It goes without saying that the best way to reward employees who have performed above and beyond is with a raise and possibly a promotion. These things are sometimes not possible, due to a lack of available funds or an available position. However there are several low or no cost ways to let and employee know he or she has done a great job.
Many of these ideas involve no money at all, consisting of a word of thanks, either in person, a post-it-note on the employee’s office door or cubical, or a company-wide email. Knowing that their efforts are appreciated by the boss can be a great moral booster and will help insure a high level of performance continues.
Some other gestures can cost a little bit of money, but can be worth it. One can take the employee out to lunch or buy him or her a small gift, like a book, flowers, or a card with movie tickets or a lottery tickets tucked inside. Having a pizza party or bringing donuts in the employee’s honor can be of great benefit as well, especially if he or she is part of a team that accomplished a project with alacrity.
Another low or no cost way to recognize an employee is to grant him or her some kind of privilege.
One can grant the employee some amount of special comp time or a long lunch or break to be used at leisure. One can allow the employee to dress business casual, provided that it is in an office where that it not the norm to begin with.
Low or no cost gestures of recognition are great motivators. Napoleon once said that a soldier will fight long and hard for a colored ribbon. Just as true, an employee will work long and hard for a pat on the back, a word of appreciation, or some small token of thanks.