When was the last time your employer asked you how you’d like to be rewarded for your hard work? The trusty ‘cash bonus’ is still the default way to show employees how valued they are, but forward-thinking employers are beginning to move away from this traditional method of compensation.

Ta dah! Yes – there’s a different, better way to say “thanks”. The ‘new’ way opens up a conversation with employees about how they want to be rewarded, because of course we all want different things according to our particular circumstances and stage of life. So the next time the possibility of a reward comes your way, why not suggest getting a touch more … personal? Here are some ideas:

1. Hello, dream holiday

Even people who love their jobs need time out, so whether you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or just LHE (Luxury Holiday Envy), your company can help. Redirecting bonus money towards a holiday scheme can be an excellent way to make the most of hard earned quids and recharge limp batteries. Businesses can easily befriend willing travel agents in order to secure excellent deals for employees. These mutually beneficial arrangements can result in holiday packages that might otherwise only have been dreamed of.

2. Become good at something new

Professional development is nothing without personal development. We all harbour secret aspirations to learn the saxophone, Spanish, or Salsa dancing – so why not make these dreams known and see what kind of reward schemes your boss can provide? Imagine taking an hour out of your afternoon’s work to practice a new language or stretch your creative muscles. Your new ability to play ‘Stairway to heaven’ on the guitar is going to be beneficial for your employer too – research tells us that fulfilled employees work better, as positive attitudes affect both life and work.

3. Welcome to your new pad

The housing market can be stressful, complicated and time consuming, particularly for first time buyers placing a tentative shoe on the property ladder. Of course, your manager, boss or HR department is equipped to help you pass a credit check, but the ways they can ease the house-buying stress is actually much broader. Unsure about the financial ramifications of buying a house? Struggling with saving enough money to put down the deposit? There should be a plethora of options available to you, such as salary sacrifice and share schemes that can help grow savings and a dedicated financial advisor in the company can help you. Why not ask? The only thing you should be worrying about is what to serve your boss for dinner in your new home.

4. The patter of tiny hooves

Becoming a parent is daunting enough without the financial load that usually accompanies it. Companies can celebrate the arrival of your little bundle of joy by offering comprehensive maternity and paternity leave, as well as the option of ongoing flexible hours and even financial contributions. Let’s get real – your new baby will be keeping you up at night, so don’t let money or work-stress add to your insomnia.

5. New set of wheels

Your commute might be stressful and annoying, but buying a car shouldn’t be. We’re all familiar with the trope of the company car, but there are other options to ease vehicular anxiety. Employers can offer a salary sacrifice car scheme to help their staff purchase their own car, as well as helping out with servicing, breakdown cover, and insurance. Even better, the most carefully-chosen cars can contribute towards an organisation’s green agenda, so everyone benefits.

Don’t want to own a car? Your company can also help you arrange car-shares or arrange a bike to work scheme. What works for you?

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