How To Set A Non-Traditional Employee Reward System



Customize Your Own Reward System For Your Company

Corporate reward systems typically combine monetary bonuses along with longer-term health or retirement benefits. Of course, every company should be able to offer well-rounded remuneration packages to its entire workforce, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t take things a step further. Non-traditional incentives and perks systems are popular among startup companies that aim to really cultivate a people-first corporate culture. If you’re ready to go the extra mile for your people, this is a good place to start. This guide details the how-to in building your own system to reward your employees and some fun incentives to include if you are the non-traditional type.

The Why: Reasons To Set A Non-Traditional Reward System

Companies are starting to switch things up. A few decades ago, we wouldn’t even be considering how to give accolades to workers for doing their job—let alone finding creative ways to go about doing it. As our conception of corporate reality is changing, finding fresh ways to award high performers is a must. Showing appreciation in practical ways is a significant step in maintaining a satisfied, productive workforce. In addition, well-rounded benefits plans ensure better retention rates and longer tenures within your company; the quality of the compensation packages ends up being the deciding factor among prospective departures more often than not. Not to mention, crafting a customized reward system can help establish good leadership practices and foster positive connections between upper management and employees.

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The How: 4 Steps To Get You Started

1. Research Model Companies

If there are any organizations out there whose culture and structure you admire, it’s not a bad idea to get some inspiration. Do some research on the employee reward systems your model companies offer, or ask around and find out through your network. Alternatively, you can explore the market to discover what companies of similar size offer to their workforce. Not only can you compile some fresh ideas regarding your reward system—you can also find out what your competitors are lacking. It’s a great way to ensure that your benefits package stands out from what other companies offer, as generous compensation plans provide a competitive advantage and eliminate chances of turnover among your employees.

2. Discover The Needs And Wants Of Your People

Consulting your people to find out what they really need out of an employee reward system should be part of the planning process. Your employees know what they want better than anyone else. If you don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable by asking directly, you can create an anonymous survey or a poll wherein employees detail what they would like to see in their benefits plan. Of course, not everything will be feasible, but it’s a good starting point to gather some initial ideas of what would raise your employees’ satisfaction rates.

3. Allocate The Budget

As mentioned above, not every idea can become a reality; that would depend on your company’s resources, size, and available budget. Allocating a budget range is a crucial step. So, assemble your advisors to discuss your ideas and work together to find ways to actualize them. Make sure to leave some wiggle room in your estimated expenses plan for unexpected costs.

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4. Discuss With Culture Specialists

People and culture specialists are tasked with establishing and maintaining a tight-knit, healthy workplace culture to ensure the well-being of the workforce and the welfare of the company. Consult your culture experts on how to proceed with your planning and what to incorporate into your new employee reward system. Through their participation, your benefits plan can truly reflect the identity of your company and will be able to target and improve the employee experience and engagement.

The What: 4 Incentives To Include In Your Reward System

1. Work-From-Home Bonus

Companies that offer hybrid work environments often have a competitive advantage over those that operate strictly in-office. Even if your company is not ready to switch over to a more flexible work model, you can offer remote work days as part of your reward system. Employees can choose a number of days per month to work remotely and have a breather from the long hours spent in traffic. This will especially benefit younger employees who like the freedom to structure their week more flexibly. However, in the end, it all depends on the nature of each position and whether your workforce has the equipment they need to operate from out of the office.

2. Counseling Programs

Counseling programs should be incorporated into the company’s long-term L&D practices. If your organization can’t offer a permanent counseling program, consider including it in your employee reward system. You may combine it with a mentorship initiative or a series of workshops that spans the entire year. Programs of this nature can offer advice on career development and personal growth or tackle everyday issues, like how to cope with stress at work and how to establish a healthy work-life balance.

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3. Commuter Privileges

It’s not uncommon for people to need at least two hours per day to drive or commute to and from the office. Gas or transportation expenses pile up at the end of the month. Reimbursing your employees’ monthly transport expenses can go a long way. In addition, rewarding employees that use public transport encourages a more environmentally friendly approach to transportation. If providing transportation vouchers is way out of your company’s budget, consider offering a more flexible work model.

4. Mental Wellness Day

This can take the form of an extra day off employees are able to take when things get overwhelming. Alternatively, it can be a special day focusing on their wellness by undertaking tasks that won’t put a strain on their mental health or working on their own creative projects. Even if it means that your employees are less productive one day per quarter, this is still a valuable initiative to ensure that your workforce can take a refresher from their daily routine. This can have a tremendous impact on your employees’ overall well-being and productivity levels. It’s also a great preventative measure against quiet quitting and helps employees achieve a better work-life balance.


Creating a customized reward system for your organization requires a significant amount of work and planning. Every company is different; this guide is just a starting point to help you create a reward system that better reflects the identity of your organization and the needs of your people. Make sure to consult your experts, advisors, and your workforce when it comes to reconsidering your benefits and remuneration packages. If you still have trouble working out your non-traditional reward system, you can always look through our online directory and find a culture expert to help you along the way.


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