Rewarding Your Employees Without Breaking the Bank

In today’s economy, more than ever it is vital for the success of your company that you spot, hire, develop, motivate and keep the best people, the amazing employees. It is simply critical.

And it is sure not easy. But let’s say that after a lot of time and work, you found competent, capable, motivated, committed and passionate people.

You hired them, developed and coached them. They are just great. They are the difference between your company’s success and failure. And when everything seems perfect you get the bad news: they are leaving you. Yep, leaving. Gone. That’s it. And you do not have a clue why…

One of the points that I always like to highlight is: a great employee wants and NEEDS to be valued. Period. It is almost as important than the paycheck coming every two weeks.

They obviously want the recognition (yes, they do like the public recognition too), the “thank you”, their name on the wall as the “top performer of the month”. They want to feel and know that you are looking at their contribution and that you are loudly letting everyone in the company know too.

If you value your employee you most definitely have to show it. And listen to this: it is not all about money.

There are, however, perks that will not clean your bank account and will make them feel rewarded for their dedication, commitment and loyalty. For their efforts and mainly, for the amazing results that they brought to your company.

When talking to several direct reports during the last 3 years, here are some ideas that I gathered (coming straight from the employees):

1-    Early dismissal Friday: I know it does not seem much, but such a small thing can make them so happy! Getting home early, having the chance to pick up the kids at school, or simply do nothing at home. Yes, they really like it.

2-    Mani & Pedi: OMG, the girls really like this one. Once, because we were top of sales for the quarter, one of the companies I have worked for decided rewarding us for that, so we had a mani-pedi party. The company made a deal with a local nail place and they closed later on a Sunday, so the 12 women in my division could all have their mani-pedi (can’t forget that there was so really good wine too…)

3-    Catered breakfast or lunch: it is just 30 minutes that you are going to compromise so you can have your top performers together, and it is as simple as having a great fruit-coffee-muffins or an informal salad-sandwich-dessert time. But it is recognition: everyone wished they could be there…

4-    Just to keep a fun environment: board games in the break room! Once I have heard this idea from an executive and loved it: he put a square table in the center of his break room with a 2000 piece puzzle. Each one that would take a break, would try to fit one or two pieces. When they finished, they would mount it in a frame and hang on the wall. Everyone loved it!

5-    Weekend getaway: no, it does not need to be an expensive trip to a resort in Bora-Bora. Lots of travel companies have amazing deals for weekends. Or, work directly with a small hotel or charming cottage at the beach. And you can make it fun and engaging: make your employees vote for the “Superstar of the quarter”- they will love to receive a prize that was actually awarded by peers.

And so much more: bring a yoga instructor once a week, give movie tickets to the best performer of the week, give them the VIP parking space for a month, free soda and coffee every day, have a nap room, a craft room, a “bring your dog” day. Use your creativity and most importantly, ask them what they would like, what would matter to them.

By rewarding your great employees and also promoting a culture of personal value you will motivate, engage and build loyalty among your employees. You will cultivate a healthy and happy relationship with people to will work not only for their success, but for your company’s as well.


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