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Cash Is a Peasant, Not a King

It’s funny, but not in a ‘ha-ha’ sort of way. Whoever coined the phrase “cash is king” may have unknowingly perpetuated the notion that Money always leads to happiness. Or that Money is at least a cure-all, possibly the end-all and be-all, and maybe even the answer to all of life’s questions, great and small. The comical part is that this notion, coupled with a modicum of personal insecurities, lack of responsibility, financial deficiency and one-upmanship has led our economy into this downward spiral. But, in a glass-half-full sort of way, I think this is a good thing. We’re back to basics.

Cash is a Peasant, Not a King for Employee RewardsI deliberately used a capital “M” for the word Money because we invariably treat it as if it were a proper noun. We continue to place such importance on it in so many areas of our lives – and, sadly, often as a measurement for our own self-worth and professional success. But does Money really warrant a capital M? Should we proudly hand it a crown and a scepter and bequeath it a title fit for a King? I don’t think so. I think it is high-time that the King loses its throne.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I know Money is vital and we need it to take care of our most basic requirements: food, clothing and shelter – as well as other important pursuits such as education and healthcare. But, Money should be a peasant, not a king. Let it serve you, but do not let it rule you, your company or your policies. When you ask people what they value, most will say: health, family, friends, religion and freedom. If we really want to make people happy for the long term, then we should be working some of these values into policies and reward systems.

When it comes to Money in the workplace, how can we get back to basics and show employees that we value them beyond the almighty dollar and that, in return, they can value the company as much as the paycheck?

Get to know your people. What motivates them beyond compensation? In most every corporate function, there are cost effective ways to show people that they are appreciated and that, when the company asks them to do something, they will be taken care of in multiple ways.  Re-visit your corporate policies to see if you can infuse programs that support the values above.

When it comes to relocation, for example, review your policy for areas where you can provide additional, non-monetary support to transferees. Did your employee’s spouse have to leave their job? Consider a career-coach. Was the relocation especially stressful? Maybe the company should provide counseling – or a spa day. Did a single transferee have to leave all of their friends behind? Perhaps an iPad will help them stay connected. These are all low-cost ways to show that the company cares enough about the employee to help in a meaningful way, as opposed to a quick cash band-aid that is quickly spent and forgotten.

These ideas may or may not work for your corporate culture. But, the point is, let’s start thinking outside of the box about non-monetary rewards we can offer in the workplace that appreciation. This type of re-investment in your talent – in their self-esteem, self-image, self-respect and self-worth – will go a long way in helping you to extract maximum performance while realizing your company’s financial goals and objectives. And, maybe just as important, it will help create a culture that brings us all back to our basic value systems.

Hear ye, hear ye! I am hereby reducing the M to an m. It is now just…money. So whether at home, or at work, we must remember that money has its place. We need to encourage one another – family, friends and colleagues alike, to place regular importance on those things we deem hold the greatest value. We must support one another in our efforts to “do good” at home and at work and we must reward and recognize one another in more meaningful ways. It will pay dividends in the end. I guarantee it…or your money back.

Do you have non-monetary awards in place? Which benefits do you think your employees appreciate the most?


VP, Client Services

VP of Business Development Northeast Region


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