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Why Tangible Employee Recognition Outshines Cash Every Time

If you were to ask someone if they’d prefer an award or the cash-equivalent of that award, many people would choose the cash. And why not? It’s easy to transfer, always needed, and it can be spent on whatever they’d like. While cash is nice to receive, when it comes to employee recognition, it simply doesn’t achieve the right objectives. In fact, cash awards can lead to quite a few avoidable pitfalls in a company’s recognition program.

The Test of Time

The most notable distinction between cash and tangible awards can be seen in how the recipient processes the award. With cash, the recipient deposits it into their bank account and will tend to spend it on their normal expenses. A tangible award will be shown off, likely photographed at an award ceremony, and placed in a location where it can be displayed. The recipient and others will be able to see and talk about it, and the memory of the award will last for years to come. If the award is a ring, pin, or other jewelry item, the recipient can even wear it to meetings or functions, maximizing its impact.

Mental Accounting

One of the greatest pitfalls of cash awards is their tendency to turn great achievements into cold transactions. By placing a dollar value on the achievement, the company can trigger a process called “mental accounting” in their employees. This is a thought process where cash awards are mentally classified as just a part of one’s salary. This transforms the award from something that is special and given by the company, to something that is expected and owed to them. There’s also a danger that when employees see the dollar amount attached to their achievement, they won’t feel that it’s enough when weighed against the magnitude of their achievement. With a tangible award, people tend to view it at a higher perceived value due to the item’s imbued symbolism of their accomplishments.

Awards are Special

At the heart of corporate recognition is a sincere appreciation for the hard work and dedication of an individual. The company functions better because of them, and others should be positively encouraged to perform like them. An award from the company needs to be special. It’s distinct, truly earned, and can’t be obtained in any other way. Unlike cash, tangible awards have a branded tie to the company. They can be customized to fit the company’s branding, values, and culture, making them unique and specific to the occasion. As experts in the custom award industry, EA Dion does just that. There are countless ways to tastefully incorporate corporate branding into a stunning award that will be worn with pride.

In Conclusion

When choosing awards for an employee recognition program, it can be tempting to choose the cash route. However, even though we all need cash, what we truly want is to be appreciated and valued. Tangible awards simply outshine cash every time.

Looking for the perfect custom awards? With over 55 years of experience, EA Dion is a leader in high-quality, completely custom jewelry awards. Check out our gallery of past products to see examples of our work. To get started with a quote, simply This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. give us a call, or fill out our New Project Form.