September 4, 2008

Five ways to reward employees without spending money

Filed under: HR — Nicola Rowe @ 6:28 am
Tags: ,


Want to reward your employees, but lack the budget to splash out on bonuses or raises? Here are five ways to reward your employees effectively without spending a cent.


1. Praise

Often overlooked, praise is the simplest and most effective way to reward individual acts. Praise should be specific. Explain what the employee has specifically done well and why it matters to the company – not just “well done”, but “You did a good job managing Mr. Jackson’s complaint this morning. You’ve just created another satisfied customer who will bring more business to us.” Praise is more effective when it’s delivered in public, so don’t shy from praising your employees in front of others. Remember, though, that individuals aren’t always the right target for praise. If a group has done well, praise the team, not just the leader.


2. Time

Everyone wishes they had an extra hour or two in the day. So why not give a top employee a well-deserved break? “Anna, it’s great that you’ve finished the library job a week early. I’d like you to go home early this afternoon.” If you’re worried about productivity, schedule the time off for Monday morning or Friday afternoon.


3. Events

People relax when they’re out of the office. Getting your employees together for an activity off-site can be a fun way for them to kick back and enjoy the fruits of their labor. It doesn’t have to be bowling: you can go indoor-climbing, play theatersports, or even learn to make sushi together. If you don’t think employees will stump up the cash to go, why not do something free, like a pot-luck picnic in the park? It doesn’t have to cut into work time, either: arrange to get together one evening after work.


4. Services

Liaise with local businesses to see whether you can swap your services for credit. If you’re an accounting business, can you swap a few hours with a style adviser? For the time it takes you to do her taxes, she gives you a set of one-hour sessions. Your employees would probably never think of “getting their colors done”, but they’ll jump at the chance to have a style consultation for free. Or, if fashion isn’t their thing, why not barter services with a local physiotherapist so you can hand out massage vouchers to staff?


5. Status

There’s nothing more galling to an administrative employee than feeling like a cog in a big machine. Next time you make a supplier visit, take your secretary along. They’ll probably enjoy meeting the people they only know from email headers and the telephone. You’ll benefit, too: once she can put faces to names, you’ll find that communications become warmer and more congenial.


In sum, you don’t have to spend money to show your appreciation for your staff. Recognition, unexpected breaks, get-togethers, unusual services and signs of esteem go a lot further toward applauding your employees than a little extra cash. And they’ll thank you for it, too – not just with words, but with increased motivation and more effective work.


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