It’s important to reward good work or give incentives to employees to perform consistently well. Doing so increases employee morale, and employees with high morale are happier, more productive, proactive, and more loyal. The usual way to reward or give incentives to employees is by giving money, but at least one study has shown that non-cash incentives or rewards foster high-performance teams.
Here are suggestions for work incentives or awards that boost morale and don’t involve money:
If the work your company does has long lead times before deadlines or isn’t bound by any deadlines, try giving your employees a day when they aren’t bound by the clock. Give your employees an agenda of tasks for the day, then leave them to do it any way they choose. As long as they finish all the assigned tasks without going overtime, they can go home. When they feel a sense of accomplishment, employees work more efficiently and have higher morale.
Break the monotony of your company’s workdays by introducing a different activity now and then. You can have free dance or yoga class in the office after work hours. Invite a comedy improv group to perform and engage the employees. Have mini-tournaments of games like Foosball. Not only do these activities help in boosting employee morale, they add spice to the workplace and provide unique team-building opportunities.
Offer Unusual Paid Time Off
Apart from the usual paid vacation time off, offer special days when teams can do volunteer work and contribute their time and skills to worthy causes. You can organize activities like assisting in a soup kitchen, providing food for a food bank, or even pitching in to distribute food and supplies during a calamity. Activities like these make employees feel they’re making a positive impact on their community and this can greatly boost morale.
You’ll be surprised how even the simplest trophies, plaques, or awards can have an impact on employee morale. In one study, it was found that when people are recognized for an “artificial advancement”, or given a symbol of recognition (like a trophy), they would become more persistent in pursuing the next achievement or work harder towards a bigger goal. It may appear trivial, but giving employees something to mark their achievement, such as a special trophy or plaque from Martin Awards does more for morale than once thought.
The freebies you give at the office don’t have to be grand. Apart from the water cooler, you can give free snacks or even full meals on occasion. Gift checks for restaurants, stores, or even for a spa day can be given out to deserving employees. You can even have quarterly freebies, such as a special screening of the latest blockbuster movies, watching plays, or attending music festivals. Special visits to museums or art galleries whether for teams or the whole company can be good for employee morale.
When giving incentives or awards to hard-working employees, it doesn’t always have to be cash. There are always other ways of rewarding excellent employees and making them feel valued and appreciated. Don’t discount the value of non-cash incentives as these are good morale-boosters, and employees with high morale will work hard to make your business grow and thrive.