10 incentive ideas and perks offered by Russian companies to their employees


Komments by Yuriy Kolerov, Head of Strategic Projects

HR-elearning asked representatives of Russian companies to share the incentives they offer to their employees, requesting them to describe the incentives they use to motivate staff and why these incentives are important for their company.

They then compiled the answers they got and listed the 10 best incentives actually used in Russian companies to motivate staff:

  1. Football fan zone;
  2. Employee legal support;
  3. Free training, courses. Certificates for hobby training, personal growth training, career development, personal effectiveness;
  4. Intellectual games (brain ring, “what, where, when?”, brain teasers, etc.);
  5. Informal meetings and discussions with company management;
  6. Cross-marketing with suppliers, contractors and other organizations. Gift bank cards, store gift vouchers, discount cards, mobile phone payment cards, promotional gifts;
  7. Competitions for the best performing employees of the year, innovative development, original creative ideas;
  8. Points or internal “currency” that can be exchanged for goods, gifts or money;
  9. Personalized gifts to employees (watches, lapel pins in precious metals, souvenirs);
  10. Entertaining and/or adventure games during or after work at the employees’ discretion

Yuriy Kolerov, Head of Strategic Projects at Intercomp

Health insurance, yoga classes, massage rooms, game rooms and compensation for mobile communications are already widespread perks, offered by many companies together with other benefits. We have worked out how to stand out among other employers in a competitive market and how to attract and retain the best staff. To this end, we propose to use a successful international practice by including round-the-clock legal support for employees in corporate compensation package

Why including such support? 

Like drill buyers do not need a drill as such but a hole somewhere, employees do not need health insurance and gym membership, but they need to be healthy and a good work-life balance. 

A quick English-speaking Internet search shows that many foreign companies include in their compensation packages the possibility of consulting lawyers free of charge to settle personal matters. Employees worried about upcoming legal proceedings, returning defective products or the prospect of a summer without vacation due to an unfair ban on trips abroad are unlikely to give 100% at work, come up with great business development ideas and exceed production targets. 

And what’s in it for employers? 

Apparently, Russia’s labor productivity outperforms only that of Mexico. Now, imagine employees worrying about their personal matters as outlined in the previous paragraph. How can these employees forget about their personal problems at work and how can they get an opportunity to resolve them during working hours? Hopefully, achieving this would help them work more effectively. There are actually interesting statistics on this subject. 

In 2012, superjob.ru conducted a survey among its visitors asking whether staff productivity increases if they are allowed to resolve their personal problems at work. More than half (56%) of the respondents consider that productivity would increase, while 32% are indecisive. What is most interesting is that when the responses of employees from HR departments were extracted from the total sample, it turned out that HR staff believe even more (60%) in resolving problems at work than other employers on average. 

It seems that it would be after all necessary to give employees the opportunity to resolve their problems at work. How to ensure that this would take as little time as possible with the most positive effect? 

Hiring lawyers is not for now very common in Russia. Perhaps this is a legacy of the past where being a lawyer was not a respected and prestigious profession. Most people do not know how to choose a lawyer or solicitor (incidentally, do you know the difference?) and try to find solutions on websites offering free consultations. So often situations have already reached such a critical point that it is necessary to engage expensive specialists and personally attend proceedings to the detriment of work, of course. 

It would seem that many legal services are available in the form of websites offering answers to questions, acting like law firms in almost every home. We have reviewed many popular resources and found that: 

  1. These sites are not good with confidentiality. No encryption is used, data is in the public domain, requests are visible to all visitors, and often no private correspondence is provided. 
  2. Lawyers’ qualifications are confirmed by a star rating, and it is unclear how and by whom these stars are assigned. 
  3. The articles and recommendations on these sites are not updated while laws and court practice keep on changing. 
  4. Free legal advice with pavement salesman is given on a simple principle: instead of resolving matters at the initial stage, they are brought to court to charge clients as much as possible for court actions.

In the States, there are four «civil» lawyers per thousand people whereas in Russia there is one per two thousand, while at the same time our fellow citizens are becoming more legally savvy and increasingly willing to defend their rights. 

We are certain that by giving your staff the opportunity to get free consultations with professional lawyers, you will be able to quickly resolve their personal difficulties before they turn into serious problems requiring them to take some days off work, read legal forums during working hours, and be stressed, which can result in poor health, illnesses and absence. Preventing these consequences is wiser that having to use medical insurance, additional days off and easy credit terms. 

