Noncash Employee Rewards

The most powerful bonus reward for distribution center (or any) employees is cash compensation—we all know that. But what happens if you don’t have the money to recognize your star staffers? According to Smyrna, GA-based Johnson Stephens Consulting, there are some rewards you can offer employees that don’t involve cold, hard cash. Just keep in mind that when it comes to employee recognition awards or incentives, sometimes you get what you pay for.

The easiest reward is simple praise or verbal recognition, which cost nothing. Praise will influence improvements in work ethic and performance—depending on the effectiveness of the manager sharing the praise. Most managers have used praise to influence the workforce to reach normal or accepted levels of performance. But due to the lack of real value as a reward, praise will probably not help you exceed these levels of performance.

Another nonfinancial type of reward is visual recognition. This can can add substance to the reward and provide added motivation for some workers. These rewards can include:

  • Honor board/wall of fame
  • Plaque
  • Hats or shirts
  • Meals
  • Parking spaces

These rewards work best with the “achievers” in the workforce – those who want to be recognized for doing more than others. The motivation provided by these rewards evolves from friendly competition among peers.

Non-cash financial rewards can be used to involve those who do not respond to nonfinancial rewards, typically offered when policies, procedures, or management decisions prohibit the payment of cash-based bonuses. Reward possibilities in this category include:

  • Additional paid vacation
  • Early dismissal with full pay
  • Merchandise reward program
  • Travel reward program

Even when you’re not offering cash, remember that a rewards program must follow the TRUE principle outlined in the leadership book Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. Any form of recognition or reward must be TRUE – that is timely, responsive, unconditional, and enthusiastic.

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