Most managers know that it’s important to recognize and reward great performance but not all companies can afford comprehensive bonus and incentive schemes. But money isn’t the only thing employees want, or even what motivates them most. Flexibility and growth opportunities are two of the most valued work benefits and they cost little to nothing.

Let’s take a look at a few ways to recognize your employees without blowing the bank:

  • Thank You Wall – Dedicate a space for great feedback received from clients, partners, suppliers etc. It’s a great reminder of why we do what we do, as well as a nice way to publicly recognize good work.
  • Day Off – Award employees with an extra day off.
  • Training and Events – Offer to send staff to a training workshop or industry event, all expenses paid. This can also apply to association membership fees.
  • Mentorship – One of the most flattering ways to recognize someone as an expert is to ask them to become a mentor. This can also be a two-way street by pairing up your most promising employees with senior mentors.
  • Public Announcements and Awards – Have a token award or public meeting dedicated to congratulating top performers weekly/monthly/quarterly.
  • Employee of the Month – An oldie but a goodie. Employees of the Month can be either management and/or peer nominated. Just beware favouritism.
  • Take Employees Out – At the end of a project or closing a big deal it’s always a nice to touch to take some time out and treat your team to lunch or some after-work drinks.
  • Just say “Thank You” – A little thank you can go a long way. Studies show more than 70 per cent of employees don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer. Ongoing praise and encouragement, no matter how big or small will help employees feel valued. This is especially important for Gen Y.

Things to Consider

There’s a couple of things managers should keep in mind when recognizing and rewarding employees –

  • Be Timely – Try to reward/recognize employees as close as possible to their date of achievement.
  • Be Consistent – If you reward Person A for X achievement, remember to reward Person B if they also achieve X.
  • Be Clear – Make sure your employees understand how any rewards are earned and make the rules fair for all employees involved.
  • Avoid Favouritism – If possible, tie rewards to measurables to avoid favouritism and subjectivity. This is much easier to do in some departments such as sales, than others like admin. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t reward them, just be clear as to how performance is measured.