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Employee Recognition

Non-Monetary Awards for Employees: Creative Ways to Show Appreciation


In the ever-changing landscape of remote work, one thing remains constant: the importance of employee appreciation. With employee recognition being most important to 37% of employees, finding ways to show how much you value employee contributions is essential. But how do you show your remote employees that you value their contributions when traditional in-office perks are not an option? Enter non monetary awards for employees, a creative and effective way to express gratitude and motivation.

Non monetary awards, as the name suggests, are recognition and rewards that don’t involve cash or financial incentives. They are gestures of appreciation that go beyond the paycheck and tap into the emotional and intrinsic motivators that drive employee engagement. In a world where 65% of employees prefer non-cash incentives, non monetary rewards emerge as a powerful and effective way to boost morale, transform engagement and cultivate a workplace culture of appreciation. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of non monetary awards for employees, explore their benefits, and provide you with practical tips and ideas for implementing an impactful non monetary awards program at your organization.

non monetary awards for employees

Difference between Monetary and Non Monetary Awards and How They Drive Motivation

Before we dive into the benefits of non monetary awards, let’s distinguish them from their monetary counterparts and understand how they can be powerful motivators.

Monetary awards typically involve cash bonuses, raises, or other financial incentives. While these can be effective in the short term, they often fail to create a lasting sense of appreciation or motivation. Remote employees, in particular, may not feel the same connection to cash rewards as they would in a physical workplace.

Non monetary awards, on the other hand, tap into intrinsic motivators like recognition, personal growth, and a sense of belonging. In fact, 46% of employees say that an unexpected reward like a snack, lunch, or thank you note from their bosses would make them feel more appreciated, proving that non-monetary rewards can be extremely impactful no matter how big or small. They create a more emotional bond between employees and their organization, fostering a positive work environment. This emotional connection can be especially vital for remote workers who may feel isolated at times.

The Benefits of Offering Non Monetary Awards

Certainly, let’s delve deeper into the benefits of offering non monetary awards for employees. These advantages are not only compelling but also underscore the significance of recognizing and appreciating your remote workforce.

Boosts Morale and Engagement:

Non monetary awards have a profound impact on employee morale and engagement. When employees receive recognition for their hard work and dedication, it validates their contributions and strengthens their connection to the company. Furthermore, 80% of employees would work harder if they felt better appreciated and 92% of workers are likely to repeat a specific action after receiving recognition for it. Remote workers, who often operate in isolation, can particularly benefit from this boost in morale.

Example Scenario: 

Imagine a remote employee who consistently meets or exceeds their targets receives a “Remote Rockstar of the Month” award. This recognition not only acknowledges their achievements but also inspires them to continue striving for excellence.

non monetary awards for employees

Fosters a Positive Work Culture:

Building a positive work culture is a top priority for organizations, especially in remote work environments where physical interactions are limited. Organizations can also cultivate positive cultures that incorporate and reinforce their purpose and mission especially given that 83% of HR leaders say employee recognition can strengthen organizational values. Non monetary awards play a pivotal role in creating a sense of community, collaboration, and belonging among remote teams.

Example Scenario: 

Hosting a virtual team appreciation event where employees are recognized for their unique contributions can foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging, strengthening the organizational culture.

Enhances Retention:

High employee turnover can be costly and disruptive to a business, in fact, the cost of replacing a trained employee can exceed 200% of their salary. Non monetary awards can significantly contribute to employee retention by making individuals feel valued and appreciated. When employees see that their efforts are acknowledged, they are more likely to remain committed to the organization.

Example Scenario: 

A remote employee who receives recognition for their consistent efforts may be less inclined to explore job opportunities elsewhere, as they feel a strong attachment to their current organization.

Encourages Personal Growth:

Non monetary awards can extend beyond recognition and lead to personal and professional growth opportunities. For remote employees, this can be particularly valuable, as they may seek ways to advance their careers while working independently.

Example Scenario: 

Offering remote employees access to specialized training or mentoring programs can not only show appreciation but also contribute to their skill development and career progression.


One of the notable advantages of non monetary awards is their cost-effectiveness compared to monetary incentives. Organizations with limited budgets can still provide meaningful recognition and motivation to their remote employees without the need for substantial financial investments.

