Team recognizing, applauding and shaking hands with colleague

Employee recognition is a powerful part of fostering an engaged, happy and productive team. Showing appreciation and gratitude for can help decrease turnover, improve employee and customer satisfaction, and help your business be more successful overall.

In an Employee Engagement Study of the Canadian Workplace by Psychometrics, 82% of employees indicated that it’s very important for their organization to address employee engagement, and 52% said that recognition would help improve engagement.

Employee Appreciation Day falls on March 4 each year and is a great time to do something special, but there are many ways to recognize your team year-round, even if your budget is limited.

Here are 25 thoughtful and budget-friendly recognition ideas:

  1. Just say “thank you!” – words are incredibly powerful.
  2. Handwrite a short thank you note and leave it on their desk or mail it to their home.
  3. Recognize their contribution in the internal company newsletter, chat channel, or blog.
  4. Make a charitable donation on their behalf (find a cause that’s close to their heart).
  5. Treat them to a one-on-one lunch. If an in-person lunch isn’t possible, buy them a gift card for a food delivery service and have a virtual lunch together.
  6. Send them a bunch of flowers, basket of fruit or box of cookies.
  7. Give them a bonus day off or flex time (above and beyond their normal vacation allotment).
  8. Let them leave early on a Friday (with pay).
  9. Pre-buy them a week of coffee or tea from their favourite café.
  10. Get them a plant for their desk at work or home office.
  11. Arrange to have their car washed or detailed.
  12. Buy them a yearly subscription to a magazine or streaming service.
  13. Stock the office kitchen with snacks and beverages for a Friday afternoon treat.
  14. Schedule for their house to be cleaned.
  15. Offer them your time to coach and mentor them or provide training on a specific area they want to improve.
  16. Purchase a transit pass for them.
  17. Give them movie tickets and a free pass to watch it during the workday.
  18. Play music in the office and let the person you are recognizing choose the tunes for the day.
  19. Let them bring their dog to the office for the day.
  20. Host a company BBQ in the summer.
  21. Feature them in a story or spotlight on your company’s social media.
  22. Have a monthly team award for living the company values with nominations submitted by fellow employees.
  23. Buy them a gym membership or fitness class pass.
  24. Pay for them to attend a special networking event, course, or conference.
  25. Nominate them for an award in their industry or community.

Or… Go Big!

As you can see there are many ways to recognize your team with a limited budget. But if your organization has a bit more financial flexibility, you could look at some “go big” options such as Reward Gateway’s elaborate ‘Thank You Festival’ or Motley Fool’s comprehensive recognition program, which includes unlimited vacation days and ‘gold’ that can be redeemed for a variety of awards.

Remote & Hybrid Teams

For teams working remotely some or all of the time, some traditional methods of recognition might not be appropriate or possible. Managing remote teams can be challenging and recognition is an important component to helping your team feel connected and engaged. Get creative and find ways to leverage virtual meetings, internal chat platforms, online games, couriers, electronic gift cards or food delivery services to show your appreciation no matter how spread out your team may be!

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