5 Great Employee Rewards That Don’t Bust the Budget

Many companies have been hit hard by these economic times — and as a manager, you know how rough it can be for your team’s morale to find out that benefits are being cut, salaries frozen, or even that some positions may be in jeopardy.

How do you reward employee performance when your organization may be financially strapped?

ThinkstockPhotos-459929143Working from home: Even the option of working from home a single day a week — or a month — can be a great reward for an employee. Let’s face it, gas prices keep rising and every day without driving can help ease an employee’s personal budget. And employees who are able to work from home at times feel trusted and valued by their organization — and the good ones repay that trust!

Written thank-yous: It’s a great emotional lift when a person’s work is recognized — and taking the time to write a specific thank-you when employees go above and beyond, or even just to show your appreciation that they have a great attitude, can really put a smile on their faces — and show that you really do notice and appreciate it.

Create a recognition program: Formally recognizing outstanding achievements on a regular basis is a great incentive. And you can even get everybody involved by asking for coworkers’ nominations — and reading them aloud. Sometimes the recognition alone is enough, but consider alternative rewards as well — like leaving early for a day, or seeing if you can budget in a lunch or inexpensive gift card.

ThinkstockPhotos-100850915Team-building day — or even just an hour: It doesn’t even have to be out of the office — but a performance-based team-building event can be motivating and fun. Inexpensive options could be as simple as a game of Pictionary or hangman on an office whiteboard, or a game of charades. Of course, you have to pick an activity that fits the personalities of your team — but a chance to laugh and have some fun together can really increase morale.

Flexible scheduling: If it’s possible for your department, offering flexible scheduling is a great way to reward employees and keep them happy. Employees able to arrive and leave an hour early or an hour later can not only take advantage of their own peak productivity times, but it can be a weight lifted off their shoulders if they’re juggling family obligations.

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