Tips for Effectively Recognizing Employees on a Budget


When you’re running a startup and trying to make ends meet, it’s unlikely you have the funds available to spend on lavish perks and rewards for your team. However, it’s still vital to recognize the efforts of all your employees, so that company morale and results stay as high as possible. Read on for some key ways you can show gratitude and recognize the hard work of your staff members without spending a fortune today.

Give a Heartfelt Thanks

For starters, a very low-cost option for recognizing your team is to simply thank them for their efforts. A heartfelt thanks can show people straight away that they’re appreciated, and that you have noticed all the hard work they put in.

Wherever possible, try to have an in-person conversation with your worker to express your gratitude, or else relay your thoughts via a handwritten note. Alternatively, if employees are remote, you can send them a letter or email, or pick up the phone or arrange an online chat.

Whichever method you opt for, just make sure you are specific, genuine, and direct, so that workers really understand the difference their contributions have made to you personally and/or the company and its results or culture.

Recognize Employees Publicly

In addition to, or instead of, thanking your team members privately, you can also make a lovely fuss over them through public recognition. For example, you can express your appreciation at a corporate event, in a business newsletter, or via one or more social media pages.

Another good way to give employees a boost is to present them with trophies, certificates, plaques, crystal awards and other validations which aren’t expensive to source but which can really make your staff members feel special. You might like to set up an Employee of the Month or other structured awards program, or simply hand out a commendation when you think it is warranted.

You might also like to instigate low-key celebrations where you and your top workers can get together as a way of honoring a job well done. For example, you can set up office parties, head out to lunch together, enjoy a picnic, or spend time together in some other celebratory way. A few drinks, sandwiches and other nibbles don’t have to cost much but can have a big impact.

Give Time Off or Low-Budget Rewards

Many employees also like to be rewarded when they have been working really hard or achieving amazing results. As such, even when you have a small budget, it is worth looking into ways you can give out perks which will put a smile on people’s faces.

For starters, something that doesn’t cost you any extra money is simply giving workers some bonus time off as a reward. This could be a day off, longer lunch breaks for a set period, or extra vacation time. You can also consider perks such as a better parking space at the office, some free lunches or massages at work, or even relieving them of having to complete a least-favored task.

When it comes to gifts, there are also plenty of low-cost options to select from. For instance, consider buying things like a movie voucher, bunch of flowers, hamper, book, bottle of wine, store gift voucher, magazine subscription, tea set, or any other gift you think might suit the employee you are wishing to reward.

Provide Opportunities for Employees to Grow and Develop

Lastly, don’t forget that something else that’s important to more and more staff members these days is the opportunity to grow and develop. People want to achieve their career goals and continually learn and try new things, and you have the power to help them do this. As a result, promote people through the ranks over time, and/or look at ways you might be able to give additional responsibilities to your top workers, which they can then use to highlight on their resumes as important experience.

You should also conduct annual, or even quarterly, employee reviews with your team members so you can sit down and discuss their goals for the coming months and put a plan in place to help them achieve them. Another great way to recognize your employees is to give them opportunities to attend key industry or company events. This allows them to network, learn and grow, and shows them that you see them as a key part of the team. You might also want to look into investing in training and mentoring programs, or bringing in speakers to motivate and inspire your workers.


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