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4 Non-monetary Incentives to Motivate Your Employees

By Jessica Valdez   |    October 20, 2017   |    9:46 AM


4 Ways You Can Leverage Gifts to Motivate Your Employees

Non-monetary incentives can be powerful tools that reduce turnover and ignite productivity. Here are some effective ways to motivate your team without increasing salaries.

Backed by Research

We've all heard that money talks; however, research suggests it doesn't always speak loudest. According to one study, employee gifts appear to drive motivation better than cash bonuses. In fact, this particular study found that the promise of an ordinary branded water bottle sparked a 25-percent boost in productivity; while the promise of a cash bonus had no impact on the speed or accuracy in which participants performed a task.

At first glance, these findings may be difficult for employers and employees to accept. After all, while people choose careers based on a number of reasons, most would say that money is a primary influence. Still, the research seems to indicate that underlying human tendencies cause us to view thoughtful acts of recognition more favorably when compared to financial bonuses. So, how can employers take advantage of this apparent perspective? By offering rewards that boost employee morale.

When to Hand Out Gifts

Given the positive impact of employee gifts, it makes sense for companies to take advantage. There are a number of ways to leverage gifts to fuel productivity and elevate worker morale. Some of the most effective options include:

  1. Rewards: A well-timed employee gift can make an employee feel valued after closing a big deal. It can also motivate other workers to elevate their games.

  2. Holidays: Whether it's Christmas or a birthday, any holiday provides an ideal opportunity for a business owner to use a gift to boost job satisfaction.

  3. Onboarding: A thoughtful welcome package can create a more seamless transition and cultivate goodwill among new hires.

  4. Prizes: When properly executed, prizes can promote healthy competition among employees.

Which Gifts Are Best

While a simple water bottle may not raise many eyebrows, the data suggest that workers feel more valued when employers make thoughtful gestures that demonstrate loyalty and appreciation. At the same time, common sense suggests that a company can amplify this impact by selecting higher-quality gifts that are relevant to its workforce.

When it comes to selecting the most effective employee gift, there is no single right answer. Market data indicates that branded tech gifts tend to evoke the most positive sentiment. That said, this all depends on the company, its industry and individual workforce demographics. For certain companies, branded golf gifts may hit home. For others, branded auto accessories might do the trick.

Just as they do with marketing, business owners need to know their target audiences if they want to effectively engage. In some instances, it may make sense to offer high-end gifts for holidays or a job well done. That said, a lot of research suggests that less expensive employee gifts can also have a significant effect, depending on the employees and office culture.

Most importantly, however, business owners need to get to know their workers, so they will understand which gifts will resonate best. This might mean planning more staff outings or corporate retreats. It might also mean more one-on-one meetings or maintaining an open-door policy. Whatever the case, by understanding your target audience, you can cultivate greater engagement with the people who make your business go.

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