Five Affordable Appreciation Ideas to Keep Employees Happy


It is a stressful time for many employees and employers alike. Even though it might be a financially difficult environment for many small and medium-sized businesses, keeping employees satisfied with their positions can help reduce turnover. Part of keeping employees happy is ensuring that their hardwiring is a good fit for the role, but it is also important to show recognition and appreciation. It isn’t enough to only focus on achievements during yearly reviews, especially as most companies are delaying or changing their review process. Similarly, celebrating work anniversaries doesn’t acknowledge employee efforts and usually are only noted on milestone year markers. Company budgets are tight right now, but there are several employee recognition avenues that are free or minimal cost, keeping your workforce engaged and happy. Here are some methods you can implement to help promote a culture of appreciation:

1. Widely and publicly share praise

Show how much you appreciate your employees by sharing recognition on your website, social media or external signage. Explain what the employee did to earn the award and why you appreciate them. Public recognition also lets your customers know how much you value your employees.

2. Setup a peer feedback system

Cheering on peers is an opportunity to help build a collaborative environment. Create a feedback system for coworkers to cheer one another on and ensure that the feedback is shared with the praised employee’s leadership. This is also helpful because a leader might not realize all that an employee does or how they routinely go above and beyond when supporting their internal clients.

3. Thoughtful thank you notes

A handwritten or personally crafted thank you note can let an employee know that you cared enough about them to take the time to notice their contribution.

4. Encourage skip-level kudos

Let your boss know about your employee’s wins and encourage them to let your employee know how much they mean to the organization. This lets your employee know that they’re being recognized at higher levels and that their leader is serving as their champion in the organization.

5. Reward based on individual interests

Sometimes it is necessary that the recognition is a “one size fits all” approach, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. Think about what would mean the most for that employee and provide that recognition based on their individual interests. Could they use some flextime, do they have a specific hobby or interest, what about taking off a half-day early prior to an upcoming trip? Think about what would mean the most to that individual employee and provide that as your way of saying that you appreciate them and have paid attention to what they individually need.