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7 Cheap Employee Recognition Ideas

Imagine, for a moment, that you have someone over for dinner. You spend the entire day preparing the meal – shopping, then prepping, then slaving over a hot stove. Finally, after hours of labour you serve up a delicious feast to your guest. You watch as they eat every bite, then stand up and leave, without so much as a thank you.
Do you think you’d pour that much effort into a meal for that person again?
For many employees working in what they deem to be thankless jobs, it’s the same principle. A lack of recognition of a job well done can be incredibly demoralising and can cause even the brightest employees to check out.
So how can you combat this?
Through smart, effective, considered employee recognition ideas.

Our inexpensive ideas to show employees appreciation

There are many ways to recognise what your employees do for you and your business, ranging from broad, company-wide celebrations to smaller, personal individual acts of recognition.
And the best part?
Employee recognition needn’t cost the earth. In fact, here are 7 of our favourite, cheap employee recognition ideas.
Remember your manners
Say please when you need something done. Say thank you when your employees do something well. Being genuine and expressing your thanks can go a long way in fostering goodwill with your employees.
Write a note
Want to go one step further than just a verbal thanks? Consider writing a note or card expressing your gratitude. Just make sure it’s personal and unique – a form-letter with a hastily scribbled signature at the bottom is likely to have the opposite effect to what you want.
Opportunity rocks
It might seem counterintuitive, but for the more ambitious members of your staff, further opportunities to shine can be a great reward. Giving high-performing team members a chance to helm a team or a project is a very effective way of recognising good work.
Coffee break
Got a team that’s gone above and beyond on a project? Treating them all to a coffee or lunch won’t cost all that much, and will go a long way in making your employees feel appreciated.
Acknowledge milestones
Birthdays aren’t just an excuse to buy a cake with company money – it’s also a way to show employees that you care about them beyond what they do from 9 – 5. Acknowledging personal milestones – whether it’s a birthday, the birth of a child or participation in a charity event – is an easy way to show employees you care.
Celebrate good times (come on!)
Got a little more budget to splash around? Consider throwing a company picnic or dinner. The end of the year is ideal – fair or not, employees tend to look unfavourably on companies that don’t hold some kind of event before the holiday break. Events like this allow employees to get together in a relaxed environment, and let their hair down once in awhile – get to know each other not only as co-workers but as friends too.
The gift that keeps giving
There are, of course, gifts that are relatively cheap and make effective tokens of appreciation. It is common practice for employers to play it safe by giving their employees gift cards, but a well-considered, personalised gift is an even better bet.

All of these strategies are tried, effective and cheap, and they will all increase your standing as a leader within your company, as well as increase your employee’s interest and enthusiasm in their job – one of the many benefits of employee recognition.
Liked these strategies? Check out these 10 additional ideas to make your employees feel special.

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