10 Best Non-Monetary Awards for Employee Recognition

Organizations are now increasingly waking up to the fact that the best non-monetary awards can often prove to be more effective than any cash rewards to motivate and engage employees. In fact, an increasing number of employees prefer to be recognized and appreciated in ways that go beyond financial benefits. This article explores the best non-monetary awards for employee recognition.

Advantages of Non-monetary Recognition

There is little doubt about the fact that receiving some extra money as an incentive for their efforts and achievements is an idea welcomed by most individuals. At the same time, any such financial benefit is often considered to be nothing more than a temporary benefit, rather than recognition of their hard work and contribution towards organizational growth.

Employees often prefer non-financial recognition, which they consider to be a more interesting, memorable and effective way for organizations to acknowledge and appreciate high-performing employees.

In addition to ensuring greater employee satisfaction, such recognition proves advantageous and organization in the following ways.

1. It acts as a great motivational tool in enhancing the sense of loyalty and engagement of the employees.

2. It offers a more creative and effective way to appreciate employees for their good work and inspires them to continue doing so.

3. It is the most cost-effective of all the different types of employee recognition methods and hence can be implemented by organizations of all sizes.

4. It makes the whole experience of being recognized and appreciated truly amazing for the employees and encourages their o-workers to put in their best efforts.

A study performed by the Incentive Research Federation for the Incentive Marketing Association has revealed that 65% of employees prefer non-monetary incentives over monetary rewards.

A lunch with the manager, a trip to the hill station, or an extra day off is likely to prove more impactful than any extra amount of money that the employees might not even remember what they spent on.

What are the Best Ideas for Non-monetary Awards?

In order to get the above-discussed benefits of non-monetary recognition, it is important to do some research on the various options available. While there are numerous ideas that can be categorized as nonmonetary awards, not all of them might suit the unique recognition needs of the organization and its employees.

However, there are a few top ideas that can be implemented by almost every organization irrespective of its size and operating model. Here are the top ten such ideas:

1. Flexible work timing/ Time-off

Most employees today strive to attain a great work-life balance, hence providing them with the freedom to work flexible hours helps them to fulfil this objective. This can be one of the most satisfactory employee recognition ideas.

2. Extra paid leave

Providing employees with a couple of additional paid off days can enhance their happiness significantly. Being able to spend a bit more quality time with family and friends enables them to relax and keeps them motivated.

3. Choice of projects

Another effective way to recognize the achievements of employees is to allow them to choose their next project. In addition to making the employees feel truly appreciated it strengthens their sense of reliability and commitment.

4. Organize a luncheon

Organizing a formal lunch in honor of the employee to be recognized is one of the most popular employee recognition practices. It is better to choose an out-of-office restaurant to minimize stress and have more fun.

5. Provide career opportunities

Enabling the employees to step into the shoes of their supervisors or managers is also a great way to recognize them. It also helps them to access their suitability for such roles.

6. Handwritten letter of appreciation

Rather than sending the usual employee recognition email, delivering a handwritten letter of appreciation can prove more effective. It helps the employees to feel valued and gives them a sense of belonging.

7. Make use of a brag board

Set up a board in the workspace where other employees leave short notes of appreciation for the employee for a specific duration. Being recognized by peers can prove to be a great motivator.

8. Do the genie act

Learn about one specific desire of the employee that can be fulfilled by the organization and make sure that it is done. This might require managers and supervisors to do extensive research.

9. Help them learn a new skill

In order to remain competitive, employees need to constantly upgrade their skills. Providing assistance in this context to deserving employees can actually prove to be an effective method of recognition.

10. Arrange a meeting with their role model

Most employees draw inspiration from one or more senior executives, whom they consider to be their role models. Arranging a one-on-one meeting with this executive can prove extremely gratifying and rewarding for the employee.


Our suggestions on the best non-monetary awards provide a cost-effective way of assuring the employees that they are valued and appreciated for their hard work and contribution and this, in turn, enhances their sense of belonging and loyalty.

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