4 Not-So-Obvious Benefits of Non-Cash Incentive Programs

Motivation Excellence

Organizations are used to offering cash incentives as a way to motivate employees and contractors. Motivating the sales team with cash bonuses is a classic example. We take a different approach at Motivation Excellence. We prefer non-cash incentive programs such as personalized rewards for employees or travel incentives. We believe they can ultimately accomplish more than their cash alternatives.

The sky is truly the limit when it comes to coming up with non-cash incentives. We are big fans of travel experiences. But non-cash incentive programs can also reward employees and contractors with event tickets, merchandise, and points that can be redeemed for a variety of experiences.

Does your organization offer any non-cash incentive programs? If not, we encourage you to take a second look at how you incentivize your team. Below are four not-so-obvious benefits of going the non-cash route.

1. Adding Value to the Incentive

We prefer non-cash incentives because we believe they boost loyalty and increase the emotional connection between team members and employers. We see this happening in multiple ways, beginning with the concept of adding value to an incentive program.

Cash is valuable to employees. That much is true. But employees do not tend to think of the value of cash from the employer’s perspective. Cash compensation is just expected. Therefore, it can be easily taken for granted.

Non-cash incentives are different. Employees tend to attach more value to them. For example, offer your team 4–5-star travel experiences and they will associate those experiences with a higher value – even if they actually cost less than offering team members cash bonuses. It is the highly personal nature of travel that leads to the higher perception of value.

2. Creating an Emotional Bond

Non-cash rewards, like personalized gifts and tickets to popular events, are considered more thoughtful. It takes a lot more thought and effort to procure event tickets than it does to throw a few hundred dollars into a team member’s paycheck. That extra time and effort tells employees that they matter.

When employees feel valued, they are more likely to develop a positive emotional bond with their employers. The more personal an incentive program feels, the more successful it will be in its ability to incentivize. But more importantly, it will foster a stronger emotional bond.

3. Creating Camaraderie Rather Than Competition

With all our experience in non-cash incentive programs, we have discovered something curious: non-cash incentives are more likely to inspire camaraderie among team members. Take travel experiences once again. An entire team sharing similar travel experiences – even if they do not travel at the same time – have something in common. They bond over the shared experience.

On the other hand, cash incentives tend to foster competition. This is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. But sometimes, you want camaraderie rather than competition. Sometimes it is better for team members to want everyone to benefit from an incentive program rather than individuals competing for a single prize.

4. Better Alignment With Company Culture

Last but not least, non-cash incentive programs can be tailored to align with company culture. But that’s not all. Organizations can utilize non-cash benefits to change or enhance the company culture. This makes them a great tool for creating the kind of environment and culture an organization strives for.

Cash benefits do have a place at the table. But more often than not, non-cash incentive programs are where it’s at. They not only incentivize and inspire, but they also help increase loyalty and foster an emotional connection between team member and company. Non-cash incentive programs are definitely worth a solid look if your organization doesn’t currently use them. Contact us today to design your incentive and rewards program with us.

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