Employers often use cash as an award because it is easy to obtain and distribute to their employees. Yet, employees often times do not see it as an award because it is tied to their paycheck. As Claudio Ayub points out in his article, cash goes in one pocket and out the other to pay bills; recipients do not remember what they earned in a cash incentive program. While cash may be convenient for the employer, it is not always the best motivator for employees.
A study conducted by Aberdeen Group revealed that 63% of best-in-class companies use non-cash awards, emphasizing that those types of incentives are stronger motivators for employees. Ayub adds, “There is no trophy value in cash. When was the last time you bragged about a $100 bill?” Since cash coincides with a regular paycheck, providing employees with an alternative, especially an alternative they can choose themselves, proves to be exciting and highly motivating. Many successful companies are awarding their hard working staff with a selection of gift cards, placing trophy value on workplace incentives.
As mentioned in our previous blog post, The 10 Best Ways to Successfully Reward and Recognize Employees, it is more important than ever to entice your employees with relevant rewards. With that being said, there are two takeaways from that tip.
Imagine sitting in a comedy club watching a comedian bomb. It’s painful. People feel uncomfortable. Most likely, his timing is waaaay-way off.
In the workplace, managers aren’t comedians (generally), but they need to share a critical trait with comedians to keep things rolling in a manner that keeps everyone happy and engaged. They need: Great Timing.
Great Timing is everything. And it’s simple. But first, here’s what Great Timing in the workplace is not: It’s not quarterly, bi-annually, or end-of-year. And it’s not silent.
On the other hand, here’s what it is: Great Timing is recognizing, rewarding and celebrating successes as they occur, even if it’s a verbal “thank you” from the manager to the employee (even better when amplified in front of peers).
We are wired for rewards. Literally. In fact, when people receive a positive recognition or reward, it creates a shot of dopamine, sparked by the neurotransmitters in our brains. According to Kevan Lee in his article on the The Science of Motivation: Your Brain on Dopamine, “The brain can be trained to feed off of bursts of dopamine sparked by rewarding experiences.”
The dopamine shot is felt in many ways, including motivation, memory, behavior and cognition, attention, sleep, mood, and learning…leaving an imprint on our brains reminding us to repeat the behavior that earned the reward.
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