Benefits and Compensation

Non-Cash Rewards–For the 6 Employee Types

Pros of Non-Cash Rewards

Daniels, who is senior consultant at Keating Advisors, LLC, offers the following advantages of non-cash rewards:

  • They are more memorable than cash rewards.
  • Non-cash rewards cost less.
  • Cash rewards can quickly become expected.
  • Non-cash rewards programs can be constantly reinvented.

Daniels offered her tips at a webinar sponsored by BLR® and HR Hero®.

Six Types of Employees

Daniels notes that research shows that there are six distinctly different employee types, and each might be attracted by a different type of reward.

1. Award Seekers

Award Seekers want rewards that have both monetary and trophy value. They are far less motivated by rewards that take time away from their normal routines, such as the opportunity to mentor other employees, work with people outside their own area or take on challenging new projects.

Reward preferences: Employee recognition awards, gift cards and travel awards.

2. Nesters

Nesters are turned off by rewards that take them away from home. Travel awards and the opportunity to attend conferences are least appealing to this group. Achieving a good balance between work and personal life is especially important.

Reward preferences: Days off, flexible scheduling.

3. Bottom Liners

Bottom Liners are less concerned about trophy or award value and are concerned most about the monetary value of rewards. They place little emphasis on receiving verbal or written praise. It is likely that if a company did not attach something of monetary value in their recognition efforts, their efforts would be considered ineffective with this group.

Reward preferences: Cash bonuses or cumulative award points programs that they can build to obtain rewards.

4. Freedom Yearners

Freedom Yearners are less materially motivated, with limited interest in things like gift cards and cumulative award programs. They are best rewarded by giving them flexibility. Freedom Yearners are often people who have already achieved a certain level of financial success and security and are more focused on doing work that is personally meaningful without an excessive amount of management interference.

Reward preferences: Flexible hours, freedom to choose how to achieve their goals, ability to choose interesting and challenging projects and opportunities to attend conferences.

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5. Praise Cravers

Praise Cravers value any type of praise more than any other segment. They have a great desire to have their work acknowledged, with or without an accompanying award of monetary value. This group has the least interest in days off or flexible scheduling, suggesting that they receive a great deal of personal satisfaction from a job well done that is recognized accordingly. Among this group, simple stated recognition of good work will have much greater impact than with most others.

Reward preferences: Verbal, written or formal praise from managers or informal praise by peers.

6. Upward Movers

Upward Movers are the most satisfied and committed among employee segments. They are the least interested in cash bonuses, days off and flexible scheduling. These people love their jobs and want to move up in the company.

Reward preferences: Status awards, meals with company management or opportunities to mentor other employees and work with people outside their areas.

Ideas for Common Non-Cash Rewards

Daniels suggests the following types of non-cash rewards:

  1. Recognition/Attention: A visit or e-mail from the president saying “thank you,” letter of recognition in employee’s personnel file, article in local/regional/national newspaper regarding employee’s achievement, highlighting employee in company newsletter or via organization’s intranet, recognition at team meeting
  2. Applause (e.g., plaques, trophies, true applause at the end of the day)
  3. Flex-time schedules
  4. Free or discounted parking
  5. One-on-one coaching
  6. Training (allowed to attend seminar of employee’s choice)
  7. Given a team leadership role or additional responsibilities
  8. Quarterly social office or team gatherings, sponsored by the organization
  9. Casual dress day
  10. Theme contests (sports, anniversaries, culture)
  11. Stress management or wellness services (in-office yoga, meditation, health food)

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