25 (Almost) Free Ways to Reward Your Employees

1. Give a Starbucks gift card to one of your top performers.

2. Let one of your high performers off 2 hours early with pay before the weekend if you can. Take turns surprising one employee at a time.

3. Could your business afford to give to the employees’ favorite charity? It could be in the form of a matching contribution (deductable for you) or a half-day off to volunteer at their child’s school or charity.

4. Let the employees know what plans you have for the business. You might be surprised how interested they are in hearing the update.

5. Ever heard of Send Out Cards? Send your employee a thank you for doing a great job or send a birthday card on their birthday. It is easy and inexpensive with Send Out Cards, contact GiGi Sampson at gigi@gigisampson.com; phone 704.966.6992. Check out her website www.sendoutcards.com/heart_hugs.

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6. Let your employees swap for a day. Give your best employees a chance to pick their own projects or trade tasks with a colleague. It empowers and rewards them at the same time.

7. Celebrate birthdays with a cake or cupcakes.

8. Let them be heard. Invite your top performers to lunch and ask for their feedback and ideas. They feel recognized and important. It increases their loyalty and guess what, they have some great ideas since they are in the trenches every day.

9. Do you have a newsletter that you send out to your customers? If you do, focus on one of your employees. Tell them what a great job they are doing. This way the employees may get a positive response from the customers.

10. Start a Wall of Fame. Set aside a public space inside your company and place photos of employees who’ve accomplished something truly special, along with the details of what they did to earn their place on the wall.

11. It may sound like kindergarten, but remember the secret words. The two most underused words in corporate America that get the highest rewards are the simple words ‘thank you.”

12. On those extra busy days when a big task has been completed, bring by a surprise ice cream cake or other treat.

13. Are you preparing for another boring meeting with your staff? Let one of your top performers run the meeting. You can sit back and enjoy the ride.

14. Come up with a fun trophy for your team. Pass it around to a different employee every week or month. You might be surprised at the energy it brings to the group.

15. Flex those hours. If there’s one free reward that rises above the rest, it’s flexible work schedules. Flex time is a perk that offers the most gain with the least pain.

 16. Have the business owner write a hand written note to a top employee. Make the message specific to what the employee does every day to earn the title as a top employee.

17. How can you make work fun? It could be everyone wears wacky socks to work, everyone gets to take off their shoes for the day or you have a clown stop by and sing to the work group. Whatever it is, make it fun and full of laughter.

18. Hand out movie passes when a big movie hits the screens. Keep them for top performers.

19. Have a day when all of the employees write thank-you notes to their co-workers. Post them in the areas where the employees go frequently. Leave them up for awhile. You might want to put them in a place where your customers are able to read them too.

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20. Ask each employee to bring in a picture of themselves when they were very young. Give prizes to those who are able to guess the true identity of the youngsters.

21. Remember the families. Host a covered dish dinner. The company can buy the meat dish and everyone gets to meet the families of the employees.

22. Have a company Olympics day. Make up some fun, goofy games around the work that your company does and allow employees to spend their lunch hour or last couple of hours of the day competing. It might be fun to put teams together so they can compete.

23. If you can, have a meeting outdoors on a nice day. It will allow for fresh air in the meeting. Who knows what great ideas could pop up?

24. When one of your employees recommends an employee and they turn out to be a great fit and top performer reward the employee that made the recommendation. It will be worth it!

25. Encourage employees to stretch or take a short walk on their break. It will make the last few hours easier and more productive.