3 Non-Monetary Incentives Every Organization Needs To Retain Talent

3 Non-Monetary Incentives To Retain Talent
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Summary: Organizations strive to offer their employees more perks but with less costs. The following non-monetary incentives will help you retain your talented employees, while also caring for your budget.

How Your Organization Can Keep Its Employees With Non-Monetary Ways

In 2022, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted research [1] that showed that 67% of human resources functions received more funding to deliver the Learning and Development strategies their employees needed to succeed on the job and stay with the organization. Employees prefer to work in organizations where they feel heard, seen, recognized, and appreciated. As organizations fight to recruit and retain talent, the employee experience is paramount and vital to the customer experience. With limited resources, organizations must devise ways that go beyond monetary rewards in order to incentivize and retain talent. This article offers three non-monetary incentives every organization can deploy to retain talent: recognition and appreciation, minimal commuting, and learning opportunities. While you can brainstorm and engage with your team to generate more ideas, let's explore these three thought-starting tactics here.

3 Non-Financial Tactics To Retain Talent

Recognition And Appreciation

Organizations often use the terms "recognition" and "appreciation" as if they are the same, while they're quite different. As Mike Robbins explains in his HBR article, "recognition" is about recognizing the employee's results and performance one-on-one or publicly, written or verbally. "Appreciation" is about pinpointing an employee's inherent value. Such differentiation is critical when it comes to retaining talent. Recognition usually focuses on results, whereas appreciation can be used to connect with employees for their efforts during the journey of getting to the results. Below are three suggested steps to help you apply recognition and appreciation.

  • Verbal recognition. One of the simplest ways to recognize employees is to verbally acknowledge their contributions and achievements. This can be done by offering praise publicly through a company-wide email, social media post, or newsletter during a team meeting or one-on-one conversation. By expressing gratitude and acknowledging their hard work, employees feel valued and appreciated.
  • On-the-spot time off awards. Providing extra time off, such as an additional day off as a reward for meeting or exceeding goals, is a great way to show appreciation to an employee, since you're allowing them to spend their most valuable resource away from work.
  • Celebrating employee milestones. You can celebrate work anniversaries or major milestones with a note, a personalized gift, or a recognition event. This recognition and appreciation tactic will help organizations retain their talent.

Minimal Commute

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the narrative revolved around work-life balance, whereas today, it is distilled to a minimal commute. This significant trend hinges on four key factors.

The first one is time. Commuting takes up a significant amount of time on an employee's day, which can be better spent on other activities. In 2020 alone, by working from home, Americans saved 60 million hours of commuting per day, which is far from insignificant. With the rise of remote work, employees can save time and be more productive by working from home. The time savings are reallocated to working more on primary jobs, secondary jobs, child care, family time, home improvement, and leisure.

The second factor is cost. Commuting is expensive, with costs including gas, tolls, parking, and public transportation fares. Prior to the pandemic, according to a study by the Center for Neighborhood Technology [2], the average American household spent 16% of its income on transportation. By working remotely, employees save money on transportation costs and potentially other expenses, such as meals and work attire.

The third one is stress. Commuting can be stressful, especially in areas with heavy traffic or long travel times. This stress can have a negative impact on an employee's mental health and well-being. In contrast, remote work provides a more relaxed and flexible environment. Being at home allows employees to take more frequent breaks, exercise more often, and spend time with their family and pets, all of which help them to better manage their stress levels.

The last factor is health concerns. Commuting also posed health risks, especially during flu season or during the pandemic. Public transportation and crowded spaces can increase the risk of exposure to illnesses. Remote work allows employees to avoid these risks and work in safer environments, which increases employee satisfaction and can strengthen retention.

Learning Opportunities

Organizations that offer Learning and Development opportunities, such as rotations, mentorship, and coaching programs that help employees grow and advance in their careers, are known to retain more talent. In 2023, Learning and Development was finally recognized as a job perk that makes employees want to stay.

More specifically, rotations can be incredibly beneficial to both the employees and the organization. Rotations provide employees with opportunities to broaden their horizons, test what they already know, develop new skills and competencies, and broaden their networks. By rotating employees through different roles and departments, or even allowing them to be seconded to other external organizations, can provide exposure to different functions and help them build a broader skill set. Upon their return to the organization after their rotations, employees can share their learnings with their peers, apply best practices they learned, and engage with the new members in their network to problem-solve more effectively. Additionally, other benefits of employee rotations include increasing cross-functional collaboration, reducing silos, and improving overall organizational knowledge and expertise.

Mentoring programs can help employees strengthen their leadership and team skills, whereas coaching programs can help them improve their technical and on-the-job skills. By offering formal or informal mentoring programs, organizations can match employees with experienced mentors who can provide guidance, support, and feedback on career development. Mentoring programs can help employees develop new skills, gain insight into the industry, and build a network of contacts. Peer mentoring is also increasingly popular, whereby employees are paired with colleagues to share knowledge and skills. Peer mentoring can help foster a culture of continuous learning and development while strengthening relationships among team members. Coaching and training programs can help employees develop new skills and competencies and can be tailored to individual needs and goals.


In the war for talent, the retention of employees is critical. Organizations must constantly deliver more with less, and non-monetary incentives are an essential part of talent retention. In this article, we offered three incentives: recognition and appreciation, minimal commuting, and learning opportunities, such as rotations, mentoring, and coaching programs.


[1] Companies respond to The Great Resignation with higher L&D budgets, survey finds

[2] Eviction and the Cost of Transportation