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Incentives To Motivate Your Employees

Incentives To Motivate Your Employees

As a retailer, you have employees. But do your employees consider themselves to be players on your team? Are they proud and eager to go to bat for your store every chance they get?

If you’ve owned and managed a retail store for any length of time, then you’ve experienced first-hand the difference between a sales person who loves to connect customers with the products that best fit their needs, and an employee who has resigned themselves to being mentally checked out until they literally clock out. Every time you hire a new employee, you’re hoping and trusting that they’re going to perform like the former, and not the latter. Why?

We don’t have to tell you that motivated employees who are passionate about being on your sales team are the greatest asset your retail store can acquire. These advocates boost sales, keep staff morale high, and contribute to a positive, energetic work environment that can motivate others on the team to step up their game, enter into a little healthy competition, and make things really interesting on a day-to-day basis at the store.

What if you could do more than find and hire these kinds of motivated, team players to represent your store as strong brand advocates every time they set foot on the sales floor at the top of their shifts?

What if you could create this type of employee, no matter who you hired?

In this Loyal~n~Save article, we’ll walk you through how to implement powerful, cost-effective incentives that will successfully motivate your employees to advocate your brand with enthusiasm, which will result in increased revenue for your business.

First things first, satisfied employees perform better, period.

Okay, we shouldn’t conclude just yet. Scratch that “period”…

…and let’s elaborate. If your employees aren’t happy at your company or with their position, or worse, both, then you aren’t going to get much out of them. When your staff feels satisfied, their work performance will be positive and productive, and their attitudes will match. Depending on the nature of an employee’s responsibilities, your effort to set them up for success–rather than failure–could involve myriad elements. However, the general rule to stimulate your staff, and keep them engaged and satisfied is to provide them with challenges they can overcome.

Give them an impossible challenge and you will frustrate them into either quitting, withdrawing, or resenting you. When a person experiences that they will not win, they will not play.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you provide a flimsy “challenge” that a person can beat without much effort, then you will actually de-motivate them and they will put less and less personal passion into their efforts until they have no passion at all.

What does this mean? Your job as the employer is to strike an appropriate balance. Offer your staff challenges that are difficult, yet attainable to overcome. When an employee experiences the success of overcoming a challenge that was just hard enough to make them sweat but not so hard that it exhausted them before they collapsed, they will feel an intense–and addictive!–sense of reward. You see, the pride that comes with overcoming the challenge is its own reward in the heart of your employees, and anything else you reward them with beyond that is, as they say, gravy.

Let’s bear that in mind as the general rule of thumb…

The next aspect to bear in mind before you even devise the particulars of your tangible incentives must be the results you want for your business. Yes, you want to increase your revenue. That’s a given. But what metrics do you actually want to improve?

Don’t hurt yourself. We’ll just tell you. You want to improve brand exposure & awareness, website and/or in-store customer traffic, loyalty program membership enrollment, social media following & engagement, and company clout within your industry.

Seems like a pretty tall order, but if you grow your business across these metrics, there’s no way your revenue won’t increase. Think your employees can’t lead the charge in terms of growing your business for you in these areas? Think again. Get your pen and notepad. Here’s how you’re going to do it.


What do you appreciate more, an item that was given to you or an item you earned? What do you value more, an opportunity that was handed to you or one you fought for and won by proving yourself to be a worthy recipient? People appreciate, value, and cherish the things they have to earn, because in order to earn that thing the person first had to decide they want it and commit to attaining it. Your employees are no different. For this reason, you’ll want to implement a store-wide challenge that invites your ambitious staff to earn a brand ambassador status at your company.

Necessity is the mother of invention. You can challenge your employees to earn their way into a position of advocating for your brand by inviting them to invent their own strategy of doing so. Pose the following challenge to your staff: how can you get the word out about our company?

Build into the challenge the clear-cut reward your employees will receive if they “win”. In this case, their reward will be to join the inner circle of brand advocates at your store.

This open-ended incentive will be exciting to your staff. Why? Because each member of your staff has their own set of personal passions, hobbies, skills, and talents. Molly might be a prolific playwright on the side and eager to shine within your company by writing sales scripts for the sales team, for example. Joseph might be a whizz at navigating app technology and eager to take charge of offering hands-on help to in-store customers who wouldn’t otherwise sign-up for and use your loyalty rewards program app. The point here is that by extending an open invitation for each member of your staff to apply their personal talents to expand your brand reach, you’ll excite your staff into going above and beyond their original job description. Every time your employees go that extra mile within the company and/or as they interact directly with customers, the customers’ perception of your brand will improve, causing a positive and profitable ripple effect throughout your corner of the industry.


The tried-and-true set of sales incentive tactics revolve around tangible rewards that you know your employees want to earn. We aren’t reinventing the wheel here. For decades, dangling a reward-carrot such as offering tickets to concerts or sporting events, fine dining experiences, vacation travel vouchers, and even business-centric opportunities like online professional development courses that equip employees with additional skills are all highly desired.

These types of monetary incentives are typically implemented and associated with boosting sales–website and in-store. You’re probably familiar with them and their common name SPIFs, which is short for Sales Performance Incentive Funds. However, you might also be hesitant to implement SPIFs for fear that in the long run, they may not be cost effective. After all, can Kelly really ever sell enough jeans to justify an all-expenses-paid trip to Bali? Maybe… but probably not.

