Beyond Money and Promotions: 6 Budget-Friendly Employee Recognition Ideas That Work

It’s not easy to deal with a situation that involves being cash-strapped and coming up with employee recognition ideas that don’t involve a raise or a promotion. Today, we have 6, inexpensive yet invaluable, employee recognition ideas that can take an employer-employee relationship to the next level.

Employee recognition is one key element that determines the success of your organization. As an employer, you must understand that unless you let your employees know that they’re appreciated and valued, they will never work to the best of their abilities.

Although there are plenty of employee recognition ideas that can help retain star performers in the organisation, we bring to you 6 examples (other than a promotion or a raise) that can help your staff feel motivated, energetic, appreciated without breaking the bank.

1. Tell the World About Them

When you commend your employee whenever he or she does a good job, you’re essentially telling the world that you’re an employee-first company. It works wonders for your public image; that you care for your employees.

There are certain communication channels that you can use to propagate the appreciation. For instance, you could give an official shout out on your LinkedIn page to an employee who has recently achieved something noteworthy.

When you share appreciation for your employee on a public forum such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, etc., the employee will end up with a feel-good sensation especially if the post attracts a lot of likes and good comments.

If you feel that social media and public forums aren’t the best avenues for employee recognition, you could opt for something like a monthly newsletter that is shared with all your clients. Employees will appreciate your gesture and know that you’re confident in your decision to share employee-centric information with your customer base. Alternatively, if you have a dedicated page on your website or intranet, you can have a “star employee” section where employee achievements are published every month or so.

2. Other Employees Must Know About the Star Performers

There are times when an employee goes out of his or her way to help out the customers. Of course, when this happens, there is always positive feedback about the employee being shared by the client.

While this feedback when shared with the employee in question is extremely special, you could go a step further and reinforce the feel-good factor for the employee by sharing the plaudits with other employees in the organization.

For instance, you can share the information during a meeting, post it on your company’s intranet page, or let all team members present on a particular specific communication channel know about it.

By doing this, you’re letting the employee know that you appreciate the hard work. The employee also feels extra motivated to do more when compliments and congratulations pour in from other employees in the organization.

3. Have Someone From the Leadership Team Say Thanks

Having someone from the senior team of leaders walk up to an employee to drop a heartfelt note of thanks or perhaps even a pat on the back for an amazing work done works wonders.

But bear in mind that this isn’t for all organizations. Only those with a strong top-down hierarchy often go with this approach. And the reason why this isn’t for all is obvious — not every frontline employee has a direct interaction with the senior leadership team. They usually work and communicate with their co-workers or report to their line manager.

The jubilant feeling of being recognised and appreciated by someone up top is unbeatable. More so in a bigger organization with thousands of employees. An employee will undoubtedly be on cloud nine if any CXO-level employee personally comes over to thank him or her for their contribution.

4. Help Out With a Social Cause

As an organization, you not only have to be employee-centric but also socially responsible. So, how do you combine the two — philanthropy and appreciation. Perhaps the best way to go about this is by donating to a cause that is fully supported by the employee in question.

Before you start donating, check up on the legitimacy of the charitable institution; you want to make sure that it is registered. While the most important part of going down this road is, of course, employee appreciation and recognition (since you’re supporting a charity that they support), you can drum up positive PR for your brand by making the donations public.

5. Do Something About the Commute

There are many employee-related issues that employers need to be wary of. Commuting is one such activity that is a part of our daily lives. But it’s also a constant source of stress and unhappiness, not to mention an added expense, for the employees.

Many employers today support employees’ daily commute. You can do the same for an employee. For instance, if an employee regularly drives to work, you can arrange a company cab or provide fuel or conveyance allowance. If employees are taking public transport such as buses and metro, arrange travel passes every month.

Some organizations in other countries even provide bicycles to their employees. By supporting their commute, you’re helping them lower their expenses, reducing employee stress and unhappiness, and doing your bit for the planet (at least for some of the cases mentioned above).

6. Create Opportunities for Them to Learn and Grow

All companies want to stay relevant in this fast-paced world. Training your employees regularly is not only a mandate that you have to follow, but also a much-needed, repetitive phase in the lifecycle of an organization to take it to new heights.

Training and learning opportunities must be given to employees not only because you want to future-proof your organization, but also to help them do their jobs better. When developing a training and learning module, you should keep in mind that you have to keep it relevant and engaging for the employees.

You can partner with learning and development platforms and offer free or subsidized courses for your employees. If possible, try to only curate courses on digital dexterity that offer a certificate at the end. Once you invest in their passion and desire to learn, they will appreciate that you take them seriously. With the right training module, you’re helping the employees add more value to their CVs. What’s more, the skill they learn will come in handy for your business.

While each of the 6 ideas for employee appreciation and recognition mentioned above is instrumental in retaining employees by keeping them happy, satisfied, and appreciated, perhaps the easiest, quickest, and favourable method is simply being upfront about it.

Well, how do you do that?

Just let them know that you’re aware of their achievements and contributions. For example, if employees have measured targets and only one has consistently outperformed the rest, you can just let everyone know by displaying the numbers somewhere.

You can have a tracker with numbers recorded by the overachiever at the very top for all to see. If a team member has recently won an accolade for outstanding performance, you could build a trophy cabinet for it.

What you eventually choose to do to appreciate your employee depends on the budget you have. Money and promotions aren’t the only options, nor are they the most-effective. Remember, you want to retain your top performers. And a little thank you or appreciation goes a long way.

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