Statistics from the latest Randstad Award employer branding research has found that the top motivator for employees in New Zealand is no longer job security, but more competitive salary packages. However, in our current tight economic situation, it can be tough for hiring managers and small business owners to offer extra cash when their own budgets are already struggling to stay afloat.

Here are 10 excellent non-cash incentives you can use to motivate and retain top talent:

  1. Offer flexible working arrangements such as giving telecommuters the chance to work-from-home once a week, or for staff to choose their own core working hours instead of the typical 9 to 5.
  2. Provide extensive training plans - both in house and offsite - for staff to complete accredited courses and upskill.
  3. Offer tangible recognition for staff who consistently excel - either by sending an email cc’ing in business leaders with congratulations on a job well done, giving staff a handwritten note, or mentioning their successes during monthly meetings.
  4. Provide a rostered day off (outside of annual leave) as a reward for successful task completion.
  5. Create a monthly office theme day to boost morale - for e.g. international food day where each staff member brings a plate of food from their country of origin.
  6. Offer rewards based on specific personal interests – e.g. membership to their local gym or tickets to the latest theatre show.
  7. Offer time out of normal work commitments to work on projects which your staff may be passionate about but are not necessarily related to your core business. This is actually something which was pioneered by Google, and from which many of Google’s stand out products originate from (including Google maps!).
  8. Create a monthly or quarterly awards event which showcases the efforts of staff who continually excel in their field. Include peer-nominated awards to show off the employees who consistently show leadership and help their fellow colleagues.
  9. Provide the opportunity for staff to engage in volunteer work - this can offer not only a nice break from the office, but also provides the added benefit of increased morale through altruistic pursuits.
  10. For businesses which benefit from multiple office locations, offer staff the chance of a change of scenery by swapping roles for a week or month e.g. from Auckland to the Christchurch office.

Remember, rewards are designed as a way to show your staff appreciation for their hard work, and whilst extra money is often cited as a motivator for employees, it’s often the intangible employee benefits which have the most impact on staff morale. Regardless of the benefits you offer to staff, seek to make your workplace an atmosphere where hard work is recognised and rewarded on a regular basis.