Example Scenario: 

A company can implement a “Remote Hero of the Quarter” program, which includes a personalized certificate and public recognition, at minimal cost.

Non monetary awards offer a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond their initial impact. They contribute to a thriving work culture, enhance employee retention, and provide remote workers with a sense of purpose and growth opportunities. When thoughtfully implemented, these awards not only inspire remote employees but also strengthen the overall fabric of the organization, creating a more engaged and satisfied workforce.

non monetary awards for employees

Ideas of Non-Monetary Awards to Offer

Now that we understand the benefits of non monetary awards, let’s explore some creative ideas to show appreciation to your remote employees:

1. Personalized Thank-You Notes: 

A heartfelt, handwritten note from a supervisor or team leader can go a long way in expressing appreciation.

2. Flexible Work Hours: 

Offer flexible scheduling to allow employees to better balance work and personal life.

3. Professional Development Opportunities: 

Provide access to online courses, webinars, or workshops that align with employees’ career goals.

4. Mentorship Programs: 

Pair experienced employees with newcomers for mentorship and skill-sharing.

5. Virtual Team Building Events: 

Organize virtual team-building activities like trivia nights, escape room challenges, or cooking classes.

6. Recognition in Company Meetings: 

Celebrate achievements and contributions during team or company meetings.

7. Spotlight on Social Media: 

Recognize outstanding employees on your organization’s social media platforms.

8. Customized Swag: 

Send personalized company merchandise, such as branded mugs, t-shirts, or other items.

9. Employee of the Month Awards: 

Recognize top performers with an “Employee of the Month” award and a featured profile on your company’s website.

10. Extra Vacation Days: 

Grant additional paid time off to reward hard work and dedication.

Tips for Implementing a Non Monetary Awards Program 

Align with Company Values and Culture:

Ensure that your non monetary awards program aligns closely with your organization’s core values and overall culture. When recognition efforts resonate with the company’s mission and ethos, they become more meaningful to remote employees.


If one of your company’s core values is “Innovation,” you might consider recognizing remote employees who have contributed novel ideas or solutions to specific challenges.

non monetary awards for employees

Be Consistent in Recognition:

Consistency is key when recognizing remote employees. While it’s essential to acknowledge significant accomplishments, don’t limit recognition to just major milestones. Consistently recognize smaller achievements, too, as they contribute to a positive work environment.


Implement a monthly “Remote Achiever Spotlight” where a different remote employee is recognized and celebrated each month for their contributions, big or small.

Involve Employees in the Process:

Engage your remote employees by seeking their input and feedback. Conduct surveys or hold discussions to understand what types of non monetary awards resonate most with them. Involving them in the process ensures that recognition efforts align with their preferences and motivations.


Send out a survey asking remote employees about their preferred methods of recognition, whether it’s public shout-outs, personal notes, or professional development opportunities.

Provide Timely Recognition:

Timeliness is crucial for effective recognition. When you notice exceptional effort or achievements, don’t wait too long to acknowledge them. Timely recognition amplifies its impact and makes employees feel valued in the moment.


Send a quick email or message to a remote employee as soon as you notice their outstanding performance, expressing your appreciation and recognition.

Promote Peer Recognition:

Encourage remote team members to recognize each other’s contributions. Peer recognition can be particularly powerful because it comes from colleagues who understand the challenges and efforts involved in remote work.


Implement a “Peer Recognition Program” where remote employees can nominate their colleagues for exceptional teamwork or contributions.

Measure Impact and Adapt:

Continuously assess the impact of your non monetary awards program. Use employee surveys or feedback sessions to gather insights into how well the program is working and if there are areas for improvement. Be open to making adjustments based on feedback.


After implementing your program for several months, conduct a survey to gauge its effectiveness and gather suggestions for enhancements.

