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Recognition Intervention Strategies

Best Non-monetary Ways to Reward Staff [2.5.1.b]

When implementing a program that includes informal recognition, it is important to utilize the most effective non-monetary rewards. In a recent survey conducted by Accountemps, workers and chief financial officers (CFOs) were asked: "Other than financial rewards, which one of the following is the most effective means of motivating employees?" Of those asked, 35 percent of workers and 30 percent of CFOs cited frequent recognition of accomplishments as the most effective non-monetary reward. In other words, employees want to be personally thanked for a job well done and know their work is appreciated and makes a difference.

Regular communication
was the second most common response, cited by 20 percent of workers and 36 percent of CFOs. Other common responses include: giving employees increased responsibility (17 percent of workers; 20 percent of CFOs); and off-site team building events (10 percent of workers; 8 percent of CFOs).

Perhaps surprisingly, more time off and flexible work schedules were ranked very low in helping to motivate staff. These incentives may be valuable in increasing loyalty over the long term, but perhaps there is no substitute for inspiring employees on a daily basis through words and actions.[1]

Other creative ways to show appreciation to employees with little cost to the organization include:[2]
  • Offering flexible scheduling or telecommuting days for employees who don’t need to follow a regular schedule;
  • Sending hand-written “thank-you” notes on personal stationary;
  • Creating “free day” coupons for employees to take a day off without using vacation or sick time;
  • Taking the team out for lunch;
  • Giving out “lazy Monday” coupons to allow team members to come in late or take a Monday morning off; and
  • Copying senior staff members when emailing a team member to say “thank you”.
The following resources provide more information on informal recognition and ways to implement it:

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