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 What was once the only option for rewarding employees is now outdated as companies move toward more personalized, non monetary incentives.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 employee rewards 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 form of employee recognition that improve employee motivation, engagement, and retention rates—not to mention they’re effective at helping leaders build meaningful relationships with their workforce.

What exactly are experiential rewards? They’re experiences that help your employees 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 want from their reward. 

If you’re looking for inspiration, Blueboard’s experience menu has thousands of experiences to choose from. Some of our favorites include:

Trekking through ice caves in Reykjavik.

Trekking in Reykjavik experienial 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 day at a relaxing local spa for several hours of pampering and “you” time.

Meeting llamas in Machu Picchu.

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

Wining and dining before a Broadway show.

NYC date experiential reward
A luxurious stay in NYC and tickets to a renowned Broadway show for you and a friend.  

#2 Time off.

We spend at least 40 hours at work every week. That adds up to 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. Which is why granting time off is an effective non cash incentive to offer your employees.

Let’s say one of your engineers spent several long nights working to meet the deadline for a feature launch. 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 spa day. This is an impactful way to demonstrate that you recognize your employee’s hard work and also care about their wellbeing.

#3 Personal development.

Optimize for non monetary incentives that will motivate your employees and help them achieve their personal development goals.

Provide a stipend so employees can pursue their desired learning and development activities. Sponsor career coaching sessions so people can uplevel their skills. Bring in a speaker to address topics of interest for managers. There are countless ways to help your employees achieve their personal development goals beyond a simple cash incentive. 

At Blueboard, we host bi-monthly “lunch and learns” 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.

invest in your employee's development
Provide a learning and development stipend, sponsor career coaching, or bring in a professional speaker.

The purpose is twofold: helping employees develop personally will lead to their success professionally and demonstrates that you care about them outside of the workplace context. 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 appreciate 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, wellbeing, 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 spend quality time with their boss outside of their normal work environment.

one on one time with your employee
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 a commitment to your organization’s values.

Part of the company award can be a fun prize that’s representative 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.

Take your team to a baseball game
Part of the company award can be a fun prize that’s representative of your organization—perhaps passes to take two co-workers to 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.

Consider more creative approaches, like collecting kind words from the employee’s colleagues in a card or sending a playful note of appreciation. These are much more meaningful alternatives than a Starbucks gift card, and it’s something that the employee can physically keep with them for a long time.

Boost employee motivation with non-monetary rewards.

When it comes to non-monetary rewards for employees, there’s so much more room for flexibility, creativity, and impact compared to cash bonuses. 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.

Looking for the best way to reward, recognize and incentivize your top people?

Connect with our team for a personalized demo of our recognition and rewards platform and see our hand-curated experience menus.

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