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20 Employee Recognition Ideas for Your Small Business

Recognizing the hard work and achievements of employees has long been proven to be an effective, long-term motivator, helping maintain morale within the workplace and boost productivity. The challenge many small businesses face is finding ways to recognize stellar employee work without going over budget. Take a look at the following 20 generally inexpensive yet effective employee recognition ideas for your small business.


Employee Recognition Ideas

Promote in the News

If a member of staff has done something incredible and achieved something that needs shouting about, contact the local press and see if the story could be published in a local newspaper. The achievement doesn’t necessarily have to be related to work, it could be a great fundraising effort or personal sporting achievement.

Give a Paid Day Off

Who is going to turn down an extra paid day off? Not many, we think! Offering the best performing employee a free day off is an effective incentive to help reward outstanding work.

Hand Out Lottery Tickets

They don’t cost much but they could equate to millions of dollars. Rewarding a high achieving employee with a lottery ticket for the next 12 lotteries would be a great way to say thank you. Though be warned, if they win the jackpot you could risk losing them!

Create a Company Scrapbook

Creating a company scrapbook which, each month, dedicates a page to the ‘Employee of the Month’ is a creative way to recognize and celebrate achievement in the workforce.

Ask Peers to Nominate

Instead of relying on management to pick an Employee of the Month, get fellow team members to monitor the performance and nominate the colleague they think has performed the best in a given week or month. This will ensure there is greater involvement and interaction with a recognition program amongst employees.

Establish a Kudos Column

Publicize employee hard work and achievement by setting up a kudos column in the company newsletter, on the business blog or in social media. The ‘glory’ column will mean the member’ of staff’s hard work will be put on the public pedestal it deserves.

Throw a Pizza Party

Celebrate staff and team achievements by ordering some pizzas and throwing a pizza party in the office!

Give Out Gas Cards

Reward an outstanding employee’s efforts by paying for their travel expenses for a whole month.

Name a Beer After Someone

For beer-loving employees who have achieved well at work, approaching a local microbrewery and asking them to put a label on a beer with the stellar employee’s name on, is bound to go down well.

Offer Casual Friday Exclusive

Again, if a member of staff or a whole team has met its targets and carried out some great work, celebrate by announcing a dress down day, where employees can turn up to work in anything from flipflops to tracksuits.

Write a Simple Thank You Note

Sometimes a simple thank you will suffice. For employees that have been going that extra mile and showing dedication, innovation and great team spirit, show your appreciation and gratitude by sending them a thank you note. Rather than just sending your thanks on an email, go a little bit further by sending them a note to their home address. They won’t be expecting it and it’s almost guaranteed to make them smile.

Give a Special Gift

Presenting a well-performing team member with a special gift is a memorable way to show your appreciation. From a box of wine to a pencil porcupine, there’s plenty of great gift ideas that would leave your stellar employee beaming with pride.

Play Their Favorite Song

One personal and memorable way to thank an employee for exceptional work would be to have their favourite song playing in the office when they show up to work in the morning – guaranteed to put a smile on their face!

Give a Round of Applause

A similar effect would be achieved by greeting a star employee with a rapturous applause when they walk into the office in the morning. A simple yet effective way to show gratitude for hard work and to say thank you.

Offer Flex Time

Research shows that offering flexible working conditions can make staff happier and more productive. Reward hard working members of staff by giving them the opportunity to work flexible hours and even the prospect of working from home.

Send a Video Thank You

Make a video thanking a member of staff for their hard work and effort and post the video on YouTube. Try and get as many people featuring in the video, such as the company director, line managers and fellow colleagues, to maximize the poignancy of the video.

Hire a Special Dedicated Assistant

Show your appreciation to employees that demonstrate innovation and creativity by hiring a personal assistance for a temporary period to help high achieving workers with administrative duties such as filing and answering telephone calls.

Give Away the Best Parking Spot

Give up your director’s parking space for a week so your best-performing employee can take your spot. Having the privilege of parking in the prime company carpark space is one incentive employees are likely to battle it out for!

Create a Wall of Fame

Dedicate a section of the office to being a ‘wall of fame’. Each month or even week, crown the employee that has outperformed his or her colleagues with the ‘wall of fame’ title by placing a photo of them on the wall accompanied by a message of gratitude.

Give Them a Promotion

Of course, there’s nothing quite as effective in recognizing, appreciating and rewarding great work as offering promotion. Ensuring there are career progression opportunities for members of staff is a key way to attract and retain talent in your workforce. Knowing that a promotion could be in the pipeline is an effective way to keep your staff on their toes!

Does your small business recognize great team and high achievers? How do you show your appreciation and gratitude to employees that deserve recognition and thanks?

Best Employee Photo via Shutterstock

1 Comment ▼


On – 15 May, 2017 By Gabrielle Pickard-White

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