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Money talks, of course, and is a way to motivate employees. But money is not always the chief motivator.

Want motivated workers? In my experience, recognition for good work is appreciated by 70 percent of workers. Also, it’s a great motivator for high performance, according to studies by two companies.

“Workplace technology today, such as gamification, provides many new opportunities for non-tangible recognition,” said Cindy Ventrice, author of “Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works,” (

“With nearly one-fifth of meaningful recognition being delivered virtually, it is clear that these methods can be effective,” she asserted.

Relationships matter

Employees want to feel they’re valued. When they feel appreciated, they improve their productivity, relate better to their co-workers — and again, they’re more loyal and productive.

Career development is also a factor for employee retention, and is the salient reason for their job contentment. Many employees regard opportunities for growth as the top reason they stay in an organization.

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

-John C. Maxwell

In every age demographic, other factors include employees’ relationship with the manager and pay increases.

Another top reason people stay in organizations – the opportunity to work with people they like. For them, working with people they like is highly motivating.

Types of non-financial incentives

Typically non-financial incentives can be listed in four categories:

  1. Recognition
  2. Reward
  3. Opportunity
  4. Flexibility

Recognition works in various ways: Enhanced decision-making, dinner with the big boss, a new office, and of course, receiving an award in a ceremony with co-workers.

Rewards can include paid parking or a transit pass, gift cards or vouchers.

Opportunities motivate employees when they are given a promotion, enhanced decision-making or an opportunity to lead teams, or paid training. And, here’s a biggie: Help employees to grow professionally.

Examples of flexibility are telecommuting or flexible-scheduling options, paid personal days.

So, get to know your employees – ideas abound – write a heart-felt note of appreciation, throw a party, ask for their ideas and share management rewards.

From the Coach’s Corner, more information on employee motivation:

Secrets in Motivating Employees to Offer Profitable Ideas – Savvy employers know how to profit from their human capital. Such knowledge is a powerful weapon for high performance in a competitive marketplace. Furthermore, there’s a correlation among excellent sales, happy customers, and high employee morale.

Tips for Marketing Your HR-Policy Changes to Employees – So you’ve identified workplace policies that need to be updated. But you want your policies to be accepted and followed by your employees. Employees are often uncomfortable with change even if it’s necessary for a business turnaround. Remember high morale among employees propels profits.

More Companies Know that High Morale among Employees Propels Profits – More companies are aware that employee engagement enables a better customer experience, which leads to higher performance.

Management: Coach Your Employees to Better Performance – In talent management, coaching, counseling and giving feedback is of utmost importance. But it’s a difficult challenge if you don’t have a coaching culture.

For Strong Profits, 5 Tips to Develop Employees as Leaders – Strong leaders will help your business grow and enjoy excellent profits. That’s because, as role models, they’re instrumental in helping you develop a performance culture.

Employees Will Help You in Strategic Planning If You Use 3 Tips – Have you developed your strategy? It’s important t o proceed without engaging in self doubt. But you’re concerned about involving your employees? There are three closely related basics in working with your employees to get their ideas.

“An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.”

-Bob Nelson


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.