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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Non-monetary incentive

A non-monetary incentive is effective when combined with monetary rewards, as they address different aspects of employee motivation. While monetary incentives provide tangible benefits, non-monetary incentives focus on intrinsic motivation, recognition, and work-life balance. By offering a combination of both, organizations can create a well-rounded rewards system that caters to different employee needs and preferences.

What are non-monetary incentives?

Non-monetary incentive is a reward that go beyond monetary compensation. They can take various forms such as recognition, flexible work hours, professional development opportunities, or even a simple thank-you note. These incentives aim to create a positive and supportive work environment where employees feel appreciated and valued for their contributions. By offering non-monetary incentives, organizations can enhance employee satisfaction and ultimately drive better performance and productivity.

Listen, recognize, award, and retain your employees with our Employee engagement software  

Where can non-monetary incentives be implemented?

Non-monetary incentives can be integrated into various areas of the workplace to maximize their impact. Here are some key areas where you can implement non-monetary incentives:

  • Performance evaluations: Incorporate non-monetary incentives into your performance evaluation process to recognize and reward employees who consistently exceed expectations or demonstrate exceptional skills. This can include verbal or written appreciation, public recognition, or opportunities for professional growth.
  • Team building activities: Use non-monetary incentives to encourage teamwork, collaboration, and a positive work culture. For example, organize team-building activities or events that promote employee bonding and create a sense of belonging.
  • Project milestones: Reward employees when they achieve significant milestones or complete projects successfully. This can be done through public recognition, small celebrations, or even additional time off.

When should non-monetary incentives be used?

Non-monetary incentives can be used regularly to maintain motivation and engagement among employees. However, there are also specific occasions when they can be particularly effective. 

Here are some instances when non-monetary incentives should be used:

  • Employee anniversaries: Recognize employees' loyalty and commitment by celebrating their work anniversaries. This can include personalized messages, small gifts, or even a dedicated event to honor their contributions.
  • Exceptional accomplishments: Reward employees who go above and beyond to achieve exceptional results or contribute significantly to the organization. Publicly acknowledge their efforts and provide non-monetary incentives such as additional time off or special privileges.
  • Challenging projects or tasks: Offer non-monetary incentives to employees who take on challenging projects or tasks. This can include additional resources, professional development opportunities, or recognition for their efforts in overcoming obstacles.
  • Employee suggestions and innovations: Recognize employees who provide valuable suggestions or innovative ideas that contribute to organizational growth. This can be done through special recognition, rewards, or involvement in decision-making processes.

Why do non-monetary incentives have a greater impact over monetary incentives?

While monetary incentives are important for meeting employees' basic needs, non-monetary incentives can have a greater impact on long-term motivation and engagement. Here's why non-monetary incentives are often more effective:

  • Emotional connection: Non-monetary incentives create an emotional connection between employees and the organization. When employees feel appreciated and valued beyond their paycheck, they develop a sense of loyalty and commitment that goes beyond monetary compensation.
  • Intrinsic motivation: Non-monetary incentives tap into employees' intrinsic motivation by recognizing their achievements, providing opportunities for growth, and fostering a positive work culture. Intrinsic motivation is a powerful driver of employee engagement and satisfaction.
  • Personalization: Non-monetary incentives can be tailored to individual preferences and needs, creating a personalized experience for employees. This personal touch enhances the impact of the incentives and reinforces the message that employees are valued as individuals.
  • Long-term impact: Non-monetary incentives have a lasting impact on employee morale and loyalty. Unlike monetary incentives, which provide short-term gratification, non-monetary incentives contribute to a positive work environment and foster long-term motivation and engagement.

While monetary incentives are essential, organizations should not overlook the power of non-monetary incentives in driving employee satisfaction and performance.

When should businesses reevaluate their non-monetary incentives program?

Businesses should regularly reevaluate their non-monetary incentives program to ensure its effectiveness and alignment with the organization's goals. Here are some situations that warrant a reevaluation:

  • Changing employee needs and preferences: As employees' needs and preferences evolve over time, it is essential to reassess the non-monetary incentives program to ensure it remains relevant and impactful. Conduct surveys or focus groups to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement or modification.
  • Shifting organizational goals: If the organization's goals or priorities change, it may be necessary to realign the non-monetary incentives program. Ensure that the incentives support the new objectives and motivate employees to contribute towards the organization's vision.
  • Declining employee satisfaction or engagement: If employee satisfaction or engagement levels decline, it may indicate that the existing non-monetary incentives are not effectively motivating the workforce. Reevaluate the incentives program and identify areas where improvements can be made to reinvigorate employee motivation.
  • Benchmarking against industry standards: Regularly benchmark the non-monetary incentives program against industry standards to ensure that the organization remains competitive in attracting and retaining top talent. Stay updated on new trends and practices to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Evaluation of impact and ROI: Regularly evaluate the impact and return on investment (ROI) of the non-monetary incentives program. Analyze the outcomes, employee feedback, and performance metrics to identify areas where adjustments can be made to maximize the program's effectiveness.

How can non-monetary incentives boost employee motivation?

Non-monetary incentives can have a significant impact on employee motivation. Here's how they can boost motivation in the workplace:

  • Recognition and appreciation: Non-monetary incentives, such as verbal or written appreciation, can make employees feel valued and recognized for their hard work. This boosts their motivation by reinforcing their sense of purpose and contribution to the organization.
  • Work-life balance: Flexible work hours or the option to work remotely are non-monetary incentives that can contribute to a better work-life balance. When employees can balance their personal and professional responsibilities, they are more likely to feel motivated and satisfied with their work.
  • Personal growth and development: Offering non-monetary incentives such as opportunities for professional growth, training, or mentorship programs can motivate employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. This benefits the employees individually and leads to improved performance for the organization.
  • Autonomy and empowerment: Non-monetary incentives that promote autonomy and empowerment, such as allowing employees to make decisions or take ownership of projects, can significantly boost motivation. When employees feel trusted and empowered, they are more likely to be proactive in achieving goals.
  • Healthy competition and rewards: Non-monetary incentives that involve healthy competition, such as recognition for top performers or rewards for achieving specific targets, can fuel motivation. These incentives create a sense of achievement and encourage employees to strive for excellence.

By incorporating these elements into non-monetary incentives, organizations can create a motivating and engaging work environment that drives employee performance.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

How can non-monetary incentives contribute to employee retention?

Non-monetary incentives play a crucial role in employee retention. Here's how they contribute to the long-term satisfaction and loyalty of employees:

  • Sense of value and recognition: Non-monetary incentives make employees feel valued and recognized for their contributions. When employees believe their efforts are appreciated, they are more likely to stay with the organization and continue to perform at their best.
  • Work-life balance: Non-monetary incentives that promote work-life balance, such as flexible work hours or the option to work remotely, contribute to employee retention. When employees have the flexibility to balance their personal and professional responsibilities, they are more likely to stay with the organization.
  • Opportunities for growth: Non-monetary incentives that provide opportunities for professional growth, such as training programs or mentorship initiatives, contribute to employee retention. When employees see a clear path for advancement and development, they will stay and invest in their long-term career growth.
  • Positive work culture: Non-monetary incentives contribute to a positive work culture that fosters teamwork, collaboration, and mutual support. When employees feel a sense of belonging, they are more likely to stay with the organization and form long-lasting relationships with their colleagues.
  • Employee well-being: Non-monetary incentives that prioritize employee well-being, such as wellness programs or additional time off, contribute to employee retention. When employees feel supported and cared for, they are more likely to stay with the organization and maintain their commitment to their work.

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