“Non-financial rewards are better for the long-term commitment of your team members.”

Once in a while you and your team need to put extra miles in work, either preparing a product release or pulling several overnights in building and preparing your product. Those extra efforts need to be appreciated to maintain excellent team morale. A 2013 ResearchGate study found that kind of non-monetary reward is a better motivator for long-term engagement than monetary rewards. Money isn’t the only reward your team members want. Non-financial rewards are connected strongly with motivation and will satisfy them it the long run. We will give you three great ideas on the best non-financial rewards you can give to your team without hurting your finance.

1. Free Time “Awards”

As the alternative to payout, you can give free time or time off to your team/individual. They can still opt for a cash payout or free time. You will never fully understand the personal financial situation of your team members, but more often than not, time is more precious than money. Don’t be a surprise if some people will request free time over money. The team/individual can use the time for everything without feel guilty about it. They may use it for people they love, hobbies, or other activities they haven’t get a chance to do. You can also offer them choice between a cash payout or free time, in case they prefer cash over time.

2. Dream Team Vacation

The second option will be a team vacation or something like that (no work whatsoever!). Plan and involve your team on the details about the dream vacation they want to have. The team vacation will strengthen the bonds inside your team. All of you are cooperating to have fun. Isn’t it sounds splendid?

According to a study by the Site International Foundation and the Incentive Travel Council, 96% of employees say they are motivated by travel incentives. The 72% who earn the reward say that they feel increased loyalty to the company. The U.S. Travel Association also revealed that in order to achieve the same effect of incentive travel, your team members’ total base compensation would need to be increased by 8.5%. So, it can be a good choice for your company’s finance too.

3. Stock Options

For those that constantly perform well after a year or two, offer them employee stock ownership program so their contribution will also be rewarded in the long run. Stock ownership program gives team member the right to buy a specified number of a company's shares at a fixed price for a specified period of time. It is usually for around ten years. After they have been with the company for a long time, they will be fully vested in the program. When they want to leave before fully vested, those options are cancelled.

The stock ownership programs are generally authorized by the company's board of directors and approved by the shareholders. These programs usually serve as a reward for the team members who are sticking around and long-term motivators. By taking part in the stock ownership programs, they will feel more obliged to stay and give their best to the company. That’s the effect of their sense of ownership to a part of the shares. Your team members will feel more like an actual vital part of your company.


Rewarding the extra miles taken by your team is a way to keep them and maintain top morale of your team. More often than not, non-financial rewards will be useful for long-term retention and engagement. However, other than these rewards, you must also make efforts to set a compelling direction for team members, engage in honest communication and allow negative feedback, provide opportunities for growth, as well as recognize high performances. The rewards combine with these efforts will make the team members feel happy to be in your company. Their happiness surely a good thing for their loyalty and motivation to give back more to you and your company.

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