By offering legal support to their employees, companies give them, on the one hand, the opportunity to solve their personal problems — in any case some of their problems — during working hours. And on the other hand, they minimize the time that employees would have to spend on resolving their problems. This is basically a win-win.

Vladimir Stupnikov, President of iMARS Communication and Consulting Group

We really value our employees and always provide them with a lot of bonuses for good performance and, as a result, our employees are more enthusiastic. A lot of people naturally prefer material incentives, and all the more so ordinary employees rather than top managers and executives. But, this is what it seems to be only at first glance as employees need some kind of recognition besides pay rise and bonuses, and this means offering non-material recognition such as new positions, bigger teams to manage and more functions to fulfill.

The incentive practice in our company has a more emotional side to it. We try to organize seminars contributing to the development of professional skills. But they are not tedious, and everyone enjoys them because they entail communication with each other and contain practical as well as playful elements.

Moreover, the World Cup is on at the moment, and many football fans cannot watch the matches that are played during working hours so we have set up a mini fun zone in a meeting room where this national event could be enjoyed by the employees who have managed to fulfill all their duties.

We would also like to organize before long a brain ring involving all the departments of our company because this is not only an excellent opportunity to practice quick thinking skills but, most importantly, this is also a good way to spend time with colleagues.

Such non-material incentives are best for the team as they contribute to bolster a good atmosphere which eventually positively affects work performance.

Alexander, General Director of OOO King Gifts

Our company specializes in providing motivational solutions for gifts to legal entities so it goes without saying that we have some incentive programs in place at our company. The incentives for our sales department take up a particular place because, without additional bonuses to our sales people, we would not be where we are now.

We have our own staff as well as agents throughout Russia who receive bonuses upon conclusion of transactions with clients. We basically give a certain percentage for each newly signed client. This percentage can then be exchanged for various prizes, such as gift bank cards (MyGift, Daryu), store gift vouchers, mobile phone payment cards, promotional gifts, and much more. We have diversified the gifts we offer to our sales department so that everyone is satisfied and can choose what they really want.

Almost all large companies now use our products, and the number of orders is growing every day because motivation, incentives to agents, clients and employees are an integral part of business. And without them, competitors will win market shares and end up ahead. Thank you for your attention. Give gifts! 

Dmitry Esipov, TPH Rusklimat

The best performing employees at Rusklimat holding won for the first time a Mercedes and two Toyota cars. All the sales people from the head office and the entire branch network took part in this competition. Those who over-fulfilled the sales targets for 2017 won the cars: a Mercedes E-Class for the person who finished first, and a Toyota Corolla each for the persons who ended in second and third place. 

Vyacheslav Zolotukhin, ideologist and founder of a smart task management system with a staff motivation function on Blockchain EvoDesk.ru, leading expert of RBK publications, Invest Foresight, BitCryptoNews, time management and employee performance improvement coach in large companies (Uralsib and Synergy Business Plant)

At the moment, we are busy with introducing our corporate boards in large corporations and training HR departments to search for employees through social media, which is the newest and most effective way to find staff.

If we talk about motivation, then, both employees and managers be a source of motivation thanks to our platform.
Employees can receive special points that can then be spent in our store to purchase products or services. These points can even be redeemed for money in any currency. On the other hand, managers can see who and how many tasks have been performed: some have done a lot while others have done little. They can also see how the work process is going.
They can thus delegate certain work processes as quickly and easily as possible, thereby improving efficiency, and seeing the real outcome, they can increase bonuses. 

Alexander Aliev, Safety Expert

The issue of HR is one of the key components of such global system as the economic security of company. And this is, indeed, with good reason that we use the expression «It’s all about the people».

Professional, motivated employees work for their company’s development and prosperity, while incompetent and unmotivated ones translate into failure and ruin. That is why a wise manager always pays close attention to the issue of HR. All managers at any levels of management starting from line managers to CEOs should motivate employees to stay in employment and perform their work duties at high standards and on time.

CEOs should approve a general incentive strategy for employees, and particular methods should be developed by department directors and departments. The more interesting and productive the incentives implemented by the department head, the smaller the staff turnover in his/her department.

To choose an appropriate type of incentive and motivation method, several key factors should be taken into account, in particular, the company’s line of business, the employees’ average age in each department, and the employees’ general interest in each department. Managers should know what makes each employee «tick», their problems or life difficulties.

By having informal discussions with employees from time to time, managers make it clear that they are interested in their staff, their concerns and expectations. This also plays a role in motivating employees to work well.

