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Why Cash is a Bad Employee Appreciation Gift

Rachel Reed
11/22/16 9:33 AM

Many companies believe that incentive and recognition plans improve performance. But when companies use cash as the reward for incentive and recognition initiatives, those programs usually end up getting confused with compensation, creating a less effective and less flexible reward system. 29% of surveyed recipients of cash rewards said their cash went to bills.

18% of recipients claimed they could not remember where their cash rewards were spent.


cash infographic


Whether people receive cash in their regular paycheck, or as a special incentive or recognition reward, they use it in the same way. Once the cash received as a reward mixes in an employee’s account with the cash from their paycheck, it’s all fair game for paying the mortgage and buying groceries.

Both cash and non-cash rewards generated a 13% lift in performance, but cash costs 12 cents to generate a $1 improvement compared to 4 cents for non-cash rewards.

Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior 

Employee recognition, attitude behavior, recognition program




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