8 Low-Cost Employee Recognition Ideas

Aug 30, 2021
employee recognition

 Employee Recognition Ideas That Won't Break the Bank

  1. Treat Them to Breakfast

Everyone loves being treated to lunch, but consider changing it up and surprising employees with pastries, bagels, coffee, and tea in the morning as a gesture of appreciation. Or, if you are a smaller company, consider personalizing it. Let each person choose what they would like by taking a quick morning trip to a local coffee shop for a morning treat.

  1. Offer Limited Edition, High Quality Company Swag

Ugh, cheap swag…which ends up being unused and tossed. Nice quality branded water bottles, sweatshirts, and hats can be great options for recognition, especially if they are not widely distributed to all employees and are done tastefully. This saves on your budget and also makes it more special to receive.

  1. Support Personal Growth

Talk to your team and find out what their long-term career goals are. Books, online and in-person seminars, and other educational materials can be low-cost ways to let employees know you are listening to them and are invested in their long-term success and continual development towards those goals.

  1. Boost Mood with Plants!

Low maintenance indoor plants are a longer-lasting alternative to flowers – and often a preferred alternative. Did you know that plants have been proven to increase happiness and productivity?

  1. Sponsor Popular Subscriptions

Netflix accounts and Spotify Premium are a couple examples of nice-to-have subscriptions you can provide employees. Other ideas are giving access to an online exercise program, virtual yoga classes, or a relaxation or meditation app of their choosing. So many options!

  1. Give an Experience

Covering the cost of something the employee loves to do can create a fond memory of not only the event, but they will also remember that the company paid for that experience – for example, tickets to a sporting event or concert. If you don’t know what would be meaningful for your employees, it’s time to ask yourself if you are investing the important time to get to know them…

  1. Level-Up Office Equipment

Sometimes, work-oriented recognition feels most appropriate. Upgraded office equipment like offering ergonomic keyboards or a better office chair (or maybe even some fun home or workplace office décor!) can be an easy, impactful, and low-cost recognition option.

  1. Good Ol’ Fashioned (but super effective!) Handwritten Note

This is my favorite option – and it is totally free! A handwritten note is a timeless way to let employees know you care. It shows that you took time out of your busy day to handwrite a sincere note personalized to them.  Make this super easy by jotting down the things you appreciate about the employee when they happen during the workweek, such as moments you’ve seen them shine and characteristics of theirs which you admire, so that you can easily write an effective note. And don’t forget - the more specific, the better. Generic notes will fall flat. (Boost the impact of the note by attaching a small nice quality chocolate or granola bar!)

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