A dozen budget-friendly ways to reward employees

A dozen budget-friendly ways to reward employees

measuring moneyRecognizing employee accomplishments is one of the best ways to motivate and maintain a loyal employee base. A recent 10-year global study shows just barely half (51%) of the more than 2.5 million employees surveyed feel appreciated. Further, a Forbes Magazine report indicates 87% of employee recognition programs are based solely on tenure instead of on performance. Rhett Power, co-founder of Wild Creations, one of South Carolina’s fastest growing companies, says even on a budget there are a number of ways to make people happier and feel more connected to their work.


Ask staff to post recognition notes to each other on a bulletin board or internal link. Add testimonies from external customers.

Time off

Give people time off. Time is the most precious gift, and people will always remember that afternoon or day to do what they love.

Reach out

Send a letter to the employee’s family, telling them why their loved one is so important to the company’s mission.

Pitch in

Do one of the employee’s least favorite tasks.

A small gift

Give a coffee or carwash gift card.

Office fun

Create a fun “traveling award” such as a rubber chicken or whoopee cushion.


Allow people to work from home or present them with a “flexible day” certificate. You’ll be amazed at what gets accomplished.

Department shout outs

Give departments their own Week: Accounting Week, Programmer Week, etc. Recognize the contributions made, take them to lunch, make certificates.

New ventures

Create opportunities: be a mentor, chair a committee, do research.

Life events

Celebrate birthdays, babies, weddings, graduations, and any happy time. Bring people together for cake and socializing.

Wall of Fame

Establish a “Wall of Fame” for photos and clippings that recognize outstanding achievement. Mention staff in the company newsletter, too.

Just say it

Say “I’m glad you’re here.” and “Thank you.” Priceless!