Rewarding your staff for a job well done is an important strategy for not only demonstrating appreciation, but also boosting office morale and keeping everyone focused on meeting goals. While many reward or incentive programs are centered on monetary bonuses, there are a number of other, more cost-effective rewards that can be used, especially if you run a smaller operation and the company budget for non-essential programs is limited.
"Rewarding employees for a job truly well-done is essential," says Ann Eisenreich, Division Director of Beacon Hill Legal in Chicago. "Who doesn't appreciate a pat on the back? Giving rewards and recognition builds and maintains morale, adds to group cohesiveness, and fosters a positive work environment. Whether it be an individual or group email, a shortened work day and celebration outside the office, or something as simple as a 'Congrats' and a high-five, even small gestures make such a tremendous difference."
So if you're an employer looking to reward your employees without breaking the bottom line, check out the list of seven suggestions below.
1. Lunch once a month.
If your team reaches set goals or performs particularly well, consider rewarding the team with lunch once a month. A great way to do this without breaking the bank is to order food to the office, as opposed to taking everyone to a restaurant. Grab pizza or sandwiches or Chinese food, Forbes advised. Few people will turn away a free meal, and it's also a great opportunity for team bonding. However, if you do decide to buy the office lunch, avoid alienating anyone by checking with them on dietary restrictions beforehand.
2. Offer a paid day off.
One great way to reward employees without handing over a lump sum cash bonus is to offer a day or two of paid time off, ERE Media suggested. Staff members will likely value this highly, because in today's hectic culture, securing enough time off to be spent with family and friends can be difficult. Offering a "one-off" vacation day might also encourage employees to take a true relaxation day, as employees tend to allocate their vacation days towards family vacations and other large occasions.
"Offer deserving staff members a day or two of paid time off."
3. Send out an email.
An effective and completely free way to keep your staff members feeling valued is to send a company-wide email, praising their hard work, Forbes stated. In addition to boosting the employee's confidence and morale, he or she can keep the email for their records, and present it at any future meetings concerning promotion.
4. Tickets for an event.
Offer your workers an experience by rewarding them with tickets to the movies. If your budget allows, you could even stretch further to tickets for a sporting event or concert. Make it extra special by researching their favorite team or band beforehand. Such a move will demonstrate generosity as well as thoughtfulness - two things that will enhance staff morale and consolidate loyalty.
5. Set up an employee of the month award
According to the website You Earned It, employee of the month programs, whereby a team will nominate a candidate to win a prize, are a great way to bestow praise. The prize could be a small bonus, gift card or paid day off. This system is particularly cost-effective, as it requires rewarding one employee per month, but involves and engages the entire office.
6. Send a gift basket
This strategy is effective because it carries an element of surprise and demonstrates thoughtfulness. Send over a gift basket, complete with a thank you note, Forbes stated. The thank-you note is important, especially if it refers to a specific achievement, because it demonstrates attentiveness to the employee's work. Combine this with a thoughtfully selected gift basket to show that you care about them as a person, not only as a worker.
7. Let them choose their next project
This suggestion will only work in certain organizations and departments, but it certainly bears mentioning, as it is cheap and guaranteed to work. Reward a hard working employee by allowing him or her to decide the next project that they will be involved with, You Earned It advised. The technique is beneficial for both parties: The employee determines a project that s/he wants to work on, and you receive more impassioned and motivated work as a result.
This content is brought to you by the Marketing Department at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.