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4 Ways to Reward Your Employees on a Tight Budget

Employee recognition is so important if you want to have a workforce that is engaged. Plenty of employees will punch the nine-to-five click and do a fine job every day, but if you want a team of people that are willing to go above and beyond and really invest their all in your business you have to show that you appreciate their hard work. You don’t have to roll out the red carpet and the whole dog and pony show to for people to know that you value them, but a gesture or token of appreciation is never a bad idea!

1. Give them an extra paid vacation day.

Cold hard cash might feel great to have in hand, but sometimes time is worth a lot more. One great way to reward your staff is by giving them an extra paid vacation day (sort of like a floating holiday) for a job well done, especially if they have been putting in overtime. In the grand scheme of things, it might actually be more cost-effective for your company to give someone an extra-long lunch break, let them leave early on Fridays, or just give them the day off than it would be to pay out extra big bonuses.

At a certain point, cash rewards can actually backfire. What if someone feels they deserved more? Or that their coworker’s bonus was unfairly large? Time is the same in everyone’s eyes and less likely to cause interpersonal drama.

2. Cater lunch for the office.

If you’ve got a little budget to work with why not cater lunch for the office one Friday (and give everyone an extra long lunch break that day.) Catering lunch is a little more cost effective than taking a huge staff out to dinner, and it’s a nice way to show your team you appreciate all their work. A catered lunch is also a good way to bring together different departments that don’t interact with each other on a daily basis, helping build inter-office relationships, and give your staff the opportunity to chat with people they normally don’t have much to do with.

3. Small, personalized gifts can mean more than more expensive rewards.

What would your staff appreciate more–a generic Amazon gift card or a gift card to their favorite restaurant they always order takeout from? Personalized rewards don’t have to be wildly expensive to be appreciated. The fact that you noticed something unique about that team member and took the time to find a reward that they, and they alone, would really appreciate can make it much more valuable. Fancy chocolates or gourmet coffee for the person who like more expensive treats, a special cook book for someone with a food allergy, or even a cool “experience” reward (like a spa treatment) shows that you value your employees as individual people.

4. Host a company field day and let employees bring their families.

Why not head over to the local Costco and load up on hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato salad and host a company field day? You can let your staff bring their families and set up field day games like sack races or a bag toss. If you’ve got enough space get a soccer game going. On a nice summer day it’s always great to get outside for a few hours and just play. A field day is a much more relaxed environment than the company boardroom so your team can just have fun!

5. Hand out company awards.

"Giving" Recognition Award

"Giving" Recognition Award

If you have a little bit of a budget to play with, why not upgrade from the usual paper certificates or chinchy Little League participation awards and invest in something that is more like a piece of art than anything else. That kind of special, custom award is certainly going to be displayed on their desk! You could even create a perpetual award for your front entrance area and add the recipients’ names each year.