What Are The Best Rewards and Non-Monetary Incentives?

BY Judah Hirsch Compensation

What Are The Best Rewards and Non-Monetary Incentives?

I’m sure like many employers, you also think a lot about how to keep your team motivated. What you usually do is give top performers bonuses, GCs and allowances. Handing out non-monetary benefits might not be the first thing that comes to your mind. After all, many people get a job for the money, right? What else could they want?

Money is not Motivation

Meet Andrea. She works as a sales agent for a condo developer in Metro Manila.

She enjoys a generous monthly salary and even up to 20% commission with each sale. You’d think that she’d have everything she could ever need to be productive in her work. After all, salary and commission means Andrea can support her day-to-day needs without worries.

But this isn’t the case. If anything, Andrea lacks the motivation to get up every day and go to work.

You might be thinking: isn’t working to get a generous commission enough? How ungrateful!
While Andrea does enjoy great pay, she is looking for something more to keep her motivated.

Why You Need to Give Your Employees Non-Monetary Incentives

Your Employees Will Feel Valued

One study highlights the importance of non-financial benefits on employees’ motivation to work. Employees feel more motivated to do well at work because they feel valued by the company.

Non-monetary rewards also encourage employees to be more productive. Compared to workers who don’t receive any, those who get rewards want to work harder and be more efficient.

They last a long time and can have good shelf life

This is especially true for tangible rewards, such as plaques or certificates. Compared to cash or checks, your employees can display these at home or in work cubicles. Your workers can’t show others their paychecks. But they wouldn’t hesitate to show friends and family new trophies and medals.

They cost less

Employers found out cash and non-cash rewards have the same effect on employees’ performance. When asked, employers said that non-monetary awards cost much less. The best part? Employees saw both financial and non-financial rewards as equally motivating.

You Become a Better Company for Your Employees

When looking for a job, more than 4 out of 10 employees look for rewards and recognition programs. Almost 8 out 10 claimed they’d work harder if employers recognized their contributions more.

More than 5 out of 10 HR managers actually worry that their best employees will leave their company. And 6 out of 10 employees will want to stay at a company for their incentive programs.
Remember, people don’t quit their jobs – they quit their bosses.

The Best Non-Monetary Rewards For Your Employees

There are several kinds of non-cash incentives you can offer your employees. They range from words to actions and even simple programs.

1. Recognition and Appreciation

Do you know the power of a thank you? This is one of the most powerful tools to make your employees feel valued. Thank them for a job well done either in public in team meetings, or in private over lunch.

Having recognition programs, such as employee of the month programs, also boost employee morale. These awards can be displayed in some high foot traffic area of the office for others to see.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of annual plaques, certificates, trophies, and medals of appreciation. These make your employees feel the value of their contributions to the company.

Your appreciation doesn’t have to cost much. Find ways to remind your workers how much you’re thankful to have them on board with you ever so often. Even a small sticky note on their monitor or a sincere thank you email are enough.

2. Professional Growth Opportunities

Many employees stay in their jobs because they believe the company will help them grow. How can you address their need to advance in their profession?

Run training programs to improve their skills or let them learn new ones. Hosting seminars and talks to develop professional skills also work.

You may also want to explore personal mentoring programs. These allow for one-on-one interactions between supervisors and employees. This way, managers get to know more about their team’s aspirations, offering valuable personalized advice.

Annual teambuilding activities are also great to have. Employees get to know their workmates, building camaraderie, teamwork and knowledge sharing. New employees especially would want to learn more about the team they’re working with.

3. Freedom to Act on Their Own

Let’s admit it: no one likes having someone breathing down their neck all the time. While it’s normal to want to control everything, your employees will hate your constant micromanagement. Lessen the supervision and let them do their own thing. Your team needs to feel that you trust them to do their work well.

Give your employees the chance to choose the next project they’d like to tackle. Also allow them the chance to lead a project. Empower your workers so that they feel both trusted and responsible.

4. Flexible Work Schedules

Many companies are now straying away from the strict 8-to-5 work schedule. Let’s face it, not everyone can be productive in the morning. Some people do better working from 10am to 7pm, for example. Employers have found that their people feel better when they can choose their core hours in a day.

Deserving employees also can be rewarded by allowing early leaves from time to time. Giving them an extra day off beyond their allowed number of paid leaves also does well for their morale. These rewards tell them, “Hey, you did great, now get some well-deserved rest or time off.”
Remember: you don’t want your employees to experience burnout.

5. Incentives for Personal Interests

We need to stop seeing employees as robots designed to come to the office, do their job, get paid, then go home. Workers are people too, so don’t treat them like machines.

They have personal interests they’ll want to pursue outside the office. What can you offer them as some kind of reward? A free gym membership for a month? Free shipping coupons for an online store? Discounted theater show tickets?

You can also make it fun by introducing contests and raffles from time to time. For example, you can introduce desk-space-themed photography contests especially for the creatively-inclined. Or you could try offering a gadget raffle for anyone who submits entries to a special challenge.

Where You Can Start Today

You definitely don’t need to plan out when you can start saying thank you to your hardworking team. Practice gratitude every day, and encourage everyone to do the same. That fosters a healthy working environment that everyone can enjoy.

As for activities that need more planning, you’ll have to see which ones make sense for your company. For seminars, teambuilding activities, and contests, don’t worry about being too fancy. You can still give employees a quality experience despite a small budget.

When you’ve decided on that, be sure to plan out your programs well. Word of advice: keep it simple. Complex processes, more often than not, may just lead to dissolving the program after a while.

Your best course of action right now: make your employees know that you value them as people. Don’t forget to show, not just tell.

Here’s what Andrea’s boss did. It turns out Andrea wasn’t the only employee unmotivated at work. The late starts and missed deadlines of other employees all pointed to the increasing lack of motivation in the office.

To resolve this, the company started offering free merienda everyday for anyone to enjoy. Also, they put up an Employee of the Month system. The awardee gets a day off, a small appreciation ceremony, a plaque, and gift certificates from partner brands.

Now, the company enjoys happier employees and better sales.

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