Thanking your employees and showing them you care is important. But how to express that is hard!
Reason: Different strokes for different folks.
Not everyone is going to like one specific reward.
And, most importantly, not every company has lots of money to spend on elaborate gifts.
So what’s a manager to do?
The experts say give options and get creative when offering morale boosters.
Here are 14 ways to add a spark when showing appreciation:
1) VIP Parking
If you have a large parking lot, designate a few VIP parking places close to a door. Divvy them up a week at a time to employees who’ve gone above and beyond their job.
2) Bring Your Pet To Work Day
If you have employees who are nuts over their pets, allow them to bring their dog, cat, hamster, etc., to the office to keep them company for a day. Just specify that the pet must be people friendly or kept in a crate or cage, say if it’s a tarantula. But before you do that, check with your other employees to make sure no one has severe animal allergies.
3) Random Weekday Treats
Want to show appreciation to your entire department? Tie random treats to days of the week. For example, put out popcorn or Chex Mix for “Munchie Monday.” You could do a “Tootsie Rolls Tuesday,” a “Wrigley’s Gum Wednesday,” a “Twisted Pretzel Thursday” or put out nuts and grapes for a “Fit & Healthy Friday!”
4) Get Everyone In On The Action
Believe it or not, there’s an app for employee recognition that lets everyone get in on the action. YouEarnedIt allows employees to give their coworkers gaming “gold” as a thank you or a pat on the back for a job well done. Then employees can cash in their “gold” for real prizes like gift cards.
5) Impromptu Time Off
Giving someone time off as a reward/thank you isn’t new. But surprising them with the afternoon off is a great motivator. If the employee isn’t a morning person, tell him before he leaves to come in a few hours late or at lunch time the next day!
6) Boss For The Day
Let an employee use your office for a day while you sit at her desk. Of course she wouldn’t be doing your actual job, but she could proclaim a long lunch or a jeans day or run a meeting. It’s just a way to show appreciation for a job well done.
7) Edible Treats With Crafty Tags
Even something as small as a pack of Life Savers with a tag that says “You’re a life saver!” or a pack of Mentos with a tag that says “I Mentos thank you for [fill in the blank]!” is a sweet way to express your gratitude that won’t break the bank.
8) Relaxing Break Room
Having a place to de-stress, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, can make a world of difference in staff productivity. Giving people a clean, fun break room is one option. Consider painting part of a wall with chalk board paint – people can draw, play hangman, etc. Or stock the room with board games, bean bag chairs, books, etc.
9) Funny Caricatures
Why not recognize a special deed with a fun personalized gift, like a crazy caricature of the employee doing his job or a hobby? People can hang them in their office space and laugh. It’s something unique and different! More than likely there is a local caricaturist in your area that’s reasonably priced. Or you can find one on Fiverr.com.
10) Give Them A Relaxing Massage
Work stresses a lot of people out. As a thank you, consider bringing in a masseuse or two to the office, and offer employees a free 10- to 15-minute chair massage.
11) Immortalize Employees
If you do have some money in the budget for thank you gifts and rewards, try this amusing gift – action figures and bobble head dolls. That’s right, there are companies that will immortalize your employees by creating in their likeness their very own action figure or bobble head. It’s a great gift because it keeps the rewards light-hearted so people don’t get too serious about them, and it makes them laugh!
12) Meal Delivery
No doubt your employees live hectic lives, and some hate to cook. Find out who those people are and when they’ve earned a thank you or reward, give them a one- or two-week subscriptions to a food service that drops fresh ingredients off at their door, then all they have to do is throw it together and cook it. Even people who like to cook would enjoy this special treat.
13) Gala Treat
Some of your employees probably have a nonprofit or a cause they’re passionate about. Getting them tickets to a gala they normally wouldn’t attend, shows you’re paying attention.
14) Clean And Free
Many of your employees juggle work, family and after work activities. If you ask them what’s the one thing they want, they’d probably say “more time.” While you can’t give them more hours in their day, you can give them more free time with a voucher for a professional cleaning service or lawn care service.
You don’t have to spend a lot to show your employees they’re appreciated, but it doesn’t hurt to indulge them every now and then to show you value their contributions.
Do you have any out-of-the-box ways you thank your employees for a job well done? If so, share them in the comments box below.
Great article! Always looking for creative cost saving motivators! We also utilize our management team for incentives. A manager will wash your car, drop off/pick up dry cleaning, serve you for a day (bring you coffee, snacks, etc.) and other little fun things. Also inexpensive ideas that also show the team spirit and passion of the management team!
Renee Cocchi says
Great ideas Jennifer, thanks for sharing!
Dr. Lynda C. Jackson says
Great article! I am a university professor now, but as a past military leader, with no funds, I created two highly accepted and inexpensive ways to recognize my troops. First, I created a “Workhorse of the Week” award where on a weekly basis I would place a red dump truck on an Airman’s desk for a week after she or he had completed a project or challenging task. The award would be publicized in our daily announcements’ email. It was fun way to recognize hard work and everyone knew what the red truck symbolized. Second, I created a monthly “Yes We Can” award where an Airman would be presented a framed “Yes We Can” certificate that recognized their great performance. Airmen would proudly display their certificate that briefly described the individual’s great accomplishment or contribution to our organization. Both awards were instrumental in building high morale and motivation during my stint with that organization.