When one considers the incentives that organizations use to compensate their employees, they often have one primary incentive in mind – money. After all, wages fulfill a central need for essential items such as housing, food, and transportation. However, compensation does not solely include wages and these incentives can be many other items. All of the cash and non-cash incentives given to employees in return for their efforts are called total rewards (Nazir et al., p.3047, 2012). Total rewards programs can include everything from wages to health insurance and other fringe benefits like paid time off.
To increase productivity while maintaining cost effectiveness, many organizations have turned to non-cash benefits to incentivize their staff. An example of a non-cash benefit offered to employees is an employee recognition program. Employee recognition programs require a minimal investment from the organization, but have been shown to increase trust in management and employee motivation, as well as improve employee relations (Osborne and Hammoud, p.52, 2017). These incentives are associated with basic intrinsic needs for recognition and approval, and thus allow employees to feel as though they are cared for and invested in. One method of implementing an employee recognition program is to select an employee of the month. Other examples are handing out gift cards, cards, or other items to recognize those who have displayed exemplary performance.
Another non-cash incentive that is being used increasingly, as well as researched more frequently, is flexible scheduling options. Flexible scheduling options allows employees to choose their schedule, flex their hours in times of need, work remotely, or utilize non-standard working hours to complete their tasks. This increases work-life balance, productivity, and assists in retaining employees (Campbell, p.2, 2015). It is especially effective for those who may have other responsibilities outside of the workplace such as parents or students.
To ensure that the total rewards programs that are implemented are most effective, they must align with the strategic goals of the organization and with the workforce within the company. For instance, if the company’s mission is to foster a culture of innovation, engagement, and understanding, the aforementioned methods may be more appropriate there. Each of these allows the employee to have a higher level of autonomy, while still allowing them to adequately fulfill their role and fostering a sense of inclusion. Additionally, the cash rewards (or wages) offered to employees must be appropriate for the environment as well. Knowledge, skills, abilities, education, experience, and more should all be taken into consideration when generating compensation scales.
Campbell, K. (2015). Flexible Work Schedules, Virtual Work Programs, and Employee Productivity. Walden University ScholarWorks, May.
Nazir, T. (2012). Literature review on total rewards: An international perspective. African Journal Of Business Management, 6(8). doi:10.5897/ajbm11.2423
Osborne, S., & Hammoud, M. (2017). Effective Employee Engagement in the Workplace. International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, 16(1), 50â€“67.
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