8 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Employee Appreciation

Employees like to feel they are being treated fairly financially, but in this day and age, money isn’t the only motivator. That’s why there are annual competitions for the “Best Places to Work,” which have categories ranging from benefits to communication and corporate leadership. Personally, I know many people who have willingly accepted positions at a company for less money than they could have received elsewhere because of the work environment.

One element of a positive work environment is being recognized for your contributions to the business. A highly successful and innovative company needs energized employees who know that hard work and going the extra mile will be noticed and rewarded. Too often, I find companies fall short on this simple standard which makes employees feel no matter how much they give management takes it for granted.

Here are some ideas to show your appreciation to employees:

1. Make it Personal

Personally express your gratitude to each of your employees. This may be the most important step for you to take. While we’re talking about employee appreciation day, this is really something you should do regularly.  Make sure your comments are authentic and sincere otherwise it can backfire on you.

2. Food and Fun

Award your team by closing up shop early and going out for a happy hour or have lunch catered and take an extended lunch break. How about breakfast?  There are companies, such as the Pancake Man, that come to your office and prepare pancakes with a little flair of entertainment too. To hold the budget down, you could do a potluck, and ask everyone to bring their favorite dish.

3. Schedule Fun Entertainment

One of my colleagues is a customer service expert, but he is also a fantastic magician. You could bring in someone like that who could share a little wisdom and entertain at the same time.

4. Spark the Competitive Spirit

Ask your employees to bring in their favorite games and enjoy a few hours of casual fun. You can also stage a trivia contest and give the best team a gift card to a favorite local restaurant.

5. Give a Small Gift

Scratch off lottery tickets are always fun.  Give everyone on your team a few and see if there are any big winners. How about holding a drawing where the winner receives a professional house cleaning? (Toss my name in the hat if you do that one!)

6. Humorous Dress Day

You’ve heard of the ugly Christmas sweater parties, how about the most outrageous outfit day. Of course, if you have a lot of clients or customers in your office, this may not be appropriate.  As an alternative, I know some companies that have had fun with “dress like the boss” day; it can be hilarious when people point out your little habits.

7. Ice Cream Social

Have you ever seen anyone eat ice cream without a smile? Have a local ice cream store bring in an assortment of flavors and toppings and let your team build their own sundae.

8. Relieve the Stress

I’m sure you’ve seen the chair massage places in the airports and shopping malls. Bring in several massage therapists and let your team enjoy.

While Employee Appreciation Day is only one day a year, a good business leader should make every day employee appreciation day. It’s hard to attract and retain good employees so show your team how much you appreciate them regularly.

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