Employee Rewards

6 non-monetary incentives to boost employee motivation

Gone are the days of cash bonuses and gift cards. What was once the only option for rewarding employees is now outdated as companies move toward more personalized, non-monetary incentives. To help you make the shift at your own organization, we put together a list of non-monetary rewards for employees that fit budgets of any size.

#1 Experiential rewards.

If you have a substantial budget dedicated to your recognition program, experiential employee rewards are a great option.

Unlike the standard gift card or cash bonus, experiential rewards are a non-monetary incentive and form of employee recognition that increases employee motivation, engagement, and retention rates—not to mention they’re effective at helping leaders build meaningful relationships with their staff.

What exactly are experiential rewards? They’re experiences that allow your employees to challenge their comfort zones, indulge in their passions, or discover a new hobby. This can be anything from local pottery classes to global travels—it all depends on what your employees choose as a reward. 

If you’re looking for inspiration, Blueboard’s experience menu and products menu has thousands of experiences to choose from. Some of our favorite non-monetary rewards for employees include:

Trekking through ice caves in Reykjavik.

Reykjavik experiential reward.
A two-date tour of ice caves, waterfalls, a lagoon, and the Northern Lights through the most breathtaking parts of Iceland.

Unwinding with a luxurious spa day.

Spa day experiential reward
A relaxing day at a relaxing local spa for several hours of pampering and self-care time.

Meeting llamas in Machu Picchu.

Meet llamas in Machu Picchu experiential reward
An adventure in Cusco with the opportunity to take a tour of one of the most iconic spots in the world.

A night out before a Broadway show.

New York City experiential reward
A luxurious stay in New York City and tickets to a renowned Broadway show for you and a guest.  

#2 Time off.

Most of us spend at least 40 hours a week at work. That adds up to roughly 160 hours a month, or around 2,000 hours a year. No matter how much your employees love their jobs, they’ll always appreciate a day away from the office to invest in themselves. This is why granting time off is an effective non-monetary incentive for employees.

Let’s say one of your engineers spent several long nights working to meet the deadline for the launch of a new feature. Once the project is over, encourage that individual to take the day off and unwind—whether that’s by spending time with their family or treating themselves to a solo spa day. This is an impactful way to demonstrate that you recognize your employee’s hard work and also care about their well-being as an individual.

#3 Personal development.

Choose non-cash incentives that will motivate your employees and simultaneously help them achieve their personal development goals.

Provide a stipend so employees can pursue their desired learning and development activities. One option could be to sponsor career coaching sessions so people can up-level a skill of their choice. Or, bring in a speaker to address topics of interest for managers. There are countless ways to help your employees achieve their personal and professional development goals using non-cash incentives. 

At Blueboard, we host bi-monthly “lunch and learns” as non-monetary incentives for employees featuring Blueboarders or friends of Blueboard to share their knowledge with the rest of the organization. We’ve covered topics from cultivating coaching skills to understanding the art of networking to discovering your love language in the workplace.

Personal development experiential reward.
Provide a learning and development stipend, sponsor career coaching, or bring in a professional speaker.

The purpose is twofold: helping employees develop personally will not only lead to their success professionally but will also demonstrate that you care about them outside of the workplace. It also doesn’t hurt that LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report found that 93% of employees would stay at their company longer if it invested in their careers.

#4 One-on-one time.

For employees who respond better to in-person interactions and more personal expressions of gratitude, one-on-one time with their manager is a great non-monetary incentive.

Why? Managers exert a lot of influence over an employee’s job satisfaction, personal well-being, and likelihood to stay at a company. There’s a reason why 57% of employees have left at least one company because of their boss.

So instead of a $100 gift card incentive, suggest managers take their high-performing employees out for coffee or a nice lunch. They’ll be thrilled at the opportunity to while spending individual time with their boss outside of their normal work environment.

Meeting between employee and manager.
Take your employee out for a coffee or a nice lunch.

#5 Company awards.

If you’re looking for a more public gesture, company awards are a great way to boost employee motivation. They can be given on an annual, quarterly or monthly basis, based on which employees demonstrate high-quality work and commitment to your organization’s values.

Part of the company award can be a fun prize that’s representative of the core values of your organization—such as passes to take two co-workers to a baseball game, if you live in a big sports town. The award doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but it should be a genuine reflection of what’s important to your company.

Baseball game experiential reward
Part of a company award can be a fun prize that’s representative of your organization, such as passes for two co-workers to attend a baseball game.

#6 Words of appreciation.

Sometimes, a few thoughtful words of appreciation are the best incentives to motivate employees. Be sure to mix it up—you don’t need to limit yourself to the standard forms of written communication like email or instant messaging.

Consider more creative approaches, like collecting kind words from the employee’s colleagues in a card or sending a personalized note of appreciation. These are much more meaningful alternatives than a gift card for employee recognition, and it’s something that the employee can hold onto for a long time.

Boost employee retention and motivation with non-monetary rewards.

When it comes to non-monetary rewards for employees, there’s so much more room for flexibility, creativity, and positive impact compared to cash bonuses. Our Sales Incentives Tool Kit and Sales Incentives Planning Guide are two great references to help get you started with building out a non-cash sales incentives program for your organization.

If you’re curious to learn how Blueboard provides non-monetary incentives, spot rewards, sales recognition, and more for your company, request a demo now.If you’re curious to learn how Blueboard provides non-monetary incentives, spot rewards, sales recognition, and more for your company, request a demo now.

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