Incentives are so important that there are whole websites devoted to them. Job satisfaction means different things to different people, and it usually means something different for people at different stages in their lives. A great incentive for a young parent might be flex-time, while someone approaching retirement might consider health care benefits more important.

Large corporate offices have learned a lot from leaner startups that have had to focus on non-monetary rewards.

Some companies still reward their employees based on tenure. However, that strategy is becoming less effective. According to a 2014 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the average tenure of those aged 55 to 64 was 10.4 years, it was only three years for those aged 25 to 34. For many of today’s workers, rewards for time served sounds more like a prison sentence, while profit sharing is increasing in popularity as an incentive.

Whatever their differences and personal preferences in terms of incentives, there is one employee priority that’s universal, and that is to be treated respectfully. In one survey of millennials, respectful treatment was ranked as the number one contributor to job satisfaction, followed by compensation, benefits and job security. Sixty-seven percent of respondents in another survey of 517 workers of all ages also ranked it as the most important consideration.

Peer Recognition

A show of public appreciation for a job well done is proving to be one of the most cost-effective employee retention strategies that a company can implement. Companies that create and maintain a culture of recognition have up to 31 percent lower turnover rates than those who don’t, according to one article in Forbes.

Co-workers and peers are the ones who see each other in action the most, as well as being more likely to be directly affected by their actions. That could be why studies show that recognition and appreciation from co-workers is ranked even higher in importance than recognition from a boss or manager. A show of public appreciation for a job well done is proving to be one of the most cost-effective employee retention strategies that a company can implement.

Professional Development

Everyone wants to feel that they are making meaningful contributions to their families and communities. They also want opportunities to develop to their fullest potential. Unfortunately, many employees don’t feel that their skills and abilities are being developed and utilized to the fullest.

In a recent report by Deloitte Consulting, opportunities for professional growth was listed among the top five contributing factors to job satisfaction and employee retention. Providing opportunities for learning and practicing new skills is essential for increasing employee engagement. Creating and implementing a company mentoring system is one good strategy. Cross-training also fosters communication and a greater understanding of the challenges faced by other departments.

Peer Recognition Meets Professional Development

You don’t have to be in show business to enjoy the experience of seeing your name in lights. Hoopla has features that provide several great ways to increase peer recognition and encourage professional development at the same time. For example, employees can earn points by creating videos for a learning library, giving them the opportunity to show off their expertise.

Other employees can earn points by watching them for cross-training purposes. Points can be redeemed for rewards according to what your employees value most. Points can also be displayed on leaderboards to create some friendly competition between individuals or teams. Creating direct visual links between effort and recognition is a powerful motivating force. Putting real-time announcements on the big screen corporate-wide when teams meet their quotas leaves no doubt that their contributions are appreciated. It also helps create a celebratory high-energy atmosphere.

Combining new strategies with new tools produces not just a higher level of employee engagement, but a deeper one.