Studies are continually showing that cash incentives are not the way to motivate employees, with non-cash incentives leading the way in driving sales and performance. According to Rules of Engagement, cash is impersonal and can have an adverse effect on motivating staff, quickly losing its connection as to why the prize was awarded. Cash gets lost on bills and forgotten about, whereas non cash incentives such as restaurant vouchers allow an employee to treat themselves to a memorable experience.
When an employee receives a reward that is personal and offers a positive feeling, they feel pride in their achievement and often share their experience. They talk to other members of staff about their delicious meal in a fine dining restaurant and motivate others to work equally hard in the fight to have the same wonderful experience. Cash on the other hand is rarely bragged about.
The key to choosing a non cash incentive is to give something that offers choice. Not everyone will appreciate a crystal vase or an expensive pen.
It also needs to be attainable and offer the sense that the reward is almost in reach. A ten-year thank you gift seems a long way off.