10 Ways to Reward Employees Other Than Money

By Katherine Muniz
September 9, 2016

What if we told you that some of the best rewards to give employees involve little to no money? Well, it’s true! Some of the most appreciated gifts involve experiences, time, and freedom. Here are a few non-monetary rewards/bonuses you can gift your employees:

1. Time Off

Extra time off is a treat that few would refuse. With studies now showing that the average workweek is 47 hours (far exceeding the modest estimate of 40), burnout is real. If you can afford to work without them in the office, why not offer them time off? Nearly anyone would like to have a little more time to themselves, especially a paid day or two.

2. Let them choose one day a week to work from home

Consider extending telecommuting privileges to them. It’s a great benefit that conveys your trust and adds flexibility and convenience to your employee’s schedule. If an employee is working hard enough to earn a bonus, all signs point to their ability to work independently without supervision. In fact, studies have found that employees who telecommute are actually more productive then they are in the office.

3. Lunch on the company

There are numerous sayings about food being the way to someone’s heart, so why not cater a meal for your staff? It’s a great way to say “thank you,” and a free lunch ensures no one will have to choose between brown-bagging it or spending money on food. Double-check everyone’s dietary preferences in order to cater to everyone.

4. Custom company gear

Who doesn’t love free swag? Ordering apparel or merchandise with your company logo unites as much as it markets, as the gifts will act as free exposure for your company when they’re worn or used! Granted, some people would prefer to have time off or a monetary bonus over company paraphernalia, so consider all your options beforehand. On the flip side, company swag is also a great welcome gift to give new employees joining the team.

5. Celebrate their accomplishments

There are multiple ways to celebrate an employee. You could set up a brag board in the office, prepare a short video montage celebrating their accomplishments, or even take a little time out of the day to have a quick party in honor of their achievements. You can even start a company “Wall of Fame” or name them an employee of the year.

6. Sponsor a fun class

You’d be surprised how many employees are interested in dabbling in different activities or hobbies outside work. If you can afford to, sponsor a class that piques everyone’s interest like cooking or painting. Not only will this be fun, it gives your employees an opportunity to bond in a new setting.

7. Pay for experience

If you appreciate the fine things in life, why not reward your employees with a one-time experience? It doesn’t have to break the bank either — ideas vary from tickets to a show to the services of a personal chef for the evening. An afternoon at a local spa or a free car wash will do too!

8. Appeal to their personal interests

If you know they have an affinity for certain hobbies like baseball or coin collecting, find a meaningful gift that caters to their interests, like tickets to a baseball game or a mint coin.

9. Give them a formal letter of appreciation for their personal file

Nothing is more valuable than a formal letter from a supervisor detailing the contributions of a star employee. Not only does this instill a sense of pride in the employee, but it also acts as tangible evidence of their excellent job performance, boosting their professional value.

10. Create a “day” pass

Create a “day pass” that they can turn in to redeem various privileges, i.e. taking a day off no questions asked, inviting their spouse to come to the office for lunch, working half a day, etc. Any of these are bound to put a smile on your employee’s face, and will certainly come in handy on days when they need it most.  While not all of these suggestions are 100 percent free, they are by and large very affordable, and a great alternative when you can’t or don’t want to just hand an employee a check. Money isn’t the only way to motivate your employees and say thank you — a little thought goes a long way.

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