What Are Non-Financial Incentives?

Cindy Quarters

When trying to attract highly skilled employees, financial incentives are important, and a raise in pay or a good benefits package is often what will bring new employees to a company. Keeping those employees once they have been hired, though, is not always simply a matter of financial incentives. Many times people will stay with a company for the non-financial incentives that are offered. These may include a chance to participate in making important decisions, opportunity for advancement, and recognition for a job well done.

Employees with often stay with a company for the non-financial incentives that are offered.
Employees with often stay with a company for the non-financial incentives that are offered.

It is important not to confuse non-financial incentives with financial incentives. Anything that costs the company money, such as stock options, health care benefits, or even free coffee, can be considered as either a direct or an indirect financial benefit. The employee does not receive the cash, but there is some type of cash value that can be attached to such things. Non-financial incentives do not equate to any particular amount of money, but these can be just as valuable when trying to retain good workers.

Allowing employees to participate in the decision-making process can be one of the non-financial incentives that is highly motivating. The ability to have a say in what happens in the company, particularly as it affects the employees taking part in the decision, can help people to feel respected and included, and that the company values their input. Employees are much more likely to feel appreciated when the company solicits their input for important decisions.

Recognition for a job well done is another of the non-financial incentives that can help an employee to feel that the company is aware of the work he or she is doing and appreciates it. Bonuses and raises are certainly valuable, but not always practical. Often, a company may provide nothing more than a certificate of appreciation, yet employees who are thus recognized tend to report a higher level of job satisfaction than those who receive nothing. Simply being singled out for praise for an accomplishment is often an incentive for employees to try harder.

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The opportunity for advancement within the company is among the most valued of the non-financial incentives. With advancement may come increased pay and benefits in addition to personal satisfaction. Knowing that they will be able to move up within the company is a powerful motivator for many employees. Other types of non-financial incentives include things as simple as the employee’s job title. Many people prefer to have job titles that sound more important, such as sanitation engineer rather than garbage man or sales executive instead of salesman.

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