Incentives and fringe benefits for employee motivation: Small signals, big impact


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The current situation in the pandemic represents Company different sectors face major challenges. These are particularly noticeable in personnel planning.

Incentives and fringe benefits for employee motivation: Small signals, big impact

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Marco Ebeling is an online editor with a focus on careers and HR topics.

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Motivate employees in the pandemic

Because if quarantine is ordered for some employees because they were contact persons to people who tested positive or even tested positive for Covid-19 themselves, they will be unable to work for some time.

The remaining team has to swap services or work overtime in order to incorporate the lost contingent. In addition, often well-rehearsed teams can no longer work together and the hygiene regulations sometimes mean great restrictions in everyday work that are perceived as a burden. For HR departments and company management, the question arises as to how they manage to keep their team in line and to motivate them.

Not just care and retail affected

In the media there is repeatedly talk of the high levels of stress on nursing staff and retailers during this time. It goes without saying that representatives of these professional groups are at the forefront, expose themselves to risks and, due to changed working conditions, are sometimes more challenged than before.

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In many Company Inevitably, longer working days or vacation bans were also issued. Factors that logically gnaw at team motivation. Not only retail and nursing are affected, but also many other industries. Working in the home office is not always pleasant for everyone. Because contact with other colleagues and the distance from home is often important for psychological well-being.

Incentives as a sign of appreciation

In addition to financial remuneration for working hours or bonuses for special services, companies also have other options for showing their employees appreciation. So-called Fringe benefits are particularly popular and also widespread, - These include vouchers such as meal vouchers or fuel vouchers.

The individual employees often receive monthly fuel vouchers for a certain amount in order to reduce commuting costs or an additional payment in the form of vouchers for the company canteen or restaurants in the vicinity of the company location.

Special services for the team

Especially at Christmas time, many HR managers decide to give the team a special performance. So get through this Christmas gifts employees support at the same time, but also motivate, without having to offer a salary increase or a specific bonus. It is important, however, that the recipients of the benefits in kind actually recognize the value as such. In order for this to be the case, it should be payments in kind that the employees really want to consume.

With food and fuel vouchers, however, it is often not enough. Because many prefer to take their own lunch from home or even don't own a car. Accordingly, prepaid cards are particularly practical, the purpose of which is not fixed, but which can be used to pay for numerous services and purchases. Be it a yoga class or grocery shopping.

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Incentives as a competitive advantage

In the past few months, many people have reached their limits or even exceeded their limits. Quite a few of course question their employment in such a phase and consider whether the grass on the other bank isn't a little greener. There is currently fierce competition for skilled workers, especially in key sectors. But HR managers know that financial remuneration is not the only factor why employees choose a company or why they stay with it for the long term. Employee management and the working atmosphere play a major role.

Small extras that employees receive can play a major role and provide an additional incentive to remain loyal to their employer. The psychological aspect of reciprocity should not be underestimated. Psychologists and behavioral researchers use this to describe a peculiarity in human beings who are always looking for a balance between performance. If we are given a gift, we feel more obliged to give something back. Many are familiar with this from stalls in shopping centers, where they are offered free samples and then can no longer avoid buying something. A similar dynamic also takes place in the employment relationship. If the employer gives the employees an extra service that they are not actually obliged to do, many of them feel subconsciously obliged to give something back. Be it in the form of increased performance, greater reliability or loyalty.

Benefits in kind as an alternative to salary increases

Another field of application in which benefits are used instead of financial services are Salary discussions. Because depending on which income class the employee is already in, a salary jump can even lead to net losses.

The gross amount is increased, but due to the higher tax bracket in which the person concerned then rises, he receives less net payout. In order to avoid this problem, tax-free benefits are often used. Instead of a salary increase, a payment in kind of a certain value is agreed. Gifts for personal occasions (e.g. birthday, wedding, etc.) may be paid out tax-free up to 60 euros gross. In the case of one-off payments as a Christmas present, you can even make use of the tax exemption of up to 110 euros at the Christmas event.

Incentives for employees are more important than ever today

The past few months have been a great challenge for many employees regardless of the industry. In any case, changes due to the corona measures and corresponding regulations for business and society were the order of the day. Nursing professions in particular and also retailers often had to go to their limits and provide additional services.

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Companies would therefore do well to ensure that employees are motivated to keep it going. These little extras contribute positively to the working atmosphere, but also have psychological effects on employee loyalty and loyalty, so that it is easier to keep skilled workers and not to lose them, especially when they are needed most.


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