So what’s a cost-effective alternative that will motivate Kelly just as much as the chance to lounge poolside with unlimited access to mojitos? What you want is to create a non-cash incentive that’s pretty darn attractive…

Holiday time-off preference priority can be a huge motivator. For anyone who’s worked retail during the holidays, getting any ole day off isn’t enough. If an employee comes from a family that celebrates the Christmas holiday, for example, on Christmas Eve, then having Christmas Day off isn’t going to make them happy. They want the evening prior off so that they can celebrate the holiday comfortably with loved ones. For others, Superbowl Sunday might be their “Christmas”, or the Presidential Election Voting Day might be the only day they want for themselves all year, never mind a week off throughout New Years–in their mind, who cares? Making them work on Election Day has always put a crimp in their mood.

Set up a sales challenge to drive website and in-store customer traffic so that the reward is that the “winner” gets to pick their day off for the next upcoming holiday. This is a great incentive, because it won’t cost you a dime to move Jerry’s day off from a Tuesday to a Thursday so that he can have a great Thanksgiving with his family. When the reward you’re offering benefits not only your employee, but their entire family and holiday experience, they will work all the harder to win.

Now that you have the reward set up, be sure to make the sales quota a reasonable challenge that’s difficult but not impossible to win. Give your sales staff ideas in terms of using social media and their personal social reach to draw in even more customers. And keep the compliments and encouragement coming throughout the challenge period.


This is the bread-and-butter of your business success–the meat-and-potatoes, the crème de la crème… You get the point. The whole reason you have a customer loyalty rewards program in place at your store is because you did the research and know that 80% of your store’s revenue comes from 20% of your shoppers–those loyal customers who habitually choose your brand over the competition. To maximize the loyal shopping habits and frequency of your customers, you know you need to enroll as many of them as you can into your loyalty program.

And you also know that your employees are the frontline tactical force to get this job done…

But are they getting the job done? Are they enrolling customers? Have you given them a reason to? What incentives have you provided to motivate them to continually enroll new members?

We’re going to be frank with you, not all loyalty programs offer the chance for your employees to create, build, and manage “teams” with the immediate reward of allocating points to the employee’s account every time they add a new member. However, this is what Loyal~n~Save is all about. Our loyalty rewards program benefits the employee every time they enroll a new member, so your biggest challenge is making sure that your employees understand that this incentive exists. Once they do, they will be naturally motivated to sign-up in-store customers and also encourage their friends, family, and social circles to enroll as part of their “team”.

There’s really no downside with Loyal~n~Save, and because our platform is fully developed into a user-friendly app, there’s no need for plastic membership cards. This makes our “contactless system” ideal for keeping up with the world’s current effort to do-away with touch-technology that spreads germs and viruses. When customers use our app, the only thing they have to touch is their own cell phone.


Social media platforms offer perhaps the greatest “reach” in terms of connecting your brand with potential customers that might not have otherwise known about your store. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and the rest provide you with instant access to the people who could and will matter most to the growth of your business. But even more importantly, these platforms offer users one of the fastest ways to find you. This means that you want to be as discoverable as possible on social media and implement effective social media marketing strategies that will point users to your website, retail store, and best of all, the ecommerce button that’s right there on the social media app.

While you’re probably acutely aware of the need for social media marketing, you might not be aware of the collective, digital footprint that your employees, as a group, have on these platforms. Getting your employees involved in promoting your brand on their personal social media accounts is a growing strategy that businesses are finding immense success with.

In our research for this article, we came across some compelling stats:

  • Your employees have an average of 1,090 social connections on social media and this reach is constantly growing
  • Employees have 5 times more reach than the corporate social media accounts they work for
  • The social media followers of your employees are 7 times more likely to follow your brand if your employees recommend you

So, how can you turn your employees into ambassadors of your brand on social media? Firstly, it’s important to make your company’s social media policies known to your employees. Psychologically speaking, the default assumption that employees have is that it’s wise not to interact with their employer’s social media brand for fear of punitive repercussions. Give them the benefit of the doubt. A healthy sense of caution truly is wise these days, especially if Janice has been in the annual habit of winning drinking contests in Mexico for the past ten years straight… and the social media proof is waaaay too exciting. Why would she tag her employer in an innocent post about your company’s latest product if there’s a chance HR could dig into her personal account and get a graphic visual of her south-of-the-border adventure from last summer?

You can invite your employees to promote your brand’s handle, products, services, and trending hashtags by first eliminating the stress that they’ll somehow get in trouble for it. Whatever the rules are, make them clear. And then make the incentive reward for posting about your brand on social media clear, too. What will the reward be for tagging your handle, for reposting or sharing your store’s latest promotion, and for posting photos of your brand’s products?

If you have a loyalty rewards program in place, you can weave the rewards into it on the employee side so that Janice receives points for reTweeting your brand’s latest promotion… and keeping her additional comment about it PG!


This final business objective of offering a specific employee incentive that will lead to elevating your brand’s clout within your industry is admittedly not its own tactic, but rather the result of implementing the four tactics we’ve already discussed. Wink, wink–we’re sneaky like that!

The fact of the matter is that your brand’s clout, otherwise known as your brand’s ability to influence others based on your positive and successful industry-wide reputation, will develop naturally over time.

The greater your digital footprint grows, however, the more likely you’ll develop clout, and you need your employees for that digital development. Remember, the greatest asset at your company are your employees. Keep them satisfied to keep them motivated, and make sure that no matter what an individual’s skill level is, they feel like they’re “winning” whenever they work for you!


  • Employee Incentives Tactics

Posted on Oct 20, 2020


Danielle Dixon

Danielle is a content writer at Loyal-n-Save. She specializes in writing about implementing loyalty solutions proven to help a company grow.

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