Staff recognition: 7 ways to reward your staff... without breaking the bank

When it comes to retaining your best people, there's nothing quite like a promotion, a brand new office and offering a pay rise. But in the end, throwing money at your employees isn't always the best solution to reward and recognise your staff, especially if there isn't any budget available. Employers need to think of different ways to keep their staff motivated and get creative with their staff rewards.

Why does staff recognition matter? As a manager, you're looking to keep your team motivated, secure the loyalty of your team, and keep them invested in your organisation. And let's face it, we all appreciate the little extras thrown in on top of our normal pay and benefits package. There are different ways however to reward your staff and thank your employees for their contribution, and they don't all involve breaking the bank.

They might not be enough to keep your team happy in the long run, not unless there is a realistic chance of career progression, but these perks can go some way to building a positive workplace environment and improving employee morale.

Building a strong team culture and a positive work environment will go a long way to improving your staff members’ life in the office. It's often the day-to-day staff recognition and rewards that can make a considerable difference in whether an employee decides to move to greener pastures. So it's worth thinking about what you can do to reward your staff and make your employees' lives that little bit richer, even if you can't offer them greater financial rewards. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Offer a birthday lie-in

Nobody really wants to come into work on their birthday, but it's not always possible to take annual leave that day. Going easy on your staff on their big day is a nice little gesture to recognise and reward your staff. You could for example allow them to have a lie-in and a leisurely breakfast before trundling into the office by lunchtime. Or let them work from home to avoid the commute, or better still, go the whole hog and give them the day off.

2. Get outside and have a staff activity day

Organising an activity day for your employees every now and then can work wonders for staff morale. Go easy on the corporate team-building rhetoric this time and just let them loose in the wild (with safety harnesses of course). We're talking treetop zip wires, raging river rapids and loop-the-loop rollercoasters but if that doesn't float your boat, why not consider a family picnic in the park to reward your staff. If your employees are having fun, the chances are they are building stronger relationships with their colleagues, and establishing a stronger team mentality. Employees who connect with their colleagues outside of the office are more likely to transfer the benefits that relationship can bring back into the office environment.

3. Offer amazing discounts

As a business leader, you can use your organisation's relationships with its clients, suppliers and partners to secure some great rewards for your staff. Give them the chance to shop, eat, exercise or glam themselves up while saving a few dollars by organising discounts on a local gym membership, a nearby cafe or beauty salon. Being able to save money on something of value will be seen as a genuine perk of working for your organisation.

4. Offer casual Fridays

Casual Fridays aren't exactly everybody's cup of tea, but some people absolutely love it! You're sure to brighten up many of your employees' day by allowing them to ditch their suit and come to work in casual attire. And of course, you can do something positive by raising money for charity in the process - something your clients are likely to approve of.

5. Switch on the TV

When it comes to major events, like the Olympic Games, World Cup or even a local cricket match, why not turn your TV on and invite your employees to listen in on the action as it unfolds? Again, this isn't for everyone so it's best to turn on the TV in the conference room so if those in the office would like to carry-on working uninterrupted they can.

6. Throw a pizza party

If your team have just completed a new project or surpassed their goals for the quarter, why not recognise the success of your staff by throwing a pizza party for the team. Offering your employees a free lunch will not go unnoticed and will be sure to lift their spirits for a job well done. 

7. Be flexible

Perhaps more than anything else, if you reward your staff they are likely to appreciate pragmatic, flexible management. If they need to go to a private appointment, and are willing to make the time up during the week, there's no need to make a fuss about it. Let them go, and don't make them waste half a day's annual leave. Similarly, if employees need to pick their children up from school, try to accommodate them by offering flexible working hours and support your staff in achieving work-life balance.

...and don't forget the simple 'thank you'

Sometimes when it comes to staff recognition and improving employee morale, the simple thank you for a job well done can go a long way. Whether it be one-on-one, in a company-wide email or at the weekly team meeting, acknowledging your employee with a simple 'thank you' out loud can do wonders.

Staff recognition is acknowledged as a key driver of employee engagement, satisfaction and loyalty. But don’t forget, recognising and rewarding your staff go beyond the monetary aspect. Use these creative ideas to reward your staff and to build a better work culture.

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This article originally appeared as 7 ways to reward your staff... without breaking the bank on the Robert Half UK blog.

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