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Non-Monetary Rewards In The Workplace

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Non-Monetary Rewards in the Workplace

The purpose of this paper is to discuss methods that can be used to motivate employees, and their effectiveness. Motivators, such as non-cash incentive programs, are commonly used methods to motivate employees. Non-monetary motivators, such as praise and recognition, a work environment of trust and respect, and professional growth and development are the most effective methods to motivate employees.

Many companies choose non-cash incentive programs to motivate employees. When used correctly, these programs can be very effective motivating tools. However, there are several conditions that must be present in order for this system to successfully motivate employees.

There are several advantages to non-cash incentive programs. Horne states, "...performance based incentive programs serve not only to increase productivity, but also to increase satisfaction and retention" (Horne 74). Employees are more willing to work hard and are happier in their jobs when they are rewarded for their performance. Non-cash incentives are effective tools to recognize employees and can be used often to consistently reward good performance.

Examples of non-cash incentives include merchandise credit, plaques, and certificates. These are effective motivators because "...employees will constantly be reminded of the incentive each time they look at the gift" (Arn, Darling and Gatlin 2). Contrary to monetary rewards, which can be spent and forgotten, non-cash incentives provide employees with a constant reminder that management appreciates their hard work.

In order for non-cash incentive programs to effectively motivate employees, several conditions must be met. First, these programs must be "fairly administered, with clearly communicated goals and criteria" (Horne 74). As with cash rewards, these rewards must be given fairly to ensure that all high performers are acknowledged. Employees will become unmotivated if they do not receive the same rewards as their equally performing peers receive.

Second, the rewards must be given promptly. Arn, Darling, and Gatlin state that, "To be effective, a reward program should provide spontaneous recognition and be directly related to job performance. When praise is given, specific information about what the employee had done to merit it should be mentioned" (Arn, Darling and Gatlin 3). Employees must know what behavior is being rewarded to effectively motivate them to continue that behavior. Similarly, fellow employees will be more motivated to work toward the same level of performance if they know that it will be appreciated and rewarded.

Third, companies must use incentive programs that are tailored to the needs of their employees. Arn, Darling, and Gatlin suggest that employees become involved in developing their own reward programs (Arn, Darling and Gatlin 3). Employees are much more likely to be motivated if they are able to choose their own rewards, rather than receiving a reward that they do not want.

There are several ways to motivate employees without tangible rewards. Abraham Maslow believed that people aspired to achieve self-actualization, which he defined as "freedom to effectuate one's own ideas, to select one's own friends and one's own kind of people, to 'grow,' to try things out, to make experiments and mistakes, etc" (Maslow 26). Thus, it is not realistic to keep employees motivated through a tangible reward system only. According to Covey, "Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival - to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated" (Covey 241). Companies that seek to meet these needs are more likely to be successful in keeping their employees motivated. There are several intangible motivators, including trust and respect, professional growth and development, and personal recognition.

First, Anderson and Pulich suggest that to keep employees motivated, they must feel that their working environment is one of trust and respect, where they are important contributors to the organization. Employees need to feel free to make decisions and recommend improvements to company practices (Anderson and Pulich 50-58). Maslow was in agreement with this idea, with his assumption that "...everyone prefers to feel important, needed, useful, successful, proud, respected, rather than unimportant, interchangeable, anonymous, wasted, unused, expendable, disrespected" (Maslow 28). Employees will be more motivated to perform at a higher level when they know that they will be respected for their ideas and opinions.

Second, professional growth and development is a major contributor to employee motivation. Part of self-actualization, according to Maslow, is the freedom to grow (Maslow 26). It is important



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