From our research driving across the USA to meet with top ranked Glassdoor companies, we’ve noticed a trend among the workplace components that employees most desire: nearly all are free.

Not only is this encouraging news for companies with tight budgets, but also for cash flush organizations who are spending money in all the wrong places. A study conducted in 2010 cites that there’s actually a “happiness plateau” once an employee salary hits $75,000, meaning that throwing more money at employee engagement isn’t guaranteed to yield higher Glassdoor ratings.

While most employees certainly won’t shy away from a bonus, these five factors are proven to be more effective than salary when it comes to increasing engagement.

1. Gratitude

Praising your employees for a job well done not only results in great feelings for both the giver and receiver, it is also one of the easiest methods to try during your workday.

I challenge you to partake in 5 minutes of Googling on Positive Psychology. What you’ll quickly conclude is that gratitude is the fuel of humanity and that much of our day and our lives revolves around craving recognition for good work. The same bump in spirit you feel when receiving a flood of Facebook likes on a post is what your employees experience when showcasing their efforts to the entire team.

Peer recognition has often been cited as the best time ROI for managers looking to reduce turnover and increase performance. Praise helps top performers consistently raise the bar while simultaneously motivating the rest of the team.

2. Feedback

In this insta-everything world we live in, annual surveys and consulting engagements that focus on management’s perspective, wedge a wider gap between leadership and its employees. Add that to the fact that both Gen-Y and Gen-Z have prioritized traditional hierarchical reporting structures and financial promotions above creating transparent workplace environments.

This insatiable desire for status and “put your head down and get to work” attitude directly conflicts with Millennials, who desire a larger role in crafting a company’s culture.

As organizations wake up to the rising demands of inclusivity, constant and transparent feedback is becoming critical. Software platforms like Happster that enable employers and employees to share feedback in real time are completely disrupting the traditional HR role.

At a glance, feedback may sound like a simple concept, but it’s the process of giving, receiving and acting on feedback that is most important. Old school companies still leveraging outdated annual questionnaires miss the opportunity to engage directly with their employees. And since little is ever done with the data collected from these lump sum surveys, we’ve seen an increase in survey fatigue and fear of retribution for answering “anonymously”.

Scrap the annual survey, save your company the costly consulting fees, and break feedback up into small, actionable chunks that can be addressed in real-time.

3. Growth Potential

One of the most cost effective ways at reducing turnover and increasing engagement is ensuring your employees have the resources to thrive at your organization. This is critical for both new hires and company veterans.

Optimizing your existing on-boarding process to ensure new employees hit the ground running from Day 1 has been shown to heighten a company’s internal brand reputation as well as creating a sense of loyalty.

Platforms such as BambooHR and Happster make it easy for new hires to find the information necessary to feel part of the organization and its culture.

For existing employees, making sure they have the skills to perform their current role and providing clear paths to other internal opportunities is paramount to reducing turnover. If workers cannot find an outlet to grow their skillset at your company, they simply will jump ship for growth roles elsewhere.

Training platforms such as Pluralsight and Lynda allow motivated employees to learn new technical skills at their own pace and fine tune existing ones. While training platforms do come with a cost, it’s often much less than increasing salaries across the board.

4. Purpose

Public companies have teams of people dedicated to their philanthropic missions. We as consumers have all experienced this at some level with our favorite retailers and brands. But what about internal purpose? For me personally, purpose can be broken down into two pieces, visionary and person level.

Visionary purpose being the method by which our products or services strengthen our client base. It’s vital not only to communicate the vision but to hire employees that are like minded. For us, that would be finding employees that are passionate about making a positive impact on global workplace culture.

At the personal level, it’s all about showing the employee his or her impact. Let’s be real, no companies have a shortage in the “busy work” department. It’s ok! For leadership of inside sales teams, SDR’s, data entry folks and high-turnover roles in general, it’s key to communicate the importance and value your employees bring to the table.

Be the leader that helps your team visualize the cog they play in moving the organization toward its vision.

5. Health and Wellness

It’s common sense that a company which cares about the physical function of employees in and out of the workplace is an attractive quality for employees and potential candidates. People want to work for companies that are genuine and seem human. The difficult part is realizing that health and wellness doesn’t stop at providing access to a fitness center or a gym membership.

Employees crave employers that are cognizant of the human aspect and the emotional wellness of a person. Increasingly, companies are turning to global thought leaders such as Thrive Global to help train their employees to balance healthy lives at work and home.