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Great Ideas for Non-Monetary Rewards in the Workplace

written by: Eduard Ezeanu•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 9/12/2010

Getting and keeping employees motivated has become a strategic priority for modern organizations. There are many powerful non-monetary rewards in the workplace you can use. This article will explore some of the most important ones and help you understand how to make best use of them.

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    Great Ideas for Non-Monetary Rewards in the Workplace

    reward Monetary rewards are just one small part of the employee motivation equation. As a general rule, employees do require a big enough salary to take care of their basic needs. However, beyond that, an increase in salary does little to motivate most employees.

    We are complex beings with multiple needs. A good motivation system is one which acknowledges and addresses this broad range of needs, offering both monetary and non-monetary rewards. There are many non-monetary rewards in the workplace which an organization can use. Here are some of the most effective ones:

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    1. Learning experiences

    Almost every employee wants to develop and become a top professional in their field. Learning is the fundamental condition for this to happen. For this reason, an organization can effectively motivate employees by providing them quality learning experiences.

    These learning experiences can range from training programs, to coaching, to mentoring, to on-the-job training. There is a vast array of learning opportunities available. It is the responsibility of the organization to pick the best ones for each employee and invest in the growth of the people with the highest potential.

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    2. Autonomy

    Human beings have a natural need for autonomy. We want to do things on our own and to have the freedom of doing them as we please. This is why giving employees a high degree of autonomy is one of the best steps an organization can take.

    You can do this by insuring that once an employee reaches a certain level of professional competence, they are then free to do their job as they please, to be creative and to take initiative. This means that a lot of the responsibility and power of decision must move from the management to the ordinary employee.

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    3. Meaning

    One of the greatest discoveries of modern psychology is that in order to be happy, we need to have a sense of meaning in our lives and our work. This sense of meaning comes from undertaking activities which we perceive as highly valuable and which allow us to have a visible contribution.

    Unfortunately, many employees have repetitive, monotonous tasks which lack any real meaning for them. If you want your employees to feel motivated, you need to provide more meaningful work for them, in which they can make the best use of their strengths and create a significant change.

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    4. Recognition

    Every person wants to know that others appreciate them for their work and the results they bring. One of the best non-monetary ways you can motivate employees is by giving them recognition for their positive contributions.

    Most often, recognition takes the form of verbal praise. It is essential that managers get into the habits of recognizing a job well done and honestly praising employees for it. Praising has an even bigger motivational effect when it is done in public. A supportive culture which recognizes the merit of every person is a highly motivating one.

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    Of course, implementing such non-monetary rewards in th workplace is not always easy. Organizations often need to find creative ways to employ such rewards and even change their fundamental management style. This can require some time and effort, but it is an investment worth making.

    Image credit: Simon Howden /