The labor market in 2024 is exceptionally competitive, particularly in residential and commercial service industries such as lawn care, plumbing, pest control, HVAC, contractor and more. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the unemployment rate has consistently been below 4% for over two years, hitting 3.8% as of March 2024. This low unemployment rate is indicative of a tight labor market where demand for workers often outstrips supply, making it easier for employees to switch jobs for marginally better offers.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) also reports substantial job growth, with the economy adding an average of 276,000 jobs per month over the past quarter, further intensifying competition for skilled workers. Additionally, the overall labor force participation rate remains relatively low, which underscores the scarcity of available workers compared to pre-pandemic levels. These dynamics are particularly pronounced in service industries, which often experience high turnover rates. 

For example, the BLS notes that the job openings rate has been volatile, with some states experiencing significant changes in hiring rates. The threat of losing top technicians or office staff forces companies to find alternative solutions or bodies to replace lost production. This can directly impact customer retention, too, as customer satisfaction is often tied to exceptional service by these top technicians.  

Retaining skilled and experienced employees fosters a sense of loyalty and commitment, contributing to a positive work culture and enhancing employer brand reputation, which in turn attracts top talent and ensures long-term success. 

Incentives play a pivotal role in bolstering employee retention by recognizing and rewarding valuable contributions, fostering a culture of appreciation and employee motivation among staff. Tailored incentive programs, such as bonuses, performance-based rewards, career development opportunities and flexible work arrangements, not only serve as tangible acknowledgments of employees’ efforts but also demonstrate a company’s commitment to their well-being and professional development growth. That’s why it is so important to consider the benefits of employee incentives and how these programs can bring to your employee wellbeing – and your bottom line. 

Employee Burnout & “Quiet Quitting”

The burnout struggle is real, but what’s causing it all? For one, the labor shortages many of us are experiencing simply can’t keep up with consumer demand, and now everyone has more work on their plate. “Quiet quitting” is when an employee disengages and puts in the bare minimum effort. A few reasons why “quiet quitting” may happen in home service industries like yours include:

  • Inflexible hours 
  • Physicality of the job itself 
  • Working alone on various jobs without co-workers 
  • Constant change
  • Internal and external stressors 

In a webinar about fostering employee wellness, Rentokil’s HR Business Partner, Susan Washington tells us, “There’s a gap between what an employee is willing to do and the value that they perceive the company is bringing to them. When you have this gap, a symptom is either quiet quitting or resignation.” Many workers quietly quit (or actually quit) when they feel that the company doesn’t support their needs, and for many of us, a crucial need is a work-life balance. This brings us to a solution more and more many business owners are turning to — and for very good reason. 

What Types of Employee Incentives are There? 

Employee incentive programs encompass various types, including monetary rewards like: 

  • Monetary bonuses and cash rewards
  • Referral programs and referral bonuses
  • Performance-based rewards
  • Profit-sharing
  • Non-monetary incentives such as employee recognition programs and flexible hours or work arrangements
  • Additional vacation days and travel incentives
  • Professional development stipends, skills development courses and growth opportunities
  • Career development opportunities like training and advancement pathways

These programs offer numerous benefits by not only motivating employees to achieve their best but also fostering a sense of appreciation and loyalty within the workforce – crucial criteria in building a positive company culture.. 

Research studies consistently indicate that well-designed corporate incentive programs can significantly boost job satisfaction, performance, commitment, engagement and trust in management. By aligning incentives with employees’ needs and aspirations, you can create a supportive and rewarding environment that encourages individuals to excel, strengthens their commitment to organizational goals, enhances their engagement with their work and builds trust in leadership’s ability to recognize and value their contributions, ultimately leading to improved overall performance and retention rates.

Retaining Top Talent and Keeping Employees Happy

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a survey estimating that employers spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary to properly find and train their replacement. Let’s say your technician is making $50,000 a year – it could be costing your business over $25,000 to find their replacement. Not to mention the strain it puts on the rest of your workforce and the lapse in productivity/or the number of jobs you will lose.

Retaining skilled and experienced employees contributes to a stable and cohesive workforce, ensuring continuity in operations and fostering a positive work environment. Employee loyalty enhances organizational culture, as committed employees are more likely to invest in their roles, contribute innovative ideas, and collaborate effectively with colleagues. 

Loyal employees serve as brand ambassadors, promoting a positive employer reputation that attracts top talent and strengthens the company’s competitive edge in the market. Implementing incentive programs is a proven strategy to increase employee retention by 14% to 26%. How do you know which incentive program is right for your organization? Let’s dig a little deeper. 

Top Three Monetary Incentives

1. Employee Targets

Employee targets are specific goals or objectives set by employers within the framework of effective employee incentive programs to drive performance and achieve desired outcomes. These targets serve as benchmarks for employees to strive towards, providing clarity and direction in their roles. In incentive programs, employee targets are often tied to performance metrics such as sales team quotas, project deadlines or quality standards, aligning individual efforts with organizational objectives. 

2. Team Incentives

Team incentives are rewards or bonuses offered to groups of employees based on collective achievements or performance within an organization. These incentives play a crucial role in motivating employees by fostering a sense of camaraderie, collaboration and shared success. Unlike individual incentives, which focus solely on personal performance, incentives that recognize the entire team help reinforcing the importance of working together and cooperating to achieve organizational goals. 

