A business can’t grow without everyone pulling in the right direction to a shared goal. But sometimes, this is easier said than done.


The person writing this blog has been lucky enough to work in many vibrant and engaging environments (lucky me). But if someone were to ask him if there was a common theme running throughout his work experiences, it would probably be the phrase ‘Getting (insert expletive) Done’.

Basically, it’s a colourful way of expressing that ‘we get the job done’ or ‘we always give 110%’, even though technically you can’t give more than 100%…

Anyway, semantics aside, when businesses talk about their culture, you’ll often find that the most common theme is a willingness from their staff to go above and beyond within their roles. Fair enough.

But, here’s the thing. With organisations needing to be ever-more productive and efficient, how can they ensure that their staff are going the extra mile every day?

The most common tactic employed by businesses is to reward staff with cash bonuses or monetary-based incentives. After all, surely anyone will be willing to work that little bit harder for the prospect of a bit of extra dosh, right?

Organisations have to realise that a steady job and wage is not enough to motivate staff

Well, not quite. Many of the world’s largest and most successful organisations are now realising that whilst a financial reward is certainly nothing to be sniffed at, offering recognition is actually far more effective at encouraging positive workplace cultures.

It’s positive workplace cultures that breed success from within. They support staff morale, encourage better behaviours and ultimately, lead to your best employees staying with you for longer.


When we talk about reward and recognition, we’re highlighting the things your employees do every day that fits with your company’s values, ambitions or vision.

It can be the big stuff – like smashing a sales target or delivering a winning sales pitch – to the smaller things, too – like staying an hour later to help with an urgent presentation. It’s all about recognising the positive behaviours that an employee brings to a business and rewarding them for their efforts.

So, what can organisations do when it comes to rewarding and recognising the hard work of their employees without simply resorting to cash? Well, not to worry – we’ve put together a handy list of ideas that should help…


If you think that a reward needs to be tangible or monetary, you’d be wrong!

It may not seem like much on the surface, but rewarding your staff with just the act of saying ‘thank you’ can be a really effective way to motivate your employees.

Showing simple appreciation can be that little nudge that brightens up an employee’s day. A ‘thank you’ can be done face-to-face or an appreciative email or company communication. And the best part? It costs absolutely nothing!

When you start to nurture the art of just saying ‘thanks’ and showing appreciation for your staff’s efforts, it will form the backbone of a successful company culture. This will help everyone to perform better, build engagement, respect others and encourage the drive to ‘go the extra mile’. Plus, saying ‘thanks’ is just a nice thing to do – so start making it a habit!


Everyone loves an unexpected reward. But when you incorporate it with your own brand, you can be winning at two levels.

Now, branded company merchandise might not feel particularly special (after all, who hasn’t got a draw full of random pens they’ve picked up from offices and events). But, if given a little thought, they can make fantastic little rewards that can cost very little but offer real value. You just have to think outside the box!

Simple stuff like travel mugs, smartphone power packs, phone cases or Bluetooth speakers are things that people will use every day and value, but also forever be tied to your brand. Not only will the recipient be receiving a gift that is actually really useful, but you’ll also gain some brand exposure when they’re using said-gift out & about.

And a branded employee reward doesn’t have to be company merchandise. For larger rewards, consider something more experiential – perhaps something as simple as a team lunch, a day paintballing to release some workday stress, or even a trip to the cinema.

Speaking of which…


Be honest. Have you ever met anyone who says they didn’t like films? Thought not. In fact, there are probably a whole host of movie lovers in your own workplace right this very minute!

This is just one of the reasons why the reward of a cinema ticket in recognition for a job well done is such a great idea.

Experiential rewards are great staff motivators that also give the gift of choice to the recipient, can be used at a time and venue that suits them and offers a few hours of glorious escapism – now pound-for-pound, name something else that comes even close?

On a more serious note, a non-cash incentive such as cinema ticket offers a much deeper value as it gives people access to an experience that may otherwise sit outside their regular budget. Also, research has shown that 1 in 5 employees prefer a shared experience as a reward for a job well done with 25% saying they’d prefer to share a reward with their friends and family.

Cinema may be an ever-popular pastime, but depending on where you live and how big a family you have, it can be an expensive night out, especially when you also add in the obligatory popcorn and drinks, too.

Removing or substantially reducing the costs of going to the movies means the recipient’s wages won’t take such a hit when they’re doing something they enjoy. Now that’s a gift that anyone can love.

Discover the Power of Cinema in our Free Online Guide


Unless you have a working flux capacitor, a mint 1983 DeLorean and a spare 1.21 giggawatts, it’s pretty unlikely you can manipulate time.

Time is a really valuable commodity these days; with studies showing that the UK workforce is working harder for longer than ever before, employees are having less and less time to themselves and are simply working themselves into exhaustion. Not good, we’re sure you’ll agree.

A tired and exhausted workforce isn’t going to be motivated to go above and beyond the call of duty day in, day out; plus, if left unchecked, there can also be more serious side effects – such as absenteeism, stress and mental and physical illness. This is where rewarding employees with free time to spend away from the stresses and strains of work really makes sense.

Rewarding your staff for a good job with a morning off, a ‘duvet day’ or additional paid leave can really make a difference to morale and wellbeing, too. If you’ve got employees who make long commutes every day, why not make it easier for them to work from home on occasion?

Flexible working is really effective at increasing engagement in the workplace; so, if your staff have the means to carry out their regular duties remotely, is it completely necessary they travel to the office every day.

It’s little things like this that not only show staff that you care about their physical and mental wellbeing, but also encourage a health work-life balance – and as we all know, a healthy work-life balance is at the core of a positive workplace culture.


When it comes to rewarding your staff, there really are a wealth of routes you can take without resorting to simply throwing money at them and hoping for the best. And the thing is, we’ve only scratched the surface here!

We could also talk about experiential travel rewards, pre-paid gift cards and entire employee recognition platforms – but the ideas we’ve highlighted here are perhaps the simplest and most effective ways you can dive right into the business of improving your staff’s motivation and ensuring they’re rewarded for the value they bring to a business.

The key thing to remember with rewarding your staff is that when you do choose to recognise and reward them (and you really should by the way…). It doesn’t have to be one-off grand gestures once or twice a year, it can be just little things often.

We don’t live in an age where bonuses and pay rises are stone-cold certainties. Organisations need to recognise the fact that workers need something more than just a steady job and a regular wage to remain focused, motivated and encouraged to perform at their best every day.

Want to know more about cinema rewards and non-cash incentives? Contact the Filmology team today!