However trite they may sound, cash bonuses, small birthday gifts for employees and their children, invitations to Christmas parties with gifts from Father Christmas also play an important roles in motivating staff.

Entertaining games after work at the employees’ discretion can also be proposed as a new incentive. To increase motivation, companies — if their profits allow and their employees have reached set targets — can also propose a New Year Holiday trip either abroad or in Russia depending on the company’s budget.

When executives work on staff motivation, they should adhere to the following principles: employees need to understand that management is not indifferent to them; incentives should have an effect as cohesive as possible on the team, nurturing a cooperative spirit and uprooting the dog-eat-dog worldview. We can then expect such a team to perform work at high standards, on time and for the benefit of the company’s prosperity. 

Marina Popova-Ivanova, HR Management Expert at OOO Event Consult

Material and non-material staff incentives are important tools in HR policy. To ensure the effectiveness of an incentive scheme, it is first necessary to identify the needs of staff. When putting in place an incentive scheme, it is necessary to take into account the particular line of business in which the employees are engaged, the company structure, the company’s position in the labor market in terms of salary levels.

Below you will find a good example of an effective incentive option as provided by a company engaged in the construction industry offering non-standardized working hours, employing with 800 people (of whom 120 top and middle management and 680 workers). The company employees’ age is between 25 and 55 years old.

A survey was conducted and, as a result, several factors of employee dissatisfaction were identified:

  • Most employees really dislike corporate events and consider that they are a waste of time;
  • Employees do not have enough time for family and friends;
  • No team cohesion.
Some satisfaction factors were also identified:
  • Salary level;
  • Professional growth;
  • Length of employment.
Based on the data collected, an individual incentive scheme was developed taking into account each employee’s personal case. This scheme offers:
  • Theater/exposition/zoo tickets for family;
  • Fitness club membership;
  • Training/seminars on topics of interest to employees;
  • Certificates for hobby training;
  • Complimentary trips for employees and their family.

The company also completely stopped holding corporate dos and replaced them with awards to the best by profession. The company also introduced teambuilding trainings during working hours. 

Nadezhda Alexandrovna Muravieva, Head of Novaya Vysota Personality Resource Center 

The personality resource center, Novaya Vysota, works with companies in Moscow. This year, we started implementing our Training As Gift project which allows employers to offer to their employees (as well as clients and partners) any training they choose: from personal development (health, romantic relationship, family, children) to professional development (leadership, teambuilding, sales, networking, etc.)

The project is only just gaining momentum, but positive feedback has already been received from people who were gifted a training as well as from company executives who decided to give to their employees such an unusual gift.

I have encountered various employee incentives during my career. The most memorable are company badges (simple and gold ones in the form of the company logo), concert tickets for the band Modern Talking, theater tickets, additional days off in any time during the year, employees’ photo included in the corporate anniversary photo album, holiday vouchers, and funny prizes such as seating in the boss’s chair.

It has been observed that generally the simplest way to motivate employees is to thank them for the work done right after it is completely. This means a lot in Russian companies.

Darya Leonova, HR Manager at Radario

Radario issues an internal currency known as «Radars». This non-material incentive scheme was set up right after the foundation of the company, and it has been a success ever since.

What can this internal currency be exchanged for? It all depends on the number of points that have been accumulated. The prizes that are offered in exchange for the currency range from books to iPhone.

Radars are first credited to an employee’s account immediately after the employee is hired. This is a pleasant welcome bonus. Radars are also credited for participating in conferences and for personal as well as team achievements.

Radars are also handed over for introducing a talented professional to the company as well as for putting forward and successfully implementing an interesting idea. Overtime is rewarded as well. Employees try to accumulate as many points as possible to spend them on something big such as, for example, voluntary health insurance, a new iPhone or a package tour. 

Dmitry Kotov, HR Director at Navicon 

In addition to the rewards usually offered to employees, it is customary to give watches to the team members that have worked at Navicon for 10 years. This takes place once every six months at the general meetings of all employees where the management talk about the company’s results and plans. Interestingly, this tradition arose from another whereby watches were given to employees leaving the company. This way, we express our gratitude to those who have worked with us shoulder to shoulder for many years.

We also allocate some money to various creative group competitions. The video clip and chatbot competitions were particularly well-received among the latest competitions we held. Teams from various department filmed videos for the corporate party that was held to celebrate the company 15th anniversary.

The chatbot competition was held to boost cooperation between departments so «mixed» teams had to develop in a month their own chatbot to make access to the company’s internal services easier.