What Award to Use? Cash or Non Cash?

card in box

Is it time once again to rehash the discussion of which is better to use for employee recognition and incentive awards… cash or non-cash (like merchandise, travel, gift cards etc)? 

Having been in the award industry for many years we’ve been through this debate for what seems like forever.  In the beginning, it was always a point of argument with a client, as there were always some executives in any company that felt cash was the only award to use.  CAsh in case

With all the research being done these days on the importance of recognition to employee engagement, we do hear less and less of about cash, but there are still many that feel cash is the only way to go.  Our position is fairly straightforward.  There are places for each in the employee benefit balance.  Still, if you ask persons in the HR community you will get a strong response supporting cash as a good motivator.  Frankly, as has been proven by incentive industry research this is just not the case.   

Certainly cash is the common denominator as compensation for all of us, but for many different objectives it isn’t necessarily the best motivator. 

This post from Paul Hebert, one of our favorite award industry gurus, and very knowledgeable on this subject, gives a great overview of this entire discussion.  It is well worth the read.   

When confronted with a company objective that requires motivating your employees to change behavior and produce different results, don’t just assume that throwing money at will work.  If often doesn’t.  You may also be pleasantly surprised to find out that you can achieve these objectives with about 1/3 of the cost of the cash program.  You see, studies have concluded that it takes about $3 in cash awards to produce the same result as $1 of non-cash.

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