13 Great Employee Holiday Incentives That Are Better Than Cash

Best non-cash employee incentives for the holidays

In today’s business world, we’re often asked to do more with less. And with the holidays poking around the corner, it’s easy to cut employee gifts and rewards out of the budget.

But wait — there’s still room for employee gifts in your budget for the holidays if you’re willing to get creative. There’s even a benefit to non-cash employee incentives. According to the Incentive Research Foundation, non-cash employee incentives motivate your employees and increase performance better than cash. Employee incentives alone are known to increase employee morale and company engagement, as well as increase performance by at least 44 percent.

13 Great Employee Holiday Incentives That Are Better Than Cash

Hopefully these facts have caught your attention and you’re ready to hear the best part — non-cash employee incentives can be cheap or even free depending on your needs and budget restrictions.  They are better than cash according to the study.

Here’s a list of the best non-cash employee incentives for the holidays:

1. A vacation day. Add one vacation day on to your employees’ benefit package for the year.

2. New office furniture or equipment. If you’ve had some issues with old equipment in your office, consider ordering new office gear in lieu of gifts for the holidays.

3. The front parking spot or front office. Everyone likes a little luxury, so assign days for your employees to grab the best parking spot or switch offices with the CEO for the day. I know the latter sounds a little risky, but it could be fun!

4. Catered breakfast or lunch. This is self-explanatory, but provide a catered meal in honor of your employees’ hard work.

5. One free day to call off — no questions asked. Another risky business tactic, but I’m sure your employees will treasure this gift.

6. Letter of recognition in their employee file. Keeping the letter in their file will allow them to take it with them and serve as a letter of recommendation if they ever choose to leave the company.

7. Create a Wall of Fame. Showcase your awesome team by creating a Wall of Fame in your hallway, waiting area, or break room. Employees have to earn their time on the wall, of course!

8. Offer to swap projects between employees. A project swap will allow employees to negotiate and trade unwanted tasks and projects. This incentive also allows you to see who does well with new types of projects.

9. Stock the break room with each employee’s favorite food. Our employees minds are often run by food — so capitalize on that and stock up on their favorites for the holidays.

10. Be their mentor. Offering to mentor your employees is a great way to connect with your staff and provide career development opportunities.

11. Register them for a conference or training session of their choice. This is another great career development gift that should align with your employee retention goals, as well.

12. A simple thank you card. Just as job seekers are told to send a thank you note after an interview, you should also give a hand-written thank you card to your employees this year.

13. Public recognition for a job well done.  The simplest gift you can give is to publicly thank your employees.

Employee Incentive Systems and Motivation

Before you slash your employee gift budget for the holidays, think outside the box and consider new venues for thanking your employees for their time and efforts this year.   Create a formal employee incentives system that is consistent and drive employee motivation.  They’ll be sure to thank you for whatever you choose to do for them — and you might reap the benefits down the road.

What type of non-cash incentives have you received — or given — at work?

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Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended.

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