8 Simple and Cost-Effective Ways To Recognize and Reward Employees


What are some simple and cost-effective ways to recognize and reward employees?

To help your company find new ways to recognize and reward your employees, we asked HR experts and business leaders this question for their best advice. From crafting social media shoutouts to celebrating work anniversaries, there are several simple and cost-effective ways to recognize and reward your employees.

Here are eight simple and cost-effective ways to recognize and reward employees:

  • Craft a Social Media Shoutout
  • Offer Time to Recharge
  • Create an Ongoing “Pass the Trophy”
  • Look After Their Holistic Well-Being
  • Celebrate Work Anniversaries
  • Write Them a Handwritten Note
  • Know Their Preferences
  • Build a Culture of Gratitude

Craft a Social Media Shoutout

A picture of the employee of the month and a few lines about them and their hard work will not only make your employees feel recognized, but it can also be a great way to showcase your team to customers. People love seeing the faces behind a company! It can help build trust and likability with current and potential customers. Next time you are thinking of finding a new way to appreciate and acknowledge your employees, take to a well-written Facebook or Instagram post about them and their dedication to your company.

Nina Jensen, 8x8

Offer Time to Recharge

One way to recognize and reward an employee is to offer them time off. This will make them feel appreciated, and it will allow them to feel refreshed upon their return to work, which will help them continue performing well. Furthermore, while one employee enjoys time off, the other employees will then have more of a chance to make their efforts known and to receive recognition themselves.

Abraham Rahmanizadeh, Leafwell Botanicals

Create an Ongoing “Pass the Trophy”

I’ve found in most cases (aside from sales), employees are more motivated by non-financial awards and recognition, which is great when you are looking for cost-effective offerings. One simple but fun way to recognize and reward employees is by having a “trophy” that can be passed around to the top recipient of a challenge. For example, I had an ongoing outcome challenge, and the weekly winner would receive the WWE weight belt for bragging rights. This keeps things light and fun and adds in a tad bit of gamification, which brings in some friendly competition.  

Jenn Christie, Markitors

Look After Their Holistic Wellness

There’s an added pressure on employees (and managers!) to always be available when working from home, and that can make employees feel like they’re being pulled in too many directions at once. I like to show my appreciation for my employees by looking after their holistic wellness!  Encourage your employees to schedule offline time for individual work, keep the number of apps and platforms your team uses to a minimum, and find a work-life integration in their daily routines.

Rachel Geicke, Snow Monkey

Celebrate Work Anniversaries

Recognize employees in team meetings when they reach their work anniversaries. Even if the employee didn't perform perfectly throughout the past year, he or she will still feel a sense of gratitude for being appreciated for reaching this milestone. Receiving this recognition will also allow the employee to feel more at home, knowing most if not all of the rest of the team for this much longer. Furthermore, this acknowledgment could instill a renewed sense of confidence in the employee, which could be a motivator to keep doing well or to perform even better for the next year.

Ben Teicher, Healthy Directions

Write Them a Handwritten Note

Thank you notes—believe it or not—can go a long way. Make the note personalized for each person's accomplishments and how grateful you are for them. By acknowledging their hard work and achievements, you're making the employee feel like their work is worth doing. They feel like they're actually contributing.

Scott Rosenberg, MaryRuth's Organics

Know Their Preferences

Diverse teams and organizations always outperform homogenous ones. But with diversity comes challenges, including a need for diverse types of rewards and recognitions. How do you get it right? Ask. I recommend to all managers to ask employees shortly after onboarding what their preferences are. What types of rewards and recognitions do they like and dislike? Also, consider reading "The Five Languages of Appreciation for the Workplace."

Brian Stinson, The PEAK Fleet

Build a Culture of Gratitude

Our company uses a Slack channel called #you-are-awesome to facilitate peer-to-peer praise. Employees share compliments about coworkers, to which team members respond with emojis and comments. The shout-outs can come from managers or fellow team members and be about work or non-work matters. Creating the Slack channel is completely costless and has a major impact on staff morale. The channel is company-wide, so the entire workforce is privy to a steady stream of daily affirmations. The mentioned team members feel valued and seen, and the rest of the staff share in the positivity and culture of gratitude.

Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding



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