Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Non-Monetary Rewards: Employee Choices & Organizational Practices

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Non-Monetary Rewards: Employee Choices & Organizational Practices

Article excerpt

Scope of Non-monetary Rewards

A study on work rewards touches the life of every individual associated either directly or indirectly with work. Since rewards get extended beyond the workplace their impact on families is certain. The use of recognition as a means of influencing behaviour is not a novel idea. As one of the basic needs of human beings, recognition has found ample place in literature. Every single motivational theory has discussed its relevance and impacts on individual behaviour. The increased emphasis in recent times, however, owed to the changes in work life due to environmental pressures, both internal and external. The challenge of retaining the talent has led organizations into experimenting with fresh ways of rewarding. With increased salaries becoming entitlement for employees, the extensive scope of non-monetary rewards presents varied options for use.

Human Relations School

Human beings have constantly endeavoured to stretch beyond potential. Issues related to improving efficiency have always intrigued the human mind and whether it is Adam Smith's Division of Labour or Taylor's Scientific Management, theories have been conceived towards improving efficiency. The use of non-monetary factors, however, could be traced to the post Human Relations School of management thought. The serendipitous results of the Hawthorne experiments indicated the presence of factors other than monetary and physiological variables and their impacts on employee productivity. These findings opened a new chapter and revolutionized the field of management research.

Lindhal (1949) conducted a series of researches where employees consistently ranked items such as "full appreciation for work done", "feeling in on things", and "interesting work" as being more important to them than the traditional incentives (cited in Nelson 2001). Other researchers like Kovach (1980) and Wilson (1988) later replicated these findings. In their survey of sixteen studies including over eleven thousand employees, Herzberg et al. (1957:46) concluded that the average worker ranks pay sixth in importance behind security, interesting work, opportunity for advancement, appreciation, company and management, and intrinsic aspects of the job. Keller's (1965) study to identify the job factors important to employees found eight factors none of which related closely to monetary rewards. The eight factors were job satisfaction, pride in organisation, relation with fellow workers, relations with superiors, treatment by management, opportunity to use ideas, opportunity to offer suggestions at work and appreciation of one's efforts. In another study by W.W. Ronan (1970) it was found that the job characteristics that were important to a diverse group of employees were related to the nature of work they do and satisfaction that they obtain from it.

Meaningful Work

According to researches conducted in the field of 'meaningful work', a job is meaningful for employees if it involves them in the identification and solution of the problems that affect them. It is said that if the worker could voice his/her opinion, it would bring positive results for both the worker and the organisation. (Roche & Mackinnon 1970)

A study on job preferences of over fifty-seven thousand job applicants, conducted over a period of thirty years, indicated security, advancement opportunity and type of work, as the job factors most important to men. Women employees considered type of work, company and security as the most important job factors in deciding whether their job is good or bad. Both men and women ranked pay lower to advancement opportunity and type of work (Jurgensen 1978).

Kovach (1980) reports of studies that compared manager's ranking of what they wanted from their jobs with what their bosses thought were important to the managers. At the top of the managers' list was interesting work, followed by appreciation of work, a feeling of being "in on things", job security and good wages. …

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