5 Corporate Incentives That Can Drastically Improve Company Culture

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.

SkipResearch from TINYpulse tells us that 64 percent of employees do not feel their businesses have strong cultures. These weak cultures are driving down morale, motivation, and engagement, ultimately leading to lower productivity. This means most employers should be taking some sort of corrective action to manage and improve their company cultures. While you’ll never be able to completely control culture from the top down, you can and should take measures to influence the culture and lead it in a good direction.

So, what can you do to improve such an intangible thing as your company’s culture? Here are five incentives to help you encourage the right kind of behaviors in your organization.

1. Introduce an Award for the Best Failed Idea to Combat a Blame Culture

If a culture of blame gets a stranglehold on your business, it can stifle creativity, initiative, and creative thinking, all of which are vital for knowledge-intensive workers to succeed. When workers are afraid to fail, they follow the beaten path, instead of taking the sort of risk that lead to major rewards.

One way to remove the fear of failure is to follow the lead of companies like Intuit and Tata, who embrace failure as part of their cultures. Tata actually gives out an award for the best failed idea. By celebrating failure and viewing it as an invaluable development opportunity, you can begin to neutralize a blame culture, in which those who fail are punished severely.

2. Be Sure to Celebrate Successful Ideas, Too

If you only give out awards for failure, you may inadvertently create a culture of mediocrity. You want to incentivize successful innovation just as much as — if not more than — you incentivize attempts at successful innovation.

So, alongside the award for best failed idea, introduce one for best successful idea. Attach a bigger prize to the best successful idea award to ensure that staff are inspired not only to take risks, but also to aim for successful, meaningful, and substantial innovations.

3. Improve Collaboration by Giving Out Teamwork Awards

Competition planein the workplace can be beneficial as a motivator. Unchecked, out-of-control competition, however, can lead to high-stress environments that encourage excessive individualism, gamesmanship, bullying, harassment, and worse.

You want people in the company to support one another in times of need and share vital knowledge and information. In a collaborative culture, productivity and engagement are boosted tremendously.

If you notice your employees are a little too competitive with one another, consider complementing individual commissions and bonuses with team bonuses. This will encourage people to work together and collaborate more in order to achieve great things — and earn some extra cash.

4. Encourage Learning With a Most-Improve Employee Award

Is your workforce slow to adopt new practices and tools? Is that holding your business back? Encourage your staff to constantly focus on professional development by introducing a most-improved employee award. This will encourage staff members to seek out learning opportunities and strive for continual progress.

5. A Best Productivity App Award Can Push Employees to Work Smarter

Good, honest hard work is admirable, but it’s not always enough on its own to produce optimal business results. If people are working in inefficient ways, it doesn’t matter how much effort they put in. The business won’t reach it’s full potential.

To encourage smarter working, you can hand out awards to the employees who find the best productivity apps and tools and bring them back to their teams. By recognizing employees who contribute new tools to the workplace, you can facilitate significant increases in productivity.


Culture can be hard to control, but it can be definitely be influenced. Incentivize the right behaviors, and it will only be a matter of time before you see massive, positive shifts in your organization’s culture.

Read more in Organizational Culture

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.