Creating motivation with non-financial rewards


A look at what motivates people and how founders can inspire their teams with non-financial rewards.

There is no doubt that money is a motivating factor for many people and can increase performance in certain circumstances. Pay increases and bonuses are, however, likely to be pared back in the short-term as the economic effects of Covid-19 are felt.

Thankfully there are myriad non-financial incentives and rewards that can motivate and inspire loyalty in your team.

Top tips on non-financial rewards

How can startups and scaleups motivate their teams without a salary rise or the promise of a bonus? Anouk Agussol, founder and CEO of Unleashed, shares her ideas and expertise.

“As far as non-financial rewards, there are those that cost very little, if at all. There are those that have more of an opportunity cost, and there are those that you still need to spend money on but the return on that investment is significantly greater than the cost spent as they are deemed more valuable by the individual.” says Anouk.

“Team lunches are really nice and still possible in the new Covid environment. You don’t necessarily have to physically get together in a safe, socially distanced way. You can remotely buy your team, or an individual, lunch. Or even better, buying lunch for a team member and whoever is in their household is a really nice touch. That impact actually goes beyond the individual and either family members or household. It will really resonate.

“Try to make it personal. If someone is vegan, get them a vegan cookbook. Or if they are big movie goers, get them tickets to an outdoor cinema. If they are setting up a new home office for themselves, send them a plant. It's not what you give them, it's showing that you've been thoughtful about it – that goes far further than the amount you have spent. You could just write a thank you note too!

“On a more practical level a mentoring session with an external expert is doubly positive as both sides will see the benefits. Offering training or upskilling is positive but always remember to give people time to do that learning. That is just as important. Offer hack days where people in the business can get together and play with creating new products or ideas.

Lastly and arguably most importantly, things are tough right now and people are working hard, offer your people some extra time off. Enable them to enjoy the lovely weather and say thank you!”

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