10 inexpensive ways to let employees know they matter
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10 inexpensive ways to let employees know they matter

Times are challenging. And the budget is tight. But you still need to let your employees know you notice their hard work, and value their contribution. Low morale can negatively affect productivity and job quality, and can also increase the number of unplanned employee absences.

So how do you do it when a raise or a nice fat bonus is out of the question? Here are 10 inexpensive (dare we say, cheap) but effective ideas to reward your employees for a job well done.

1) Give them a coffee break. No, we’re not talking about a few minutes in the lunch room. Give a star employee a gift card to Starbucks, and an hour in the middle of a work day to de-stress and enjoy some well-earned down time.

2) Decorate their office or workspace. A few balloons, some streamers, and a sign that says just how much you appreciate what they did. Consider making it a monthly tradition. One “Way to Go” banner, a bag of balloons and few other decorations and you could celebrate a new star employee each month. Celebrate employee birthdays and anniversaries, too.

3) Show them your sweet side. Reward employees with chocolate. Not only is it a near-universal favorite, it’s also been proven to boost mood and improve attitude. Quite a bargain for a dollar or two per employee!

4) Announce their success. Do you have an onsite PA, a company newsletter or just a loud voice? Let everyone else know just how much you appreciate hard work and company loyalty. Spread the word!

5) Post it where everyone can see it. Employee-of-the-month awards are a staple for a reason: they work! Post your star employee’s photo in the lobby or out front where customers can see it. Give them a special parking space for the month. Buy them lunch. Whatever you, do, it’s an inexpensive way to motivate employees each and every month of the year.

6) Make them a lunch time star. Invite the staff or a few co-workers out to lunch to honor one special person or the whole team. It doesn’t have to be expensive. The lunch special at the local diner will do. It’s all about the experience.

7) Bring in breakfast. A quick stop at the bagel shop is all it takes to bring breakfast and good feelings to your staff. Add coffee, cocoa, or juice to make the meal complete.

8) Pin one on. Employee award pins are a cheap but fun way to motivate employees . For a couple of dollars, you can let everyone know that they did a “Great Job!” went the “Extra Mile” or “Set the Bar.”

9) Customize certificates to match the moment. Get a bunch of employee award certificates printed up with your company name on them, but the event left blank. That way you can fill in the information for any serious or silly award on the spot, and present it immediately to the winner. Instant recognition works so much better than annual rewards!

10) Write it down. When an employee does something extra special, or is celebrating a special day , take a minute and write it down, then give them the card or note. Those little, tangible pats on the back work wonders to boost morale, put the brakes on excessive employee absences, and encourage employees to keep up their effort

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