Six Unique and Creative Financial Incentives to Attract and Retain Great Talent

Six Unique and Creative Financial Incentives to Attract and Retain Great Talent

I’ve had several conversations with clients lately about how difficult it is to recruit and retain top talent. They tell me they’re paying more than twenty percent over what they were paying two years ago for the same position. The work demand has been there, so it has been the cost of doing business. The more significant issue is when your senior management, the organization’s brain trust, starts to leave. The senior management departure is starting to happen. It’s time for a little outside-the-box thinking so you can attract and retain great talent. It doesn’t need to cost as much as you think either.

A competitive salary is the baseline of the equation. The other usual suspects are a comprehensive benefit plan and a retirement savings vehicle like a group pension, group RRSP matching program or a Deferred Profit-Sharing Plan (DPSP). Is that enough in today’s employment market?

Here are some outside-the-box opportunities to help with your employee engagement and attraction and retention challenges.

Total Rewards Statements

Do your employees truly understand what you’re paying them? They likely don’t put a monetary value on many of the benefits you provide for them. Many look at their salary and don’t understand the actual value of the other perks included in their compensation. If one of your employees suddenly hands in their resignation and states that they received a $20,000 increase in salary elsewhere, could this have been averted? By annually identifying an actual amount of all their compensation in the form of a Total Rewards Statement, I’d argue employees would reassess their decision to resign.

Flexible Benefit Plans

Employees do not understand the value of your benefit plan. A conventional benefits plan likely doesn’t suit your diverse employee population. Employees want flexibility and the ability to spend their benefit dollars where they see fit. Not everyone has two kids and a spouse. Incorporating a flex benefit plan augmented by a health spending account (HSA) will lower your employees’ overall benefit plan costs and reduce your employees’ out-of-pocket expenses. Wouldn’t you rather have more of your benefit plan spend end up in your employees’ hands instead of your benefits provider?

Some Value Time Off More Than Extra Pay

Greater employee value continues to be placed on workplace flexibility and additional time off. Many don’t log the extra time they put in, but if a program allowed for time off instead of extra time worked, do you think this would be valued? You bet it would! A program like this needs to be managed effectively.

The Impact of Acknowledgement and Random Rewards

We are motivated by different things. Acknowledgement of a job well done means more to some than to others. For some employees, a random gift certificate for a night out or tickets to a concert or sporting event can make the individual feel appreciated. The key to this becoming successful is its randomness and not becoming an expectation.

Individual Pension Plan and Retirement Compensation Arrangement

You likely will need an upgraded approach to compensation for senior executives. If you’ve never heard of an Individual Pension Plan or a Retirement Compensation Arrangement, you will want to explore this further as a retention and attraction tool for executives.

Wellness Offerings

A wellness offering typically falls outside the scope of your benefit plan. Its goal is to contribute to the overall health and wellness of the employee. Wellness programs have proven to reduce absenteeism, increase morale, assist in team building, and improve the individual’s overall happiness. Examples of this may include reimbursement of gym memberships, smoking cessation programs, nutrition counselling and weight loss programs. A wellness program should have an accountability piece for the employee to ensure employees are using the program. Unlike a benefit plan or health spending account, this is considered a taxable benefit to the employee.


These are some examples of financial incentives, but by no means does this ensure your employees won’t leave. All the money in the world won’t cure a toxic work environment. Incorporating all or some of these principles will start to improve your employees’ overall morale and happiness. You will likely see an overall improvement in the vibe throughout your workplace.

If you are interested in implementing any of these ideas, I’m happy to assist in setting up a program for your company. You can email me at

Stay tuned for my next blog post on how appealing to your employees’ social consciousness can be a massive differentiator in employee engagement and how your company recruits and retains employees.

Chris’ Bio

Through the bankruptcy of his first business, a strong balance sheet means nothing unless you can get the money out of your business and into your hands personally, tax efficiently, and creditor protected. Chris helps and coaches business owners to avoid a similar fate as he suffered in his first business.


Through several clever strategies, he illustrates how these little-known vehicles can get money out of your business efficiently, build your corporate brand and create a legacy through charitable means to help make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.


Also, he has seen the impact that mental health can have upon success within your business and your life and how the two are on a constant collision course. When Chris became aware that Entrepreneurs struggled with their mental health at more than twice the rate of average adults, he realized he wasn’t alone and made it his ambition to understand why and do something to help. His business, The Finish Line Group, aims to help support the entrepreneur’s financial, philanthropic, and emotional needs.

Chris’ Why Statement remains, “To openly communicate the lessons learned from my past so that others will thrive in their lives, minimize their setbacks and leave a positive and lasting legacy.”