Rewarding Your Team When the Budget is Tight

Figuring out new and creative ways to recognize and reward employees can be incredibly challenging. And if you’re working with a limited budget – or no budget at all – the difficulty just multiplies.

Research proves that happy employees who feel appreciated by their managers and companies are far more productive, get better results, and are more loyal to their organizations than their unhappy counterparts.

503934Recognizing and rewarding employees effectively is THE NUMBER ONE thing you can do to improve organizational performance, enhance employee satisfaction, decrease turnover, and build morale. There are many motivational techniques that don’t require spending money and can often work better than ones that do. Here are a few cost-free ways you can keep your employees motivated:

1. Good old-fashioned praise
Almost everyone responds well to praise. A simple “well done” or “nice work” makes the employee feel like they’re doing a good job which, in turn, will spur them on to continue to do well. The exception—when praise reeks of insincerity or manipulation. Be specific with your praise. Always add how the job was “well done.”

2. Show appreciation
A simple, handwritten “thank you” instead of a quick e-mail makes an employee feel that what they’re doing is being recognized. Say “thanks” to show appreciation for them doing even standard parts of their jobs. In tough times, sometimes just the “basics” deserve praise because they’re being done under more difficult circumstances.

3. Develop a recognition program
dog tratEmployee of the month makes people feel rewarded. So do other special recognition awards. Be certain if your team is small that there is ample opportunity for everyone to gain the recognition. While competition is normally healthy, in a difficult environment where morale is already low, it’s best to develop recognition that rewards everyone’s efforts.

4. Small gestures of thanks
Simply show more interest than you might have in the past about your employees’ family life. If times are hard at work, they’re probably equally difficult at home. If you’ve never taken the time to learn a child’s or spouse’s name, now is the time. Ask about special hobbies or projects your team members enjoy. Build a sense of camaraderie, which will inspire loyalty.

5. Maintain an open door policy
This means that you are accessible to your staff, eliminating the “them and us” atmosphere, and employees will know that they can talk to you and that you will listen.

6. Include a note in their personnel file
Put a note in their personnel file to acknowledge the extra effort they’re giving under these difficult times. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll remember it when you give their performance appraisal.

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