Retaining talented employees is becoming increasingly difficult—more so with millennials. With over half of job separations for new hires being voluntary in 2016, it’s becoming increasingly vital for companies to build employee loyalty in non-traditional ways. A recent survey found that most employees between 20-40 years of age are in favor of tangible non-monetary rewards. This means incentives that make employees’ work day better, or have lasting effect on them—especially those that they can share with friends and family—are likely to result in lifelong employee loyalty. In all cases, the incentives must be viewed as valuable by the employees rather than those conceived by management in isolation. Here are a few non-monetary incentives for employee recognition a company can offer to reward engaged employees [or loyal clients for that matter] and grow a stronger team.

Individual Workplace Incentives

The Wall of Fame:

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. These peer-to-peer recognition programs like this can even be made social through free software applications now available [like Globoforce and Achievers].

A Get-Out-Of-Work Card:

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. Needless to say, 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:

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.

Incentive Trips:

The above incentives have measurable impact on employee performance and engagement.  But nothing impacts employee performance more than the prospect of a trip to an exotic destination with a partner.  Studies have shown that the beneficial impact of a well-planned and executed incentive trip far exceeds its monetary costs in improved performance and ultimate profitability.  While monetary rewards may motivate employees briefly, the prospects of an all-expenses-paid trip to a desirable destination along with an employee’s partner—or even family—will create a deep-rooted competitiveness to excel.  Depending how an incentive trip is structured, it can not only enhance performance but also foster employee engagement.  Some companies opt for monetary incentives for ease of administration. However, an incentive trip will likely have far more beneficial impact on the company’s bottom line if it is appropriately designed and implemented.

GMS Global Management Services, Inc. is a boutique incentive agency and event planning company with offices throughout the US and Canada.  We specialize in custom-tailored incentive programs that guarantee improved performance and profitability.