When developing strategic employee rewards programs, organizations run into all sorts of advice and options. One principle is true for all of them, however.

There is no one-reward-fits-all when it comes to employee motivation.

Do cash and bonuses still appeal to many employees? Sure. But recent research has continually shown that for sustainable, long-term employee motivation, cash isn’t king.

Below are three simple ways to change up your rewards in order to boost employee motivation.

Simple Ways to Boost Employee Motivation

1. Add Variety

Even if the majority of your employees say they’d like cash or gift cards as rewards, simply offering a variety of options along with these — for instance, a spa package, tickets to a family-friendly event, or a catered lunch for their team — will make the reward more meaningful and boost employee motivation.

The results of a study of Israeli semiconductor workers proved this. After offering a mix of cash and other bonuses to employees:

  • Non-monetary bonuses boosted performance slightly better than monetary ones
  • Monetary bonuses affected performance more when the employee had a mix of options and chose them
  • When an employee incentive option was taken away from the mix, the impact of the remaining bonuses went down

2. Offer More than Monetary Items

It should come as no surprise that many factors affect employee motivation — so why don’t your rewards reflect that?

Go beyond monetary rewards and incorporate causes or employee motivations that are more meaningful. Your employees may be passionate about supporting local businesses, charities, or their teams at work for instance.

Adding local business gift cards, charitable donations, or the ability to “pool” individual rewards into a team experience is a way to find the sweet spot when it comes to employee motivation and rewards.

3. Tie Rewards to (Spontaneous!) Recognition

Recognition is a power tool when it comes to boosting employee motivation. Unlike a trophy or pre-determined bonus, spontaneous recognition for great work isn’t something that an employee can anticipate.

It sends a message to an employee that the work they’re doing is something that they should do more of. It builds a connection between the people giving and receiving recognition. It can build meaning and show an employee their impact.

Supporting that recognition with employee rewards — even small ones relative to common end-of-year bonuses — amplifies the employee motivation-boosting power of both rewards and recognition.

You don’t have to take a wait-and-see approach to rewards when it comes to employee motivation. Here at YouEarnedIt, we’ve seen how rethinking rewards, recognition, and other aspects of the employee experience translates into real ROI at hundreds of organizations. Adding variety to your rewards, offering more than monetary items, and tying them to spontaneous recognition are simple ways to start.

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About YouEarnedIt
YouEarnedIt amplifies company culture through its award-winning employee experience platform that delivers engagement, retention, performance management, and improved business metrics. As a dominant force in the HCM market with an industry-leading retention rate, YouEarnedIt partners with more than 400 global organizations to build high-performance cultures and engaged workforces. Founded in 2013, YouEarnedIt continues to revolutionize the employee experience with its platform based on the science of motivation, rewards, and recognition. To request a demo, visit www.youearnedit.com/demo

Skyler Rogers