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16 creative and cheap ways to say ‘thank you’

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in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Q. I started in HR at a company six months ago and morale is really low. I want to start an employee appreciation program. Can you share some inexpensive things that work in your company? — Rhonda, Mississippi

Suggestions from readers of the HR Specialist Forum:

1. We have a massage person come in for complimentary shoulder massages for five to 10 minutes each.—Debbie

2. We pre-purchase gift cards in bulk and have them available for supervisors as a tool to use for recognition. — Anonymous

3. We have an online calendar that allows employees to send each other e-cards for birthdays. — Rachel

4. Our online newsletter goes out every Monday. We use it to highlight employee accomplishments. — Alex

5. We have Employee Appreciation Week in April. One day, we provide breakfast. Another day, we provide lunch. Another day, we let them make sundaes. We sponsor exhibitions of artwork created by our staff members’ children. We have drawings for door prizes at our staff meetings.  — Mary

6. We do a monthly drawing for: an extra hour for lunch, movie tickets, a $10 gift card to a book store and a “leave work one hour early” pass.— Denise

7. We get together a committee that searches for excursion deals to offer employees a lower group rate. — Karen

8. We created an “embarrassing committee” to celebrate start-date anniversaries. They clap and make a ruckus and deliver a cookie bouquet. — D.K.

9. We have a ‘You’ve Been Caught’ program. When a staff member is “caught” doing a good deed or going above and beyond their jobs, other staff are encouraged to submit the good deed to me. Their names are put into a monthly drawing for a small prize (gift card) given to the submitter and the submittee, so it encourages participation. — K.D.

10. Instead of a plaque, this year we gave employees who win employee-of-the-month or length-of-service awards a booklet with items to choose from (e.g., I picked a camping tent). — F.D.

11. We give baby blankets for employees’ new babies. — Carolyn

12. At each five-year mark, the level of employees’ award rises. We give the award at an annual picnic and make a big deal out of it. — Christy

13. In our company newsletter, I list birthdays, service anniversaries and new hires for that month. I also include a good customer comment each month and include the employee’s name mentioned by the customer. — Cindy

14. The owner sometimes gives a monetary bonus, a dinner gift card or weekend at a bed & breakfast for employees who have worked extra long hours to finish a project. But employees’ consensus is that a day off is the favorite reward of all. — Barbara

15. We have 550 employees and the owner personally signs a birthday card for everyone. They also get a shirt with the company logo on it. Each year it’s a different shirt. — Barb

16. The most important thing is to encourage management to verbally recognize employees on an ongoing basis and as things occur that warrant recognition. — Cindy

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