Employee recognition is a valuable way to engage and motivate your team. The data shows us that employee recognition increases employee morale and in turn improves customer service. It helps you retain workers longer, too. The data even shows that employees that are rewarded for their good work are 50% higher in productivity—and that’s good for business. 

But many companies have tight budgets and wonder how they can celebrate employee accomplishments and create a more positive culture. We have some suggestions for great ways to give an "atta boy" without breaking the bank. 

Try These Low-Cost Employee Rewards 

Employee recognition is a process of acknowledging the hard work and effort of your teams and individuals. The process creates an emotional, positive connection between you and your staff. It’s a nice way to support the employees on a regular basis. You don’t even have to spend a lot to make an impact. 

The first great idea that is also low cost is to take your recognition public. Recognizing an employee in front of their colleagues is a great way to motivate and engage the employee and their peers in the department.  

You can also use peer recognition as a way to build bonds with coworkers. For example, why not let your employees pick an "employee of the month?" You can recognize that employee publicly and even reward them in some small way with a gift card or even an extra day off. But it isn't the gift that matters in this case, it is the recognition, and in particular, the peer-to-peer recognition that is a positive tool to use.  

What about asking staff to post recognition notes to each other on a digital or physical bulletin board. Call it the daily appreciation board. You can add customer feedback or just write nice notes about why your teams appreciate each other for their contribution every day. 

What about releasing people early from work. There is nothing like this reward, which is very low cost. You may even be able to recognize an entire department in this way. Everyone loves time off and people remember and appreciate it. 

Bring your team coffee or donuts after a particularly hard week or some other small token of appreciation. These are easy but still thoughtful ways to thank teams without spending a lot of money. 

Create a funny traveling award, like a mammoth wrestling trophy you found at the thrift store. Give it to the employee each month that wrestles a big problem to the mat. Then make it more fun by encouraging people to steal the trophy. As a culture builder, this is a fun idea that recognizes someone but doesn’t use a lot of cash. 

Give out a “flexible day” certificate as a reward. The idea is that the employee honored can flex some time out and maybe come in late that week or leave early. 

What about recognizing departments for their contributions? Make it an Accounting Week and honor everyone in that department. Cater some sandwiches or share funny stories about individuals in the department.  

The point here is that you don't have to spend a lot, but you do need to be creative during this process. Always celebrate birthdays, graduations, weddings, new puppies, or anything else that makes work fun and interesting. But also make sure you recognize your teams' good work in a way that shows how much you care and value their work. 

People Plus is in the people business. We can help your teams grow quickly. Talk with us about how we can help. 

Apr 23, 2021 By Amy Sanderson