Written by Catherine Adenle
A lot of organisations will engage and retain their employees if they can clearly make the link between people, their performance and business results. When it comes to employee engagement and retention, an organisation that is not interested in rewarding their employees get what they put in – a little effort means a little engagement and staff attrition.
As far as staff reward goes, in today’s economy, all organisations try to do more with less. They look for other ways to give rewards, keep employees engaged and maintain their staff strength via other means rather than throw money at their employees.
According to an independent, academic research published in the October 2009 issue of the Incentive Magazine, titled “Don’t Show Me the Money” which talked about the effectiveness of cash versus non-cash incentives provides scientific support for much of the industry’s accumulated wisdom and lends long-needed scientific backing that non-cash incentives are indeed preferable to cash ones.
The research was an independent and academic study led by Victoria Shaffer, Ph.D. and Director of the Decision Making Research Lab at Wichita State University.
“When used properly, non-cash awards, like merchandise and travel, have indeed proven to be more effective and therefore more efficient than traditional forms of compensation when used in a total-rewards mix,” said IRF President, Melissa Van Dyke. “Our research review showed that non-cash’s influence over people can often be more powerful – and as such, more profitable – than cash alternatives.”
In their bestselling book on employee retention, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans ranked the top reasons employees remain where they are. In a ranking order, the reasons are:
• Career growth, learning, and development
• Exciting and challenging work
• Meaningful work, making a difference and a contribution
• Great people
• Being part of a team
• Good boss
• Recognition for work well done
• Fun on the job
• Autonomy, sense of control over my work
• Flexibility, for example, in work hours and dress code
• Fair pay and benefits
• Inspiring leadership
• Pride in the organization, its mission, and quality of product
• Great work environment
• Job security
• Family-friendly employer
• Cutting-edge technology
This list provides a hint of what matters to employees, which is a key point in employee motivation.
As a leader, recognising that people who do meaningful work create the most value in the marketplace is important. According to Marcus Buckingham’s work on employee recognition, employees want to be recognized about every seven days. That doesn’t mean that employees expect something big or lavish every seven days, often just a simple clear acknowledgement and the two words, ‘Thank You’ is enough to show that their work is valued and that they are on the right track.
For this reason, we have prepared a list of 30 best non-cash regular incentives for employees below
First, see the infographic below on employee recognition around the globe
There are several simple approaches that can provide some of the most effective strategies for rewarding and motivating staff. Other fundamentals include:
• Knowing your employee. Take the time to ask what they value and what motivates them.
• Give feedback. Specific, straightforward, on-the-spot praise is vital! “Praise in public” demonstrates respect and it achieves results.
• Partner with employees in achieving their goals. Ask employees about their career goals and offer related assignments whenever possible.
• Educate employees about the “business” of the department. Such learning can be fulfilling for employees, and can make them more valuable assets.
• Keep employees informed and involved. Having an overview of the big picture is important. Seeing how their role serves the greater mission increases their feeling of being connected to their work.
• Use rewards that have mutual benefit. Rewards such as skill training and professional development is timeless.
This is the list of 30 best non-cash rewards to give at work as incentives to employees:
1. Collate positive hand written statements about the employee from their colleagues, frame and present to the employee.
2. Provide the employee with some one-to-one coaching and mentoring sessions with a senior member of the organisation for six months.
3. Register the employee for a conference or training session of their choice.
4. Share an inspirational success story with all and make it all about the employee.
5. Allocate a day in a week for them to do anything creative and of their choice for a month.
6. Give them a new job title or update their current job title.
7. Start an organisational “Wall of Fame” board in a prime spot and add their name to it.
8. Let the employee suggest a way they would like to be rewarded other than cash reward.
9. Pick up the tab to fuel their car for a week or a month.
10. Prepare, present and disseminate a short video mosaic that celebrates the employee’s accomplishments.
11. Get the employee some career counselling sessions.
12. Find out what the employee is passionate about and give them a gift related to it.
13. Pick up their family’s tab for a dinner at their favourite restaurant.
14. Present the employee with a pair of tickets to a concert or a show so that they can invite their partner along.
15. Get them an iTune voucher if they own an iPod, iPad, iPhone etc.
16. Give them a day pass to a spa.
17. Present the employee with a handwritten thank you note.
18. Name a meeting room after the employee for a year.
19. Give the employee a reserved parking spot for six months.
20. Present the employee with a bouquet of flowers.
21. Make a public thank you announcement and give money to their favourite charity.
22. Organise for the employee to take a fun class, such as jewellery making, scuba diving or skydiving.
23. Present the employee with a tasteful framed certificate to show how valuable the employee’s contribution to the company has been.
24. Give the employee a gift card to their favourite shop.
25. Get them a voucher to download eBooks from their favourite author.
26. Cover the cost to have a professional family portrait of the employee taken.
27. Allow the employee to be flexible with their working hours for one month.
28. Give the employee a day or two off work.
29. Get a mobile car valet service to do a full valet of their car.
30. Help to pay for a trade association membership of their choice.
Now that you have explored these 30 non-cash rewards to give at work, share with us if you have received any non-cash incentive at work in the past? Add your comments below.