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Beyond Cash: 4 Creative Ways to Reward Your Team

Posted by Insightlink on 10/20/15

Employees who work in a recognition-focused company are five times more likely to feel valued and eleven times more likely to feel committed to their jobs and organization's mission, according to best-selling author Bob Nelson. But if you think there’s not a budget for recognition programs and incentives, think again. Cash actually does little to motivate employees to work harder.

A Harvard Business Review article looked at the research on employee incentives and discovered a promise for a gift-wrapped water bottle actually increased worker productivity by 25 percent. Meanwhile, an offer for an attractive cash bonus did nothing to speed-up productivity or efficiency in another group.

 Recognition programs do more than just motivate employees. They can also help retain top talent and create a more dedicated workplace. Taking cash out of the employee incentive equation can actually generate more buzz about your perks and energize your workplace. Get creative with your offerings and regularly solicit feedback from your employees to figure out what works best. Here are some ideas to get started.

Show tickets

Create an employee incentive around an experience that may otherwise feel out of reach. Theater and other show tickets to the hottest Broadway tours, plays and concerts can turn a typical week at the office into a competitive race. Motivate employees by posting the latest show schedules and write down fun notes next to shows you would see yourself. Show tickets are also a valuable perk for married employees who want to include their spouse in their achievement.

Spontaneous trip

Freeborn & Peters law firm made the news for its unique luggage party. Once a year, its staff and attorneys bring a packed bag to work and are eligible for a drawing. Whoever wins is whisked away to Las Vegas in a private jet for an all expenses paid weekend of fun.

You may not have the resources to foot the bill for a long weekend in Las Vegas, but there are plenty of ways to capitalize on this idea. Motivate employees to sell the most product or land crucial contracts with a free trip to a local vineyard or four-star hotel downtown. Sweeten the incentive by picking them up in a limousine at their house and arranging for a presidential suite with a chilled bottle of champagne standing by.

Offer public recognition

Simply offering public recognition gives your employees’ morale and productivity a boost. First, strive to create a consistent culture of recognition by regularly complimenting employees on specific tasks. For above and beyond performance, call out their accomplishment on a call with a client or the CEO. Or you could also write up a summary of the employee’s hard work for the company bulletin board or a company newsletter.

Promote them to a new project

Promotions are often few and far in between, but don’t always require a new job title and salary. Instead, offer project promotions that land hard-working employees on some of the best accounts. After tasks well done, ask an employee for his or her feedback on an important project and invite him or her to take on more responsibilities and a hands-on role. The more challenged and valued your employees feel, the more they’ll want to work towards bigger and better responsibilities that provide more job satisfaction.



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