How can I reward my staff when money is tight?

By Gillian Hasley, eBusiness Manager, Monster UKIE

Just as people need to feel loved and validated within families and personal relationships, people need to feel appreciated at work. A no-brainer you might say, but think for a minute how many people you've heard complain about their employers and the lack of recognition.

Employees are who rewarded for their efforts are more willing to go the extra mile for the company, to contribute their intellectual capital, and to stay around for longer. Feeling valued creates staff ambassadors who are a living advertisement for your company, helping you attract top quality people. While expressing thanks sometimes means spending money, with a little planning and preparation, rewarding your people does not need to be a big overall drain on your finances

The type of rewards your staff will respond to depends in part on the sector your business operates in. Some rewards can reflect a particular kind of culture that an employer is trying to create, while others are more straight-forward freebies.

Here are some ideas for your business:

Say hello - This is free, simple and can brighten up anyone's day. When you pass one of your staff try to greet them by name and give them a genuine smile.

Get personal - Find out a bit about what goes on in each of your staff member's lives. It gives you the opportunity to express joy, sympathy or empathy, and that means a lot to people.

Praise publicly - You can do this at weekly staff meetings or by group email. Saying thanks for a job well done in front of an employee's colleagues can increase everyone's understanding of the role each person actually plays in the company.

Make prizes fun - A chance to have dinner with the boss isn't going to excite most workers, but the chance to throw a cream pie in their managers face might. A little thought and creativity can make this a big hit in staff meetings.

Food and drink - Yes, it will cost you money, but never underestimate the bonding power of a get-together outside the office. Rather than always going to the pub after work, try putting on breakfast in a local cafe and giving people the chance to relax outside the office for a morning.

Take a ride - From jet boats to roller coasters, it may get your staff out of their comfort zone but do it right and they'll be talking about it for weeks. Plan it in secret and pick a day for a bus to roll up to the office unannounced and spirit them away for the big surprise.

Get creative with your reward system, and ask for suggestions from your staff on the initiatives they would like to see introduced. If you really want to find out the perks that will motivate them, go straight to the horse's mouth.

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