10 Ways to Reward Employees Without Breaking the Bank

As a manager, you are busy and it can be easy to take your employees’ hard work for granted. However, it’s important to remember that recognition is a key driver of engagement, and yet most employees feel they are not recognized enough.  The good news is that employee recognition doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money.  So, here are 10 inexpensive ways to reward your employees.

A simple thank you.  This is one of the most effective forms of recognition and costs you absolutely nothing.  In this day in age, with a good chunk of social interaction occurring online, an in-person compliment can really mean something special. Direct compliments can also go a long way for the future — when you really need extra effort from an employee, they’ll remember your appreciation and work harder.

Free lunch.  It’s a simple act of kindness, but those are sometimes the ones that most reveal your true colors as a manager. Not only are you paying for a meal, but you are actively making an effort and spending your own time to show them that you are aware of and appreciate their work. It also is an opportunity to get to know each other better and build the relationship. Your employee’s morale will surely get a boost.

Employee awards.  Set up an “awards show” one day at the office. You can make the awards serious or humorous in nature – just be sure to put thought into each of the honors. This will show your office that you spend your free time thinking about them, and are committed to each of them.

The gift of time.  If you believe an employee has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty, present them with a one-time day pass that they can use to take any day off at any time they choose. It’s a nice feeling for an employee to know not just that they have a free day in their back pocket, but that their boss is aware they deserve one.  And, by recharging their batteries, your employee is more likely to continue the great work.

Remote days.  Some people on your staff are likely to have rough commutes to work, so allow a remote day every now and then to reduce any potential weariness from your staff. Allowing remote days are also another way to build trust with your team, and allow them to feel a sense of autonomy over certain aspects of their job.

Movie tickets.  Who wouldn’t enjoy a movie night out?  If the employee has kids, consider throwing in a few bucks for a babysitter.

Pizza party.  Reward the entire office with a surprise pizza party. There’s really nothing quite like free food to perk up a room. You’re doing everyone a favor that they may not have been expecting, and that will boost the entire office’s morale, even just for a day.

Personal chores.  Life is busy and we all have a lot to stay on top of and get done.  An employee will greatly appreciate a gift certificate for a car detailing or house cleaning, which will enable them to focus on other things (including work!).

Newsletter article.  Include a write-up about an employee in your next newsletter, including their contribution to your mission and goals, and we as their interests and who they are.  Give everyone an opportunity to get to know your great staff.

Gift Certificates.  A gift certificate to Amazon, iTunes, or your employee’s favorite restaurant is sure to be a pleaser.

With just a little bit of thoughtfulness, you can easily show your appreciation of your staff without racking up a big bill.  Little things go a long way, so do as many of them as possible to give back to the office and recognize their strong work and effort.

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