Non-Monetary Awards Program

Objective:

To recognize the achievements, efforts, and enthusiasms of employees within the Office of Human Resources (OHR). To improve employee morale and provide a system to encourage peer- to- peer recognition and to promote and improve rapport among the FSA Staff.

The Non-Monetary Recognition Program is not meant to replace the Agency’s Incentive Awards Program found in 5 PM. Non-monetary recognition is a symbolic means to communicate to employees that their contributions are valued and appreciated.


The following initiatives can go a long way in creating employee/employer loyalty and respect. This clearly demonstrates there are many points, besides money, to consider when you establish your non-monetary rewards program. Here are some ways you can give non-monetary rewards in the workplace to help HRD recognize employees more often. You'll be amazed at how receptive employees are to some of these displays of appreciation. 

1. Flexible Hours, Telework and Time Off Awards. 

Family, children, friends, church, sports, hobbies and other activities all have demands on today's employees. A flexible schedule, telework or the occasional afternoon off can help employees meet some of these obligations. By allowing some flexibility in an employee’s schedule you can increase their desire and motivation. This, twosome, is considered the most important of the non-monetary rewards in the workplace. 

Time Off Awards are granted to employees in the form of time off from work without loss of pay or charge to leave. Full-time employees may be granted up to 80 hours of time off total during a leave year. Part-time employees or employees with uncommon tours of duty may be granted up to the average number of hours worked in a pay period or the employee’s scheduled tour of duty. 

2. Recognition. 

In today's high paced federal work environment it is reported that employees consider it very rare and infrequent that they receive recognition of their work and efforts. Think about it - What better way to have employees continue their good work and success then to offer them praise-verbal, written or ideally a public announcement or employee award? Recognition is probably the most sought after of the non-monetary rewards in the workplace. 

HRD has worked with graphics (MSD) to create several certificates. Managers can request certificates by calling or emailing Catherine Baker at 202-401-0687. 

Strength Finders has drops which are a simple and effective way to act on the Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket. They are handwritten, personal messages of positive recognition and they are a great way to share kind words, give unexpectedly, and fill someone's bucket. 

3. The Opportunity to Contribute. 

Employee’s look for opportunities to be part of the team, they want to work closely with managers and management. They want to be involved in key decisions. They want to be listened to and heard. 

Successful organizations understand the importance of employee engagement. Employees need to feel like they do meaningful work and what they do make a difference. Engaged employees put their heart and soul into their job and have the energy and excitement to give more than is required of the job. When employees are not engaged, it can have a negative effect on the customer experience

According to Wikipedia, “an engaged employee is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interest.” 

According to Scarlett Surveys, 31% of employees are disengaged and 4% of those are hostile. If these survey results are correct, what can organizations do to improve employee engagement levels? 

Organizations with strong employee engagement, have figured out how to create a culture that fosters engaged employees. They understand leadership’s role in communicating, developing and rewarding employees. 

So what are some ways to create an employee engagement culture? 

a. Consistent Communication 

Good communication within an organization can be one of the most important things an organization can do to foster employee engagement. Employees spend a good portion of their life at work and have an interest in what is going on within the organization. They desire to know how the organization is doing financially, how corporate goals are being accomplished and how what they do contributes to achieving corporate objectives. 

b. Supervisor Interaction 

There is a lot of research that states that employees leave organizations because of their direct supervisor. The engagement of employees is tied to the leadership of their direct supervisor. This includes how information is shared, how employees perceive equity amongst each other and how well a supervisor demonstrates their care for employees as individuals. 

c. Employee Development

Employees want the opportunity to develop and grow professionally. They need opportunities to grow in their job and within the organization. This can be accomplished by having a defined developmental plan for each employee. Managers should be constantly coaching their employees to fine tune skills and develop new ones. 

Feedback culture refers to the organization's support for feedback, including nonthreatening, behaviorally focused feedback, coaching to help interpret and use feedback, and a strong link between performance improvement and valued outcomes. Critical events direct attention to the value of feedback and thereby start a performance management cycle of receiving, absorbing, and applying feedback in the following days, weeks, and months. This includes telling each other frankly, honestly and effectively what they think about their behavior, job performance, ideas, etc. Employees prefer being told what others think about them directly instead of in the roundabout way and they like being given feedback to self evaluate their performance. They also would like to frankly tell their bosses the various problems and issues faced by them. Feedback is of two types positive and negative. Positive feedback improves the morale of the receiver and negative feedback improves the performance of the receiver. 

d. Team Environment 

Strong employee engagement is dependent on how well employees get along, interact with each other and participate in a team environment. Developing a strong team environment can help foster engaged employees. Employees need to feel like they belong to a community, a team and a family. Coworkers are often the only family some employees have so maintaining a work environment where all employees feel part of a team and work well together is very important. 

e. Redesigning of jobs 

This is designing of already existing routine jobs into more creative or, at least, less boring positions. Various ways of redesigning the jobs are as follows: 

