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20 Cashless Employee Appreciation Ideas That Really Work

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20 cashless employee appreciation ideas that really work, employee recognition, ribbon, award, present, thank you card

There are so many ways to say ‘thank you.’ But in the busy world of business, gratitude doesn’t get expressed enough.

Start on the right foot with The Ultimate Guide to Compiling an Employee Welcome Package

The statistics are disheartening. Almost 50 percent of employees feel underappreciated at work, according to recent research from the Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated. No wonder that 61 percent of those surveyed have considered leaving their company within the year.

Take a look at your team. Do half of them already have one foot out the door?

It’s no secret that team retention is a growing concern for people and culture leaders. But the solution to high turnover rates might be simpler than you expect.

Alright, big spenders—put your wallet away. The truth is that cash, whether in the form of a bonus, raise, or increased commission, can only motivate so much. And while you should certainly offer monetary reward for a job well done, doing so doesn’t let you off the hook for other, more regular forms of recognition.  “Financial reward is a great thing,” writes our people and culture crush, Meghan Biro, “but it’s not the equivalent of recognition.”  

So what can you do instead? It comes down to what your parents said, all those years ago: mind your Ps and Qs.

Say ‘please’ when assigning tasks, give thanks when a job is completed well. Employee appreciation, plain and simple, makes the difference for team members. Sure, they’re all professionals—but they’re also people. Everyone wants to feel like their contributions are valued.

However busy managers might be, there’s always time for a simple ‘thank you’—and as Dave Skibini, CEO of SnapMD, notes, there’s no end to how many of those you can give out: “Every business owner has limited resources to compensate their employees for their work, but every business owner has an unlimited supply of ‘thank yous.’”

By the same token, saying ‘please’ goes a long way toward making team members feel like they matter. “While you may be the boss, you can and should be polite when asking an employee to do something for you,” writes Peter Economy, an authority on leadership techniques. Chances are the task will get done either way. But when you ask nicely, how the team member feels while completing the assignment changes. Over time, even something this simple adds up to a lasting impact.

That’s the day-to-day stuff. But when a team member really goes above and beyond, a grander gesture is called for. Here are 19 other ways to show employee appreciation, with no substantial added expense.

  1. Give them your parking spot for a month.
  2. Let them leave early on Friday.
  3. Write a thoughtful thank-you note.
  4. Make lunch for your team—even if it’s just sandwiches!
  5. Offer public praise for a job well done.
  6. Take a task off their plate.
  7. Let them choose the office music.
  8. Allow them to bring their pet to work!
  9. Offer flex hours or telecommuting options.
  10. Give them their birthday off!
  11. Award them with a certificate or silly trophy.
  12. Include their achievement in the company newsletter.
  13. Have them pick your next team-building activity.
  14. Make their coffee every morning for a week.
  15. Ask your boss to thank them.
  16. Lend them your favourite book or movie.
  17. Extend a deadline when they’re swamped.
  18. Let them pick an item for the office snack table.
  19. Name a product or boardroom after them.





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About the Author

Rachel Scott is a Marketing Strategist at PaySavvy. Her love of design and blogging lead her to a career path in content marketing. Rachel focuses on inbound demand generation through fresh and useful content. She enjoys fashion, photography and her dog Oliver.

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