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Employee Recognition on a Budget – It Can Be Done

The post is sponsored; however, all opinions are 100% my own and are not influenced in any way.

Having worked in corporate America for nearly twenty years, I’ve seen a lot of good and bad things when it comes to how employees are treated. One thing that’s remained consistent is how the act of employee recognition positively impacts the company and the people working there. I’ve experienced working in a large corporation and a small corporation and I am well aware (as an accounting person) that the budgets are very different. Don’t get discouraged if you are a manager looking for ways to increase employee recognition and the budget doesn’t seem to allow it, there’s always a way!

Employee Recognition TipsThe large corporation I worked at was honestly the best at employee recognition. In general, that’s not saying larger corporations are better at recognizing, but in my personal experience it was. There was ALWAYS something going on to encourage employees to do a great job. There were employee rewards programs, there were lunchtime picnics, there were certificates, there were hot chocolate and coffee bars, snacks for no reason, trips to be won and there were even car giveaways. They were consistent in their efforts at making employees feel appreciated and it paid off. We felt great about our jobs. Sodexo, a worldwide leader in Quality of Life Services, believes that to create value, businesses and society as a whole must make people’s well-being a priority. I couldn’t agree more. I know many types of recognition in the workplace can be expensive but in all honesty, as an employee I’ve always felt that consistency is the biggest part of the equation. As a manager you can’t tell someone you appreciate them and make a small gesture and then for the next 6 months tell them all of the things that need to be improved upon. Yes, as a manger it is your job to get this across but it’s all about presentation. Unless you just simply have a really bad employee (if that’s the case why are they still employed there?) people will respond to your actions. If you are positive and happy, they will be, too. If you show appreciation they will try to keep it up and/or even work harder. Recognize these things, over and over if you must. Try to finish off a negative delivery of news with a positive note.

Outside of your words, there are other things that small corporations on a limited budget can do to show employee recognition for a job well done. Let me say this though, employee retention is an important part of the budget to consider because training a new employee can oftentimes cost more than the amount it costs you to show your existing employees how much they are appreciated. If you budget even just a small amount each month it can make a difference in how you are viewed by your employees. Take these ideas into consideration:

  • Coffee and hot chocolate bar – This can be especially nice if you live in an area where the weather gets cold. Greet your employees at the door with an offer to make them a hot drink. Coffee and hot chocolate are inexpensive but this is still a nice gesture to show employee recognition and appreciation.
  • Ice Cream Cart – Many areas have a place that will rent out ice cream carts to walk around and deliver an afternoon snack. Something as small as an ice cream bar and a “thank you” can go a long way. Don’t leave out the “thank you” when you do try to show appreciation. To save even more money, forget renting the cart, go to a warehouse store and buy the ice cream bars and just cart them around on a cart your company already owns.
employee recognition notes

(Click link below for a printer friendly PDF version.)

  • A simple note – Yes, a simple note. Written words can carry a lot of weight., more than you know. Take a moment to fill out one of these employee recognition cards and leave it on the desk of someone who’s done a great job today. It takes only a few moments and a bit of ink to print but it’ll put a smile on someone’s face and make them want to work harder for you!
  • Employee of the Month – This type of program can be free or very inexpensive. You can print out a certificate to recognize the individual, you can offer a close parking space for the month and even treat the employee to a special lunch. A month long recognition can really make someone feel great about their job and it doesn’t take much from the company!

Employee recognition doesn’t have to cost a lot. Although it is cost effective to budget for ways to recognize employees it can definitely be done on a small budget. Remember to keep it consistent and treat employees how you would want your boss to treat you. You have the ability to improve the quality of life at work for your employees, doing so will result in higher productivity for your company and happier employees.

What ways do you like to be recognized?

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  1. I’ve worked at companies that had great employee recognition, and some that didn’t have any at all. I’ve also worked at a place where the employee recognition started off fabulous – employee catered lunches once a month, profit sharing, bonuses, birthday gifts & flowers – and then as the years went on, things started disappearing. A few years after I left the company went bankrupt. The owners got greedy and started cutting the ways they showed appreciation. They lost employees, and had a huge turnover, almost constantly until they went bankrupt. Your employees need to know that you appreciate them, even if it’s just an occasional note when you see them do something you approve of. It’s important.
    Kay M. recently posted…Decorate and Redecorate With Evgie Walls!My Profile

  2. The last corporation I worked for didn’t do the best when it came to Recognizing their employees. I know before I left, 90% of them felt overworked and under appreciated. When I became a department manager, I made sure to tell my crew thank you for their work. I know it wasn’t much, but I know it went a long way.
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