  • Job rotation: Periodic shifting of an employee from one task to another. This ensures that the employee doesn’t do repetitive tasks for a considerably long period of time.
  • Job enlargement: Increasing the number and variety of tasks that an individual performs results in jobs with more diversity. This increases the scope of the job and makes it more interesting.
  • Job enrichment: Vertical expansion of jobs, increasing the degree to which the employee controls the planning, execution, and evaluation of the work.
  • Job sharing: The benefits of job sharing are said to include increased morale and productivity. Job sharing can also be an attractive way to recruit new employees and retain current ones. In order for a job sharing arrangement to be successful, however, both individuals must be able to handle the position as efficiently as one person. 
f. Culture of Trust 

Employees need to trust each other as well as their leadership. Employees are constantly watching leadership to see how their decisions affect the strategic direction of the organization and if their behaviors reflect what they say. 

g. Clear Expectations 

Employees need to know what is expected of them. This is accomplished by giving specific goals as well as the training, tools and resources needed to perform their job. Employees need to also be held accountable for achieving their goals through a structured performance management process. 

h. Employee Satisfaction 

Employees need to feel like they are part of the process, that their thoughts and ideas matter and that they have a voice in how their work is performed. They are on the front line and know best about how work should be performed. Actively soliciting employee feedback and incorporating employee thoughts and ideas into how the organization operates is a very effective way to engage employees. 

Developing a culture that supports employee engagement can have a positive effect on the employee, the customer and ultimately the bottom-line. 

Employees want their bosses to be attentive to their complaints, concerns and pro-active in management rather than waiting for the event to occur. They want recognition for the work that they do. Employee recognition programs like “Employee of the Month”, even a spontaneous or private “thank you” and other widely publicized formal programs that encourage specific type of behavior and the procedure to attain recognition is clearly defined. Also, customize the recognition to the individual. Repeating a standard message diminishes the value of the appreciation. 

Examples:
  • A recognition board called, “HRD’s High Achievers or Top Performers”, where the accomplishments of various individuals and teams are regularly updated. Also, note these accomplishments in the division newsletter (ex. “Staying in the Know”). 

Successful managers of public agencies and private firm have been known to leave appreciation notes and voice messages at an employee’s desk if he/she performs well. Simple things like sending personalized birthday cards, anniversary cards, etc. signed by the highest official can work wonders in increasing the morale of the employees. 

4. Opportunity to Learn, Develop and Advance as an Employee. 

Employees understand they need to grow, learn and develop new skills in order to advance. They want the ability to be able to choose their assignments and rise to new challenges offered by new responsibilities. Aglearn offers many online courses but employees need time during the course of the normal business day to complete them. Aglearn also offers resources and courses to prepare for some of the most sought after certifications such as project management certifications. 

OPM HR University offer free or low cost training for employees looking to change careers or learn other areas. Learning something new can stimulate your employee work attitude. It can make them feel you want them to advance and support their career decisions. 

Training Day: Establish a “Training Day” where employees can use up to one day per month to complete required and career enhancement training as approved in their individual development plan (IDP). For field employees whose position requires them to be present daily, top performers may be rewarded by allowing them to take classroom training (up to 5 business days) that does not directly improve the skills for their current position but helps them to achieve a professional development goal as outlined in their IDP. 

5. Independence and Autonomy. 

Employees want to be able to work independently. They do not want someone constantly watching over them and questioning their every move. They like to receive their assignments -preferable with the time frame required for completion and then have the independence to complete the work given the guidelines and framework you have set on their own merits. This may not be seen as one of the more obvious non-monetary rewards in the workplace, but it is definitely an important one. 

Boss for a Day: Each month or quarter, management would select an employee to serve as boss for the day (based on established criteria as stated above). On that day, the selectee would be allowed to “swap” work stations with their supervisor and accompany him/her to any scheduled meetings. This reward will provide the employee an opportunity to sit in a preferred work station while earning some career development and getting a more strategic view of how their daily duties impact the organization. 

Preferred parking: In areas that have free parking for all employees, create a simple and free employee incentive by designating a VIP parking space in the parking lot of your organization. Select a spot close to the building's entrance and label the spot as “Reserved”. As an incentive, you can assign a different top performer to this reserved parking spot each month. To qualify for this reward, the criteria must be hard to reach yet attainable goals and published in advanced for all to see. 

These non monetary benefits can go a long way in creating employee/employer loyalty and respect. This clearly demonstrates there are many points, besides money. Here are some ways you can give non-monetary rewards in the workplace to help you recognize people more often. You'll be amazed at how receptive employees are.  

  • Written Words
  • Handwritten thank you notes
  • A letter of appreciation in the employee file Handwritten cards to mark celebratory occasions
  • Recognition posted on the employee bulletin board
  • Contribution noted in the Agency/Division newsletter
  • Positive Attention from Supervisory Staff
  • Stop by an individual's workstation or office to talk informally
  • Provide frequent positive performance feedback – at least weekly
  • Provide public praise at a staff meeting
  • Take the employee out to lunch.
  • Encourage Employee Development
  • Send people to conferences and seminars (there are free ones out there)
  • Ask people to present a summary of what they learned at a conference or seminar at a department meeting
  • Work out a written employee development plan • Make career development commitments and a schedule.
  • Symbols and Honors,
  • Framed or unframed certificates to hang on the wall or file 

Concluding, these are just some of the non-monetary rewards in the workplace. Think about what is important to your employees.  

Please use the “Comment” link to e-mail any questions ,comments and concerns to me , Catherine Baker or call (202) 401-0687, (202) 205-9057(TTY).