It is important that staff don’t feel as though they are somehow “lesser” in the company due to the obligations they must meet by virtue of being parents. To put across your company’s engagement with its workforce, demonstrate some understanding of the commitments that parents in your employment have.

A Modern Families Index study, published in 2013, found that 49% of households have both parents working, which means these families will often be forced to rely on babysitters during some periods. Couple that statistic with their finding that most parental annual leave is used to cover childcare, and the suggestion is that parents have little option other than to take annual leave around school half-terms whenever a sitter isn’t available, or to cover last-minute sickness. This can leave staff feeling “locked in” and having no flexibility with their free time.

Balancing the stresses of work and life in this manner is likely to leave staff burned out, especially given the MFI’s final finding that parents feel ashamed of the additional burden parenthood can be, leaving them feeling obligated to work up to an additional ten hours per week outside of contracted hours, adding up to a staggering extra 74 days per year. Ease up some of the stress your staff are going through by taking advantage of seasonal events.

If you know some staff handle childcare over Easter half term, schedule an incentive family day out for that period so your staff still feel rewarded, while keeping the family together and enjoying themselves.

Giving due consideration to an employee’s family when rewarding and incentivising their performance is a simple way to leave your staff content in the workplace, and motivated for further success.

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