Top 10 Non-Financial Rewards to Motivate Employees

Two business associates going over the best non-financial rewards to help motivate their employees
Justin Lane
Justin Lane
In Inspiration, MBOs
Justin Lane is Senior Director of Strategic Services at Xactly Corporation. With nearly two decades of experience in the world of sales incentive compensation management, Justin is a true believer in the power of incentives to change the world and is passionate about helping clients maximize return on their compensation investment spend. He attended Arizona State University where he received his B.S. in Organizational Design.

Non-financial rewards can be just as, or even more motivating for employees than those involving traditional financial rewards. It is no secret that happy companies are influenced by the company culture. Employees that are given positive recognition for their work have been shown to increase work-time productivity, proactively engage with their coworkers, and convey enhanced loyalty to the company where they are employed.

The employee wants to feel that their work is valued, and that doesn’t always mean they want more money. In fact, motivated and happy employees also provide better customer service. If you are on a budget, here are 10 non-financial incentives that can motivate your employees.

1. Take your employees to lunch

It does not have to be fancy or lavish. The café down the street is more likely to be a much better treat than the lunch they packed from home. This also allows for time to discuss matters that are not specifically work-related.

Taking an employee to lunch shows that you care about them beyond the office walls. Plus, it is a nice change of scenery –definitely better than sitting at a desk or in a cubicle all day. For millennials, all employees, motivation takes more than money. Afterwards, you may notice your employees return to work more refreshed and rejuvenated.

2. Throw a small company or department party

Employees get can stressed out just as much as managers do. When your employees are burnt out, getting them to produce quality work can be quite difficult. This is especially true when morale is low Why not give the opportunity for some fun?

Plan the event ahead of time, and let employees know to mark it on their calendar. Work parties offer an opportunity for coworkers to become more than just colleagues. It also helps to build morale, which is critical to workplace success. As a result, they feel supported by their team, build bonds and enjoy work more when they realize there is some leeway for fun. Plus, a party enhances a team setting.

3. Offer leadership opportunities

Good employees and managers understand their roles and strive to produce accordingly. Yet, great employees and managers often want the chance to go above and beyond. Have a big project coming up? Let an employee take a leadership role.

Give them guidelines for to how the project should work. Do not abandon them though. Offer your guidance throughout the project, without stealing any of their thunder. They will appreciate the mentorship and advice. Not only does it show their ability to tackle a new project but, it also shows that you value their leadership and effort.

4. Give employees the recognition they deserve

Let employees know that their work is appreciated. In addition, recognition can go much further than money. Post a shout out on social media, or send a mass email detailing their job well done. This gives employees a sense of pride and ownership over their work. The good news is there is a ripple effect to recognition. Other employees will crave similar accolades and put forth more effort into their own work to get the desired attention and praise from management. It’s a win-win.

5. Get to know your employees

Your employees make choices and sacrifices to get to work on time every single day. They also have families of their own, bills and unexpected occurrences that make life even more exciting. Certainly, they have had days where they worked while sick or missed their child’s recent game because it was scheduled during work hours. While they probably need the money, they are also there by choice.

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So, you might consider getting to know them. Instead of sitting down with them to discuss business, talk to them about something deeper. This shows that you are actually interested in the people who work with and for you. The topics don’t need to be too personal. You might talk about kids, sports or hobbies. And, you may notice a positive change in their persona as a result.

6. Write a letter.

Sitting down to pen a handwritten letter conveys both respect and care. Handwritten letters are tangible and are something that the receiver can keep for years to come. They are something that employees can also proudly display on their desk or keep tucked away somewhere safe.

People would much rather receive a card that thanks them for a job well done than to see another bland email in their inbox. Grab a ‘Thank-you’ card from the store down the street and let the grateful words flow.

7. Ask for their input on an important project or for any office-related topic

Most people dislike being told what to do over and over. Instead, ask them how they think a task could be accomplished. It breaks the boundaries regarding how roles are traditionally set. It may seem like a small task, but employees will relish the chance to share their ideas and opinions. You hired them for a reason, let them shine.

8. Share management rewards

When a company does well, it is usually the result of a team effort. During times like these, it is important to share the wealth accordingly. If the company has exceeded their sales goals for the month, have a fun activity on hand for employees such as a sporting event outing or perhaps even a company trip. Other options include days off for jobs well done or even a spa package. Here are 10 more simple steps for motivating employees.

9. Allow high performers a more flexible schedule

If employees consistently rise beyond expectations, it is because they spend more time than is required learning about and executing the work. These are the types of employees you want to keep. In recognition of their hard work, you might consider giving them the opportunity to work from home a few hours per week or to leave a bit earlier on a Friday.

Modern employees want to work from home more often because they cherish a work and life balance. Plus, there are many times when the work is complete and employees feel they are wasting time just waiting for the day to pass. Of course, the flexible work schedule can be rescinded if the quality of the work declines. On the other hand, if expectations continue to be met, then there is no reason not to let them have a more flexible schedule.

10. Provide one-on-one time

Team meetings and group discussions are helpful. Still, nothing beats sitting down with the boss to discuss matters that are truly relevant to the employee. Taking time out of the day to schedule time for one-on-one meetings shows employees that you value their time and input.

During these sessions, you can discuss both short-term and long-term goals, as well as how you can help them reach their objectives. Employees are more loyal to companies when they feel their goals are supported. Again, this is something money can’t buy.

In Conclusion

Motivating employees does not always have to involve money. There are many interesting, memorable, and creative alternatives to rewarding employees which, act as motivational tools to increase and stabilize employee engagement and loyalty. Taking the time to understand their needs and goals is the first step towards planning the right form of recognition.

Rewards of all kinds encourage employees to stay with the company to build their careers. Plus, the right types of rewards can help to reduce costly turnover. When employees are satisfied and happy, you get to see more growth. Plus, employees can tell the difference between a cold wad of cash and a warm, heartfelt note of appreciation.


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Top 10 Non-Financial Rewards to Motivate Employees

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