You’re probably hearing a lot about employee engagement these days. It’s kind of all the rage and yeah, a bit of a buzz phrase, but here’s the thing: Everyone’s all abuzz for good reason. Engaged employees are straight up a) happier and b) more productive.
Honestly, it’s not that hard to increase employee engagement. The not-so-magic formula is knowing how to recognize and reward employees, especially your high-performers. (P.S. This doesn’t necessarily mean handing out cash.)
Here are 9 low-cost ways to reward employees:
1. Express thanks with a public thank you. Sometimes a simple “thank you” can do wonders, especially in a public forum — like an all-company meeting or an email blast. (Pro tip: Bcc your company alias to avoid unleashing a slew of reply-alls.)
2. Give a hand-written note. In an age of emails and texts, a simple handwritten note really stands out. Take a few moments to write out your thanks in a nice card or even grab a colorful Post-it® note.
3. Offer time off. If employees are putting in extra hours or weekend time to finish a project, consider offering an extra day off — or letting them take off a few hours early on a Friday.
4. Give small gifts. No need to go over budget with large cash gifts. Instead, think of thoughtful, yet inexpensive gifts like gift cards to a local coffee shop, movie tickets or flowers.
5. Give them a wacky and fun award. Here at Limeade, we give the “Make Others Great Award” on a monthly basis to an employee nominated by their peers. It’s one of our favorite employee reward ideas — the winner is announced at an all-staff meeting and the employee gets to have a large green shoe on their desk for the entire month.
6. Cover commuting costs. If employees usually pay for parking or public transportation, offer a reward of one month of free parking, a bus pass or a gas card.
7. Offer chair massages. Individual massages can be expensive, but if you want to reward a big group of employees, consider hiring a masseuse for the day and offering 15-minute chair massages.
8. Feature top employees on your company blog or newsletter. By featuring top employees in your company blog or newsletter, you not only give them the recognition they deserve, but you broadcast what your company values in top employees. This is great for recruiting as well as motivating current employees.
9. Schedule an all-company activity. Many companies plan holiday parties, but you can recognize great work all around by planning an impromptu activity that gives employees a few hours off from work. At Limeade, we had a great time spending a half-day on the slopes for a Frozen Friday event. Other employee reward ideas include a summer field day — with a BBQ and outdoor games — or a company-sponsored happy hour. All company events help with more than recognition for hard work — they also boost morale and build relationships and collaboration between departments.