Team incentives: definition, types & examples

Samantha Mikos

Individuals that make your organization grow deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their work and success. Team incentives are an important method to this madness. Whether used as a preemptive form of encouragement or as a mode to inspire team members to excel beyond their potential, incentives can help drive brand growth.

Team Incentives can be put in place to encourage and secure the future of the business by celebrating wins, big and small.

work event employees happy hour

What are team incentives? Meaning

Team incentives are a form of recognition that rewards employees for a particular result. Whether it be a sales bonus structure or year-end awards for achieving annual goals, incentives help drive brand growth by keeping your team motivated.

Why incentivize your employees? Benefits

Incentives are a great way to secure the future of your business. They help boost the performance of your team overall, and they create a great backbone for the culture of your organization. In the ever-evolving workforce, it’s important to get creative with incentives to attract individuals that can achieve the results you need.

Boost of Productivity

Not everyone needs a form of recognition to boost productivity, but with team incentives, the entire company can be involved in a positive reinforcement for their work efforts. This way, everyone is included and can work towards better performance. Additionally, this helps drive responsibility and ownership for individual and team goals, encouraging each employee to take part in achieving goals.

group of people brainstorming for the optimal incentives for teams

Retains Top Talent

It can be difficult and stressful to manage employee turnover. To keep top performers engaged and motivated, incentives help retain top talent.

The individuals that are going to work hard to achieve your goals are the ones you want to keep around for the long haul. To encourage this type of talent pool, team incentives attract the key players for any organization.

Increase in Motivation

Motivation can vary from person to person. Not everyone is driven by the same thing. Some employees find that their salary is enough to keep them progressing in their careers, while others are driven by verbal appreciation and professional growth.

No matter the motivation, each employee can work towards their potential when given the opportunity and the proper incentives. These forms of employee recognition programs can encourage endless amounts of motivation.

Builds a Healthy Company Culture

Team incentives help create a positive work culture by bringing the entire company together through communal efforts and goals. You can structure an incentive program by department or even peer-to-peer, but either way, the potential reward entices a team to work together to achieve results.

By recognizing your team for their work, employees feel appreciated. This generates a cycle of performance that any organization would desire.

What are possible team incentives? Examples & ideas

Team incentives can come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you have an organization that runs on a tight revenue cycle or a company that values culture above all else, the opportunities to implement an incentive plan are vast and bountiful.


Gifts are a great way to incentivize your team. When you set up a team incentive structure around gifts, you do not need to go far for inspiration. From custom, company branded luggage tags or yeti mugs to books and gift cards, the possibilities are endless.

If this is your method of choice, focus on gifts that tie in with your company culture while also providing a value-added tangible reward. This may be a gym membership or a home pretzel-making kit, but either way, the employees will appreciate it more if it comes from the heart of the organization.

Bonus payment

One of the more popular methods of incentivizing, bonus payouts tend to be an easy choice when deciding how to structure your incentive plan. All employees will appreciate the monetary addition to their paycheck, and the structure can be linked to some of the more important company goals.

A bonus does not have to be year-end, nor does it have to have a fixed value set. This can be shaped and evolved depending on the result you wish to achieve, especially if it is based on annual sales.


Team incentives are oftentimes associated with year-end results. There is no better way to honor all the hard work that has been achieved over the year than with awards that celebrate the monumental achievements of individuals or teams.

Make it a functional award like a puzzle or magnetic frame, where team members can add to it year over year. Incorporate branding and design high-end recognition pieces that make your company shine.

employee award trophy on desk

Profit Sharing

A profit-sharing incentive can be structured in many ways. Usually tied to meeting revenue goals, profit sharing can come in the form of a contribution to an employee’s retirement program or as a direct payment.

Employees enjoy this opportunity for incentives for many reasons, but the personal financial gains give employees the support they may need. This type of incentive cultivates a culture of progress and positive reinforcement.

Best practices for a team incentive program

When identifying the perfect incentive plan for your team, there are some best practices to live by. Not every company is made equal, but overall, employees should be considered and treated with the same level of care, no matter where they work.

Make it Inclusive for All

It is of the utmost importance to include the entire team in your reward system. This might be the most vital factor to consider in your incentive plan. You do not want to leave key members out of the chance to excel beyond expectations. Additionally, you cannot go wrong when everyone is included. As a team, everyone will work together to achieve goals and to guarantee that they are not the ones to slow the company’s growth down.

inclusive work team

Tie it to Company Goals

When you want to achieve company goals, the best way to ensure results is to attach an incentive to each. Whether that is a bonus structure, or an internal awards program which highlights and recognizes the individuals or teams that achieve the highest results, using this as a component to your incentive plan will not fail.

Encourage Small and Big Wins

Incentive plans encourage all wins across the board, big and small. It is important to celebrate wins on any scale because not all departments can be tied directly to the same goals. An Accounting Department may have a few small wins to achieve over the course of the year while a Sales or Marketing Department can be linked directly to yearly revenue goals.

Incorporate Company Culture

Culture can be considered the soul of a company. This facet of a workplace is vital when creating an incentive plan. Employees associate company culture with their work, and therefore, you cannot go wrong when you incorporate elements of it into your reward system.

There are many ways to include this in team incentive plans. Try including branded PMS coloring in your awards or create a recognition design based on your logo or mascot. No matter how you include these elements, your team will appreciate that the business takes company culture seriously and tries to reinforce those values in all components of a business.

champion award on wood base

Team incentives: conclusion

Team incentives are a vital part of any company culture. They create the motivation needed to drive brand growth by boosting performance and retaining key performers. Encourage your team to achieve the results you want by bringing a value-added reward system to your organization.

Contact Cristaux to design your incentive program today.

FAQs: team incentives

You may have some questions that need answers, so we’ve provided information on frequent questions from people like you. If you can’t find what you’re looking for below, visit our FAQ page or contact our team.

What are some examples of group incentives?

Group incentives can vary depending on the organization, but oftentimes, companies will choose a bonus or profit sharing as the main incentive. Also, group incentives can come as a gift card, custom awards, or personalized gifts.

How do you motivate the sales team with incentives?

Sales team incentives are often tied to revenue goals, but you can also incorporate a President’s Club or Sales Award program that gifts top performers with an award that mirrors their efforts.

What are companies with good incentive programs?

Companies that have good incentive programs tend to have lower turnover and overall healthier workplace culture. This is because with incentive programs, employees will feel their efforts are seen and appreciated.