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Different Types of Non-Cash Employee Compensation

written by: Eduard Ezeanu•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 9/13/2010

Effective employee compensation goes beyond money. Using the right kind of non-cash employee compensation can create a visible boost in employee motivation and performance. It is a living manifestation of good human resource policies.

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    Different Types of Non-Cash Employee Compensation

    compensation Employee compensation and employee motivation are two complex organizational phenomenas. In this area, non-cash employee compensation presents good opportunities to enhance employee satisfaction, engagement, and results.

    Every person has an entire system of psychological needs, many of which cannot be satisfied with money. It is the non-cash employee compensations that can successfully address many of these needs. Here are some of the most valuable examples of such compensations:

    1. Training. Almost any employee wants to learn and to grow professionally. Sending them to training programs not only helps them grow, but it is also evidence that their potential is recognized within the organization.

    Training programs work best as a compensation method if they match the employee’s particular development needs and if they happen more than on an occasional basis. Also, it is best to aim for both hard skills and soft skills training.

    2. Flexible working hours. This kind of a non-cash employee compensation works well because it allows the employee to adapt his work schedule to his own desires and because it reflects trust in him to do his job well autonomously.

    Using flexible working hours as compensations means that an employee will work based on objectives, not on a certain fixed scheduled. As long as the objectives are well set and supervised, this method can work very well for both employee and employer.

    3. Involvement in important projects. The majority of employees want to be in the middle of things within the organization they work for. This makes them feel challenged and that they have a significant impact through their work efforts.

    For this reason, involving employees in more important projects than the ones they’re used to can be a good reward. Employees often associate these projects opportunities with a chance to learn, to prove themselves, and to advance in the organization.

    4. Office space improvement. The quality of office conditions typically matters quite a lot to employees, especially those who work mostly at the office. Thus, office space improvements represents a form of compensation with plenty of potential.

    This can imply various things to employees, from getting an office closer to a window, to their own closed office, to a new and better performing laptop. The point is not only to show the employee that you want to make his days at the office better, but also to actually achieve this.

    5. Symbolic awards. All human beings have a need to be appreciated and recognized by others. Symbolic rewards such as the title of “Employee of the Month" with a diploma or plaque, cost little money and can have a big emotional impact.

    One thing you can do in this context is to create motivation contests for employees, and give symbolic awards to the winners. As long as real skill and performance are awarded and appreciated, the actual financial value of the award often comes second place.

    Effectively using non-cash employee compensation does take some creativity and a good understanding of human needs. Equipped with these two qualities, you can leverage a wide range of methods to make best use of each employee’s potential.

    Image credit: BP America