By following these tips, you can create a non monetary awards program that not only resonates with your remote employees but also aligns with your organization’s values and objectives. Remember that the effectiveness of such programs often lies in their personalization and sincerity. Tailoring your recognition efforts to the unique needs and preferences of your remote workforce will make them even more impactful and appreciated.

non monetary awards for employees

Do’s and Don’ts of Offering Non-Monetary Awards

As you embark on your journey to implement a non monetary awards program, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


Provide Specific Feedback:

When recognizing remote employees, go beyond general praise. Be specific about what they did well and how their actions contributed to the organization’s goals. Specific feedback not only makes the recognition more meaningful but also helps employees understand what behaviors and accomplishments are valued.


Instead of saying, “Great job on the project,” provide detailed feedback like, “Your meticulous attention to detail in reviewing the project report ensured accuracy and impressed our clients, resulting in a positive review.”

Encourage Peer Nominations:

Create a culture of peer recognition where remote employees can nominate their colleagues for outstanding contributions. Peer nominations often highlight teamwork and collaboration, promoting a sense of camaraderie among remote teams.


Establish a dedicated platform or channel where employees can easily submit nominations, share stories of teamwork, and publicly celebrate their peers’ achievements.

Offer Choices:

Recognize that individual preferences vary. Provide a range of non-monetary award options, allowing employees to choose rewards that resonate with their interests and needs. Offering choices demonstrates flexibility and a genuine desire to cater to each employee’s unique motivations.


If offering recognition through professional development opportunities, present a selection of courses or workshops in different areas of expertise so employees can select what aligns best with their career aspirations.

non monetary awards for employees

Celebrate Milestones:

Beyond recognizing achievements, commemorate work anniversaries and career milestones of your remote employees. Acknowledging their dedication over time demonstrates appreciation for their long-term commitment to the organization.


Send personalized congratulatory messages, certificates, or tokens of appreciation to commemorate significant work anniversaries, whether it’s one year, five years, or more.


Overlook Remote Workers:

Avoid unintentionally excluding remote employees from recognition efforts. Ensure that your non monetary awards program is thoughtfully designed to include and appreciate all members of your team, regardless of their physical location.


When planning team-building events or celebrations, consider remote employees’ time zones and accessibility to ensure they can fully participate and feel included.

Make Recognition a One-Time Event:

Effective recognition should be ongoing, not a sporadic one-time event. Avoid treating recognition as a sporadic checkbox item. Continuous acknowledgment reinforces positive behaviors and sustains employee motivation and engagement over time.


Instead of only reserving recognition for quarterly or annual awards ceremonies, establish a system where employees can receive acknowledgment throughout the year for their achievements and contributions.

Use Recognition as a Substitute for Feedback:

Recognition should complement, not replace, constructive feedback. Avoid using awards as a substitute for necessary conversations about performance, areas for improvement, and professional growth.


Rather than relying solely on recognition awards, ensure that employees receive regular, constructive feedback and opportunities for skill development through performance evaluations and one-on-one meetings.

Publicize Negative Actions:

While recognizing positive contributions is essential, avoid publicly highlighting negative actions or mistakes as a form of punishment. Negative actions should be addressed privately, professionally, and constructively to maintain a positive work environment.


If an employee makes a mistake, address it discreetly through private communication and focus on finding solutions and opportunities for improvement.

non monetary awards for employees

Lack Follow-Up:

After recognizing an employee’s achievements, don’t forget to follow up. Continuously support, encourage, and provide opportunities for growth to sustain their motivation and engagement in the long term.


If an employee is recognized for mastering a new skill, continue to assign projects that allow them to apply and further develop that skill, and provide guidance for their career progression.

By adhering to these detailed “Do’s” and “Don’ts,” you can create a comprehensive non-monetary awards program that not only recognizes achievements but also fosters a positive and inclusive work culture, encourages continuous growth, and ensures that your remote employees feel valued and appreciated in a meaningful way.

Wrapping Up: Non Monetary Awards for Employees

In the world of remote work, non monetary awards for employees are a powerful tool for showing appreciation, boosting motivation, and fostering a positive work culture. By understanding the difference between monetary and non-monetary rewards, recognizing their benefits, and implementing creative ideas, you can make your remote employees feel valued and engaged. Remember, it’s not just about the rewards themselves but the sincere appreciation and emotional connection they represent. So, take the leap, and start creating a culture of appreciation in your remote workplace today!

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