What Kinds of Non-Monetary Compensation Do You Offer Your Employees?


Firm Managers,

I'm interested in hearing what kinds of non-monetary incentives you are using to attract talent to your offices, especially younger people. Millenials, Gen-Z, etc. 


Nov 11, 19 10:52 am

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All 16 Comments


Free spinal taps.

Nov 11, 19 11:03 am

I'm sending you my portfolio right now.

Non Sequitur

unlimited archinect time

Nov 11, 19 11:44 am
Chad Miller

I'd convert to metric for that.

Non Sequitur


1/2 day off every other Sunday.

Nov 11, 19 12:21 pm

Don't forget 50% reimbursement for professional registrations and free meals up to $12 when working past 9pm.


Free toilet paper after 8 hours


Featured Comment

Attracting the Millennial demographic is strongly tied to providing opportunity for professional growth & community / culture. 

Many people in my cohort want to work in a place that will give them opportunity if they put the work in, and also allows them to have a work/life balance. I have turned down offers $6,000 greater just because I fell in love with the culture of another place. 

Non-monetary incentives is tricky to answer because in some form of another, many benefits and "free" things end up taking money from somewhere. The kinds of incentives that I believe are attractive are professional development opportunity such as paid conference attendances, or event paying for something they are personally interested not work related. Another would be having a mentoring program that is quarterly, where you can create actionable goals you can both work on throughout the year. Lastly, going back to culture, you could celebrate the little things together, birthdays, deadline completion... go out to lunch, buy drinks. This makes the work environment a bit more attractive.

I am not a firm manager but I am in constant contact with several. I also run some online communities full of them! 

Nov 11, 19 2:07 pm

flexible hours are nice (meeting dependent), allowing younger folks the opportunity to find their niche in the industry with support from the office (technology groups, competitions for fun not just work, etc...) happy hours, yearly outings, the opportunity to work from home if tasks allow, places to work in the office other than your desk, we have a "coffee shop" in our office where we can grab whatever we want to snack or drink. basically anything that distracts us from the fact that we are working haha


We allow employees to bring pets to work, but we are trying to figure out what is fair when it comes to cleaning up after them and damage they may cause.  We have had animals ruin pieces of furniture and overall, the office needs to be cleaned more frequently due to pet hair.  

We also send people to conferences, but frankly our mileage on this has varied a lot.  Some people really respond well to it and others just see it as another thing we are "making" them do.   The really bad employees will go to the event and just space out, returning with little or no new knowledge.

Nov 11, 19 5:27 pm
Non Sequitur

What about those with allergies? I’d be pretty miserable working in a place with dog hair.


^ ^ This. I love the idea of dogs coming to work, but I am insanely allergic. Had this happen once at a firm I worked at - it ended up being fine, as they kept the place very tidy and the surface finishes leant themselves to easy cleaning, but if it was an all-carpet affair I likely would not have lasted long.


We haven't run into a situation yet where someone had a pet allergy. If we did, I suppose we would have to stop the pets from coming in. We have always told the pet owners that management reserves the right to ban any or all pets at any time, mainly because we were concerned about people bringing in aggressive or poorly trained animals.

Like I said, we are struggling with the cleaning issue.  When we have a person bringing a dog daily, we basically have to vacuum every night in their workstation.


Professional development is definitely one of those things that is worth more than cash compensation if you play your cards right. Teaching someone to fish is worth more than giving them fish.

Nov 11, 19 6:45 pm
Chad Miller

Very good point. I personally LOVE to be given opportunities for personal development. One of the greatest things a firm has ever done for me was was to pay for me to go to an AIA conference.


Screw AIA conferences... how about getting any certification you want?

Chad Miller

Not all personal and professional development come with a certification . . .

Rose W

I agree with Adam. Millennials and Gen-Zers need to feel like they not only can grow, but have control over their own destiny.

We support their side projects and interests - it’s one of the points we make sure to bring up in interviews. We have one individual who is interested in developing an MR app, and ultimately, whatever he designs will be useful to us too. Others are interested in community outreach and run week long fundraising events. One was most recently given a few months LWOP to attend a data boot camp.

They aren’t off the hook for their other project responsibilities, this is outside of that.

We also support group lunches and things like that, but I think the culture we have, which is very entrepreneurial, is appealing. Whenever someone tells a partner what goals/dreams they have, it is always met with “Thats great, let’s see how we can help you with that!”

