From bring your pet to work days and time off to volunteer, to shares in the business and relocation assistance – employers are becoming increasingly creative when it comes to employee incentives that will help entice top talent to sign on the dotted line.

ANZ staff may have their annual bonuses cut if they fail to spend at least 50 per cent of their scheduled working hours in the office. Conversely, companies like Airbnb offer all employees an annual travel credit to use around the world, enabling them to work from anywhere.

In this evolving landscape, employers seem to be tightening up on Work from Home (WFH) policies while simultaneously providing a range of incentives to lure and retain employees. In a tight labour market, I believe employers have a significant role to play in building a strong, dedicated team and sustaining employee engagement and motivation.

A great way to attract top talent is to provide incentives. Everyone loves perks. Tailoring the benefits on offer to the candidates you are targeting for the position helps your organisation and the role stand out from the rest.

Incentives have traditionally taken forms such as bonuses, study reimbursement, extra time off, and additional flexibility in work arrangements. But not every candidate is motivated solely by cash. Employers are now starting to think outside the box when it comes to the type of incentives they should be offering.

Some of the more recent things I’ve heard employers offer include shares in the business, visa sponsorship, and even beer on tap in the breakout area. ‘Summer Fridays’, granting half days off for six Fridays during the sunny summer months, is also a highly sought-after employee perk.

Whether you’ve found the right candidate and want to ensure they accept the position, or you need to lure the best talent, offering attractive incentives can help you stand out in a crowd.

It’s a lot easier for a business to commit to a one-time bonus over an above-average salary. However, incentives should suit the desires and personal styles of your staff and align with company values. Bring your pet to work days and gym memberships are also becoming more common as more people seek mental health support and wellness incentives.

Today’s employees want more than just a pay cheque; they want to feel like they’re helping to make the world a better place. Effective recognition programs, such as giving employees time off to volunteer with certain charities or matching their charitable donations, are newer incentives that are proving popular.

Birthday leave days and childcare subsidies are also highly valued. From a professional development perspective, corporate career coaching from an external coach is another incentive I think will be highly sought after in the professional services sector.

Finally, there are points-based recognition systems that allow employees to accrue points they can later redeem for a reward of their choice, like a trip to the spa or purchasing the latest tech gadgets. While this incentive isn’t new, it remains highly popular.

If we don’t have a motivated and happy team, it doesn’t matter how well-conceived our business strategy is; it won’t be implemented properly. Offering incentives from the start of someone’s career journey with a company can make it easier to not only attract them but to keep them.