3. Profit-Sharing

Profit-sharing is a compensation strategy where a portion of the company’s profits is distributed among employees as a form of financial incentive, typically in addition to their regular salaries or wages. This concept serves to align the interests of employees with the success of the company, as they directly benefit from its profitability. Profit-sharing can be disbursed to employees in various ways, including contributions to retirement plans such as 401(k) accounts, cash bonuses or company stock options. Retirement plan contributions are a popular method of profit-sharing, offering employees the opportunity to save for their future while also sharing in the company’s success. 

Top Three Non-Monetary Incentives

1. Experiences

These experiences may include company-sponsored lunches at upscale restaurants, tickets to concerts or sporting events or gift cards for hotels or restaurants. Experiential incentives can be more emotionally impactful than monetary rewards, as they offer a sense of adventure, anticipation and personal fulfillment that resonates with individuals on a deeper level.

2. Wellness Benefits

Key components of wellness incentives may include access to gym facilities or fitness classes, mental health resources such as counseling services or mindfulness programs, flexible work arrangements and health insurance coverage for preventive care and treatments. By offering comprehensive wellness benefits, employers demonstrate a commitment to their employees’ holistic well-being, recognizing that a healthy workforce is essential for achieving organizational success.

3. Public Recognition

Publicly acknowledging and celebrating employees’ achievements and contributions reinforce positive behaviors, inspire others to excel and cultivate a sense of pride and belonging among the workforce. Creating a low-key culture of recognition, such as ’employee of the month’, social media shout-outs and verbal appreciation callouts in highly visible company meetings or newsletters offer effective platforms for highlighting individual accomplishments and demonstrating appreciation, which can both improve employee morale. 

Measure the Success of Your Incentive Program for Employees

Managing and retaining service workers can be challenging without the right tools in place. Technology can make all the difference in terms of implementing retention programs and tracking their effectiveness. Here are six of the ways you can leverage technology to assist in retaining your employees:

1. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Employee incentive programs are typically difficult to measure, as you only have exit interviews and anecdotal feedback to gauge what incentives might be lessening (or increasing) employee churn. Still, there are wide variety of methods you can consider implementing when measuring the success of your employee incentive program:

  • Ongoing communication between managers, team leaders and employees – Facilitates the alignment of individual and organizational goals and ensures clarity of job responsibilities and employee performance expectations.
  • Open, anonymous employee surveys – Enables a company to gain true, unfiltered feedback from employees regarding the value of employee incentive programs and employee preferences going forward. 
  • Regular coaching sessions – Allows managers to provide constructive feedback, identify areas for improvement and support employees in achieving their targets.
  • Clarity of job responsibilities – Ensures that employees understand their roles and duties within the organization and can effectively prioritize tasks to meet performance goals. 
  • Highlight priorities and outline performance expectations – Helps employees stay focused and motivated, guiding their efforts towards areas of greatest impact. 

2. Establish a Baseline

It’s crucial to establish a baseline for the incentive program by comparing KPI results before and after its implementation. You’ll be able to understand whether your program is aligned with your business goals to maximize effectiveness. 

3. Track Participation and Engagement

Track participation and engagement by utilizing surveys, feedback sessions and tracking the number of actively participating employees. Higher participation rates indicate effective resonance with the incentive program. 

4. Measure Quantitative Results

Measure quantitative results by evaluating the direct impact of the incentive program on chosen KPIs such as revenue, productivity and customer satisfaction ratings. Track and document any changes observed in these metrics to provide an objective assessment of the program’s impact.

5. Get Qualitative Feedback

An employee feedback platform can be used to conduct pulse surveys and gather valuable insights. Do this by conducting surveys, focus groups or interviews to understand their perceptions of the incentive program. .

6. Compare to Benchmarks

Comparing your employee incentive program results to these home service industry benchmarks and best practices will help you identify areas for improvement and optimize the effectiveness of your program in driving employee engagement, performance and retention:

  • Customer Satisfaction Scores: Benchmark your organization’s customer satisfaction scores against industry averages to ensure that your employees are delivering high-quality service. Higher satisfaction scores are indicative of high-performing employees and customer service.
  • First-Time Fix Rate: Measure the percentage of service calls resolved on the first visit and compare it with industry standards. A higher first-time fix rate suggests efficient and effective service delivery, which can be incentivized through your program.
  • Response Time: Evaluate the average response time to customer inquiries or service requests and compare it with industry benchmarks. Faster response times demonstrate responsiveness and can contribute to higher customer satisfaction.
  • Employee Retention Rate: Lower turnover rates indicate higher employee satisfaction and engagement.
  • Average Ticket Value: Increasing the average ticket value through upselling or cross-selling can be incentivized through your program.
  • Repeat Business Rate: A higher repeat business rate indicates customer loyalty and satisfaction, which can be incentivized through your program.
  • Safety Incidents: Lower safety incident rates demonstrate a commitment to employee well-being, which can be incentivized through safety incentives in your program.


Are you looking for more ideas to help improve employee retention? Check out these related readings: 


Malka joined the Marketing Team at WorkWave as a Content Specialist in October 2021. She spends her time researching trending topics and creating engaging content for WorkWave solutions across a variety of digital platforms. With a background in sales copywriting, Malka is dedicated to delivering solution-driven content that hits home for the readers who need it most.