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How to reward employees with four popular incentives

Picture of Yvonne Lewandowksi
Yvonne Lewandowksi
Written on the 18 November 2019

It’s often been said that money makes the world go around, but is this always the case in the workplace? A pay rise or a bonus is guaranteed to go some way to increasing employee satisfaction, but what other initiatives or incentives can you promote to reward and recognise your employees?


A recent study by Seek, interviewing more than 4800 employees found that 59% of Australians chose flexible workplace arrangements as the most appealing incentive. Extra superannuation and unlimited leave rounded out the top three in the study. However, with financial constraints limiting many organisations, professional development and wellness incentives also featured highly as the most appealing perks companies can offer employees.

A good approach to keeping employees engaged is to be open and transparent about what the organisation can offer, and to discuss with individuals the most meaningful way they can be rewarded outside of a pay rise. It is also important to be able to offer a range of incentives as employees’ needs could be different depending on their age, lifestyle, commitments and where they are in their career. These conversations, as well as tailoring incentives, further develop the relationship between leader and employee, leading to increased engagement and trust. Every employee wants to be recognised for the contribution they make, finding out how is the key.


We’ve listed our top four employee incentives and some excellent examples of how Australian companies are implementing them.

1. Flexible workplace arrangements

The way we work, and how we want to work, has transformed in the last few years so it comes as no surprise that flexible workplace arrangements was the most desired employee perk. Organisations that include practiced flexibility within their benefits packages have experienced increased levels of engagement and productivity, as well as a decrease in absenteeism and employee turnover.

Australian employer PwC implemented a total flexibility initiative for employees in 2015. ‘All roles flex’ is based on the premise that it’s not where you are that matters but what you do. As a result, an inclusive culture where employees can realise their full potential has flourished.

Vodafone has an ongoing commitment to flexibility and were recognised as an Employer of Choice for some excellent initiatives, including offering vacation care at their Head Office in Sydney during school holidays, to allow parents the flexibility of using their leave throughout the year, rather than just during school holidays.


2. Meaningful work and growth opportunities

Making work meaningful and opportunities for development were some of the standout results of the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report for employee experience. Eight-four per cent of respondents rated this issue as important and it’s not hard to understand why, when MIT research revealed that employees who are highly satisfied with their work experience are twice as innovative, double customer satisfaction and these organisations have 25% higher profits than workplaces with a low employee experience.

The Commonwealth Bank has launched their Innovation Lab, which encourages effective leadership, provides growth opportunities for workers and is a place where employees can brainstorm concepts and share new and innovative ideas. The result is a more meaningful and purposeful employee experience, along with providing the additional business benefits of employees being able to see how their solutions solve real business issues.


3. Professional development

Professional development ranked fourth in the Seek survey, and that’s no wonder with the millennial workforce regarding investment in their career and skills advancement as highly desirable. The LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report discovered that 93% of employees would remain in their role longer if the organisation had invested in their development.

Citadel Group implemented a Future Leaders Program, which was developed ‘by staff, for staff’ and provides leadership and other developmental pathways for its employees. This investment in professional development has grown the capabilities of the organisation and ensured employees’ ideas are heard and career pathways are established. Employees across all age spectrums have a desire for growth, want to make a meaningful contribution, and are increasingly looking to develop, and in some cases re-develop their skill sets ahead of the advancement of Artificial Intelligence, automation and robotics. Organisations who provide these opportunities will see the benefits not only through improved employee engagement but better business outcomes.


4. Wellness Incentives

An Australian Government survey discovered that the healthiest employees are three times more effective than the least healthy, with the healthiest working approximately more than 90 effective hours per month. With figures like this, it is more important than ever for organisations to incorporate wellness incentives to support their employees’ overall mental and physical health.

Deloitte recognised this and has implemented Wellness at Deloitte, which promotes a holistic approach to supporting their people’s potential both professionally and personally. Employees’ overall wellness, not just the physical aspects, are supported with activities that include mental health awareness training, a national ‘Step Up’ challenge, free fitness classes and fresh fruit and healthy snack options.


Workplace incentives and programs have transformed in the past decade and at times can be more valuable than a pay rise. Plus, many incentives provide a more motivated, engaged and healthier workforce.

If you would like to discuss how any of these incentives can support your workplace, please contact us for more information.

Picture of Yvonne Lewandowksi

Yvonne Lewandowksi

Yvonne Lewandowksi leads the People Experience Advisory practice at Meritos and has more than 20 years extensive experience in human resources. If you're interested in connecting with Yvonne, you can find her on LinkedIn here. You can also reach her via email at [email protected]
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Questions to ask to help you understand a candidate:

1. Describe your ideal working environment.

2. What do you enjoy about your current workplace?

3. How does a manager get the best out of you?

4. Describe the best team that you’ve ever worked in.

The reasons why I ask these questions:

1. Reason

2. Reason

3. Reason

4. Reason

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