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21 “Rewards” That Won’t Break the Bank

It’s likely we’ve all been in a situation where our boss has “thanked” us or we’ve “thanked” our team by giving a free lunch, mall gift certificate, or perhaps an award to hang on the wall. It seems like a pretty good idea at the time, but what happens when lunch is over and the gift certificate is spent?

I’m willing to bet things go back to normal within a day of the effort, because the truth is we’re all hungry for more than just a free lunch. We’re hungry for real recognition and real incentives that actually motivate us to want to do our best every day. To do that you need to find out what matters to the individual and then apply it to their efforts.

Here are twenty-one ideas to help you recognize and reward the individual and get to know what matters to them: 

  1. 1. Mail a hand written note of thanks to the employee’s home
  2. 2. Give new employees a “welcome” card on their first day of work
  3. 3. Remember their name!
  4. 4. Stop by their workplace just to say hello, see how their doing, and sincerely thank them for their efforts 
  5. 5. Call them into your office JUST to give kudos (no criticism “sandwich” allowed here!) 
  6. 6. Say “please” and “thank you” – it goes a LONG way
  7. 7. Ask for their opinion, and really listen to them
  8. 8. Actively allow employees to share in success (no matter what title they hold!)
  9. 9. Find out what they’re passionate about/ interested in and help them apply it to their position
  10. 10. Give rewards that relate to their personal interests (round of golf, amazon gift card, a gift card they can use on their children, etc.) 
  11. 11. Give opportunities to attend special meetings, cross-train, utilize their untapped skills and talents
  12. 12. Create an employee “honor roll” and post it in a public area
  13. 13. Give an extra-long lunch break or allow them to leave 30 mins. early––with pay!
  14. 14. Ask to see pictures of their family or pets––and be sincere in looking at them (quickly builds bonds)
  15. 15. Plan a surprise achievement celebration for truly deserving teams and individuals (be sure to include ALL who contributed to the achievement and do not recognize any who didn’t contribute-it will demotivate the team)
  16. 16. Privately recognize personal needs and challenges 
  17. 17. Include an employee “kudos” column in your company newsletter 
  18. 18. Refer to employees who excel in an area of expertise as “experts” and let it be known to all 
  19. 19. Let employees know their time is as valuable as yours
  20. 20. Appreciate the effort, even when the outcome isn’t a total success
  21. 21. Encourage and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth

For more tips and tools click here.

©2017 Lisa Broesch-Weeks. All rights reserved internationally.