Incentive Ideas for a Call Center

Call center jobs can be highly stressful, and incentive, recognition and reward programs can help improve job performance, increase morale and reduce turnover. To be effective, programs should be clearly defined, ongoing and inclusive.

Simple Rewards

Incentives that take employees weeks or months to earn or that pit staffers against one another in heavy competition are not as effective as on-the-spot, regular incentives. For example, frequently give a small reward to everyone who arrives to work on time or to staffers who complete the day’s target number of calls. This can be especially useful on Mondays, Fridays and the days before and after holidays.

Target-Based Incentives

Since call centers often have a variety of different targets in place, offer incentives for employees who meet objectives in each category. For example, give movie tickets to every employee who completes a specific number of calls during a shift, give a cash bonus to employees who generate at least a target dollar amount in sales during a day or host an end-of-shift buffet for staffers who resolve a specific number of customer complaints in a limited period.


    • Rewards that can be given on the spot provide immediate gratification and can encourage other employees toward higher levels of performance. 
    • Consider offering incentives that reward all employees who meet specific call center objectives rather than just rewarding the top performer in each category.

Tough Call Awards

Difficult calls can be time consuming and stressful for employees. Regularly review call records or notes from managers who have to intervene and present a “toughest call of the day/week” award. Give it to the individual who best handled a tough situation and represented the company well. This can help make up for the stress of the situation while showing appreciation for a job well done.

Provide a Range of Incentives

Different staffers like different things, so create a range of incentives that will appeal to everyone. For example, offer gift certificates, paid time off, early outs or even a day in a special private call cube with extra comfortable seating and amenities like snacks and beverages. If you don’t know what incentives might appeal to your particular staffers, ask them.


  • Always make sure staffers understand what they need to do to qualify for an incentive. Post details in common areas that describe the exact criteria.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.