We have other non-monetary benefits like titles and focus groups that meet monthly to advance a topic (think design technology or sustainability).

Nov 12, 19 7:54 am

Set their own hours, pick their own holidays ( I don't count the days ) self manage projects ( way before they are registered as an Architect ) meet with clients, contractors and authorities having jurisdiction as needed.

Respect and Freedom

Nov 12, 19 7:46 pm

Why is it that the restaurant industry supports (and encourages) people to open up their own practices, but Architects frown upon employees who want to go off on their own?

Nov 12, 19 10:48 pm

probably cause people will go out to eat more than once and want to try different places. people either hire an architect once or hire the same one over and over.


Established architects don't want the extra competition. In my region, there has been a surge in the number of 1 and 2 person firms. The older firms in town caused this by fostering crappy work environments where people felt they couldn't grow professionally. The problem is that we now have too many firms chasing a limited amount of architectural work.

BulgarBlogger do you think Franchising may have something to do with it for the restaurant industry? 

Nov 13, 19 11:09 am
Chad Miller

My firm offers free bathroom breaks up to 15 minutes twice a day!

Nov 13, 19 11:12 am
Non Sequitur

but are you expected to keep track and answer emails during said break? Can't waste any potentially productive sitting-down time.

Chad Miller

Cellphones are banned here. Unless the boss wants to get a hold of you.


Celebrating birthdays at work is what millennials want?  Really? My office does that... and I've always seen it as An Annoying Work Thing to Be Endured.  About as enjoyable as having to fill out time sheets, or put up with the periodic all-office email about what we're not allowed to leave on top of the microwave.  But for all I know those are also things that millennials enjoy.

So "non-monetary" doesn't count health insurance, 401k match, license fees, exam reimbursement, tuition reimbursement allowance, etc., right?  We let people bring dogs to work, have lots of employer-provided social events - some in-office and some out, flexible hours, firm participation in various community volunteer opportunities and design activities, teams in local recreational sports, firm-provided exam study materials, exam-related presentations and coaching sessions, lots of people sent to conferences and trainings of various sorts - basically anything that can be supported as benefiting the firm in some way is usually approved. 

Are those things that millennials want?  I'm asking in all seriousness. I'm definitely not the party-planning committee type.  The millennials in my firm have asked for "colorful furniture" - which we did get - but otherwise they haven't asserted any millennial-specific requirements.

Nov 13, 19 3:55 pm

Sometimes celebrating birthdays are nice. Personally I’d be happy with a “ Happy birthday” and getting out of work early or on time. 

The furniture ask is strange. I’m happy with a fast computer, task lighting, and a quiet, comfortable workspace. I’m a 30 y/o millennial. The rest of the benefits at your company sound nice.

Nov 13, 19 5:22 pm

Best part about this thread is that the OP implies that no one over 38 has any talent worthy of their firm. To preemptively respond to anyone who disagrees with this ... OK Boomer. 

Nov 13, 19 6:19 pm

I think you're really reaching to read into it that much ...

Probably ... I mean, OK boomer.

Non Sequitur

I identify as generation neutral.


My 5 year old gets treated pretty well, can I perceive myself as 5 again?

NS, I'm with you there ... though I have been known to pull out my Millennial card as a shock and awe tactic to bust people's stereotypes of the generation. I assume you'd be able to do the same (I can't remember if you've mentioned your age before).

Non Sequitur

^ I grew up being told genZ... and now it looks like that's changed.

Chad Miller

I was told I have the 'attitude' of a millennial when it comes to work. Too bad I'm actually gen X. Then again I do look younger than my actual age. Blessing and a curse.

Non Sequitur

shit... I wrote Z when I ment to write X. Was considered gen X up until about 10y ago when the entry age for gen millennial was revised (thank you internet people). Now I don't know, and don't care. Gen Neutral for the win baby!

Wood Guy

I allow my employee to work from home with a completely flexible schedule, as long as the work gets done, which never happens even though they work 50-60+ hours/week. They do get unlimited coffee and can bring their cats to work. Also, the employee is me. (S-corp.) 

Nov 14, 19 9:50 am

free massages would be cool but a lot people are scared of human touch

Nov 18, 19 9:29 pm

I like to be touched.

atelier nobody

One firm I worked at had a massage therapist come in once a week, but we only got 5 minutes each. Still, better than no massage.

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