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Non-Monetary Ways to Thank Employees

  • Human Resources
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 02/10/2016

non monetary ways thank employees
Businesses often seek creative ways to reward their employees for a job well done, but want to find alternatives to pay raises and cash bonuses. Here are three ways to consider thanking your employees without offering cash.

Table of Contents

Non-monetary rewards can play a major role in keeping your staff motivated. While most owners and managers want to show their appreciation for a job well done, many companies lack the budget to give cash awards to employees, or the ability to find a non-taxable alternative to cash. Here are some options that may fall within your budget and appeal to a wide cross-section of employees.

Differentiating Between Performance and Holiday

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), one of the most important aspects to consider when developing holiday strategies is differentiating between performance recognition and holiday events or compensation. Many companies conflate the two. Yet it's important that your business has a clear strategy that workers understand. Employees want to see a clear financial progression of raises, bonuses, and other compensation related to their performance. Holiday-related compensation or celebrations should be treated as a separate item.

Events and Team Building

Some businesses choose to focus on celebratory events and team-building activities to show their appreciation. One option that's very popular is holding a holiday event such as a party or dinner gathering. The advantage of events is that it allows your workforce to celebrate together, building bonds outside of the office. A year-end party can be managed within a specific budget and with an eye toward your company culture and what's appropriate based on your company's financial performance.

Time Off

Beyond a cash bonus, perhaps the most valued potential gift that you can give employees is time off. Staff may want time to spend with their families and friends, enjoy hobbies outside of work, devote time to the holidays, or simply rest. There are a few different approaches to gifting time away from work, from granting bonus days off during the holidays, to a floating day off that employees can use as needed. In other cases, providing time off to your employees may be as simple as allowing staff to go home early. This is one way to grant time off without adding to your employees' paid-time-off (PTO) allotment; however, employees would still be taxed on the wages they earn while they’re not working.

Gift Cards or Small Gifts

In other cases, companies have opted to give small gifts to employees. There are numerous ways to approach this. Gift cards are an extremely popular option, though they are generally taxable. Others choose perishable gifts, from dessert items to fresh fruit. Many HR departments choose branded items that their staff can use, whether it's monogrammed clothing items or a practical gift such as an external hard drive. A small gift can show recognition to your employees without being a major hit to the bottom line.

Taking the time to offer a gift or experience to your employees can help boost morale and show your appreciation. Remember, those rewards don't always have to be cash-based. From time off to celebratory parties and creative gifts, there are many ways you can say thank you to your employees in the season ahead.


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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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