Employee engagement levels have been consistently linked to improved performance and profitability. Non-cash incentives such as vouchers, social events, awards, plaques, trophies with artfully crafted trophy engravings are all excellent ways to boost engagement levels amongst your team. The goal is to turn your employees into team members, striving to win that championship trophy.

Money alone is not enough to motivate employees. It is more of a ‘cold’ reward for working and does not connect well at an emotional level. To encourage people to really exert discretionary effort you need to engage them in their roles.

So, how do you go about implementing a non-cash incentive program? There are two key elements to this. Firstly what behaviors are you looking to enforce, and what rewards you are going to give to reward those behaviors.

The most important element of employee engagement is showing discretionary effort in one’s role. This is going above and beyond what is expected of them and really giving their best.

Employee engagement is an attitude measure used in psychology and HR to improve business performance. Engagement is measured using a questionnaire, higher scores correlate well with increased productivity, profit and lower staff turnover in businesses and organizations.

HR companies will charge big dollars to administer these questionnaires and implement plans to improve employee engagement. A good alternative to this is to run an employee recognition program.

These have been shown to improve engagement levels amongst a workforce. This article briefly covers the importance of high employee engagement levels (and the dangers of low levels), then gives a few ideas on how to implement a recognition program using trophies and plaques to boost engagement.

In a nutshell; employee engagement is about getting the most from your employees. Signs of an engaged employee is one who is personally involved with their role, and willing to put in the extra effort to create success for themselves and the company.

They have high energy and are constantly looking to do better. In contrast, the disengaged employee is negative, unmotivated and puts in just enough effort not to be fired.

It is no surprise that high engagement levels are correlated with improved productivity, improved profit, and lower staff turnover.

The opposite is a disengaged employee, who shows up every day to do the bare minimum or just enough to not get fired. The advantages of high engagement are obvious, as are the downfalls of disengaged employees.

Reinforcing engagement behavior can be difficult especially if the behavior can not be easily measured. High engagement leading to increased sales figures is easy to recognize and reward.

Excellent customer service or teamwork is more difficult. For these more difficult measures, trophies and awards make great solutions.

Customer service and teamwork are both very emotional behaviors and rewarding these with cash incentives is not ideal.

Trophies, plaques, and awards can fill this emotional gap as they provide emotional rewards through praise and recognition from others. As social beings, this is a very strong reward and more fitting than financial incentives.

Trophies, awards, and plaques are also effective in the workplace for the same reason that they are so coveted in the sporting arena.

Sports teams show extremely high levels of engagement. Even at the local club level where players are not paid, individuals show up to training religiously and give their all at every game.

Even at the top professional level players are happier to win a trophy than their multi-million dollar salary. The trophy for them is the ultimate achievement that drives them to work hard.

Translating this kind of engagement in the workplace can produce outstanding results. By creating a sense of belonging to a team you can instill this sense of team pride in your workforce.

By presenting a monthly trophy, award or plaque you can instill this sense of striving and teamwork in your employees.

It will incent them to go above and beyond to ‘win’ the trophy’ as well as instilling a strong teamwork ethic if you are presenting both team and individual awards. These programs when run in conjunction with cash incentives are powerful tools in increasing engagement, productivity, and profit.