Retaining talented employees can be difficult. With over half of job separations for new hires being voluntary in 2016, it’s becoming more necessary to build employee loyalty in non-traditional ways.1 A 2010 survey at Grasim Industries Ltd. found that most employees 20 to 40 years of age are in favor of tangible non-monetary rewards.2 This means incentives that make an employees’ work day better, that they can share with friends and family, or that they simply use personally outside of the office. In all cases, the incentives must be valuable to employees. Here are 15 non-monetary incentives for employee recognition you can offer to reward engaged employees and grow a stronger team.

Individual Workplace Incentives

The Wall of Fame: incentives-icon-wall.png

It might seem old fashioned, but peer-to-peer recognition at your office through a “Wall of Fame” motivates employees and rewards talent based on day-to-day successes managers might not always see.3 These peer to peer recognition programs like this can even be made social through cloud-based, free software like Globoforce and Achievers.

A Get-Out-Of-Work Card: incentives-icon-day-off.png

Who wouldn’t like the idea of being able to throw down a card and claim an extra day of PTO in exchange for a job well done? Offering employees a chance at adding a valuable day off to their calendar could help them to pull through on more difficult projects. If you opt for this incentive, the extra PTO should be subject to all pre-existing company policies on paid leave so business can continue without too much interruption.

Conference Perks: incentives-icon-conference.png

Not every conference is hosted at your city’s downtown hotel Ballroom C. If your employees attend conferences that require travel, make it an incentive. If the team reaches one benchmark, maybe you upgrade their airfare or hotel. Second benchmark, make them reservations at a restaurant and pick up the bill. You could even make attending the conference itself the incentive, if it’s not essential to attend but you know your employees will learn and grow.

Team Workplace Incentives

Catered Lunches: incentives-icon-lunch.png

According to a survey by delivery app Seamless, 60% of people claim that having lunch at the office catered would make them feel more valued and appreciated.4 This incentive is one you can use to motivate employees often, and keep it fresh by changing up the caterer. Make sure to account for any dietary restrictions.

Office Parties: incentives-icon-party.png

Research by Glassdoor points to corporate culture as the most effective non-monetary means of increasing employee engagement.5 Office parties, whether during or after work hours, encourage employees to bond with each other, and help develop office culture. Outside of keeping employees engaged and excited, a clearly defined corporate culture is a marketable aspect of a business that helps attract and retain talent.

It might seem old fashioned, but peer to peer recognition at your office through a “Wall of Fame” motivates employees and rewards talent based on day-to-day successes managers might not always see.

Allow Pets: incentives-icon-pets.png

A study by The Virginia Commonwealth University found an 11% decrease in employee stress when they allowed pets to come to the office, as compared to a 70% increase in stress when employees had to leave their pets at home.6 Giving your employee with pets a chance to keep their furry friends around could be good not just for their stress, but for the whole team’s morale. If this incentive sounds appealing, check with your property manager to make sure animals are allowed on site, and consider designating certain pet-friendly areas or days.

Studies show that employees want recognition and gratitude more fiercely than money.

Bring in a Masseuse: incentives-icon-massage.png

Reducing employees’ stress and combating the tension of sedentary work environments can be as simple as hiring a masseuse for office visits once a month. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, the range of benefits for employees includes stress reduction and improved morale.7 Plus, you get the added benefit of being a hero for your team; who wouldn’t feel appreciative of their job during a much-needed massage?

Extracurricular Incentives

Tickets and Gift Cards: incentives-icon-tickets.png

Whether it’s concerts, sports events, plays, etc, finding out what your employees appreciate and securing tickets for them will help them feel valued and recognized. Gift cards are also a simple and useful way to encourage. Consider gift cards for things employees might neglect when they’re busy, like oil changes and carwashes.

Non-Work-Related Classes: incentives-icon-classes.png

Cooking classes, martial arts, painting, literature; when your employees leave the office, what are they passionate about? Giving employees the chance to earn a class related to their hobbies gets them excited, and employers get more enriched employees. Consider building a list of eligible classes for employees to choose from to control costs of this non-financial incentive.

Studies show that employees want recognition and gratitude more intensely than money.8 Retaining talent doesn’t stop at hiring the right people. Non-monetary incentives like these create better corporate culture, increase motivation, show employees you care, and protect your bottom line all at once.