Although we’d all love to lavish our employees with grand gestures like fancy vacations and luxury goods, in most businesses that is simply not realistic. Feeling the tight restraints of a small budget may make it seem that an employee rewards programs is a financial impossibility but that's not so. In fact, although everyone likes monetary rewards sometimes, it’s often the smaller, everyday, low cost rewards that make the most difference. Having as small budget means that you have to get more creative. Your staff will appreciate you for it.
Goals and Development
When you only have a limited amount of funding to play with, it’s important to set focused goals for your program, thus avoiding the risks of wasting money. Before even considering employee rewards, you need to decide what you are going to reward and why it’s important. When you’re starting out it might be wise to select just one or two goals such as increased sales, better attendance, or teamwork. Once you’ve decided on your goals talk to your employees about the program. Take the opportunity to motivate your staff – after all, the program will only work if they are willing to participate. Ask them what motivates them and for suggestions on reward ideas. Make sure you tell them that you have a small budget so that they don’t suggest those lavish gifts that you need to avoid.
Ideas for Rewards
- Exposure: Show your appreciation for a particular employee. Rewards given in front of peers have a bigger effect and you could make their talents known to your clients and customers. Showcase that your employee is the “Top Salesman”. Create a “Wall of Fame” where you can celebrate stellar employees. You can put letters of praise from clients up as well.
- Opportunities: Give hard working employees the opportunity to work closely with a mentor or to go to industry conferences.
- Experience: Allow successful members of the program to work on more challenging projects – or even select the project that they want to work on. Perhaps give them some paid time to work on a ‘pet project’ of their own.
- Make Work Fun: Have a ‘fancy dress Friday’ or casual clothes day. Make the workplace a fun place to be.
- Praise: Although it sounds simple, many employees feel that they aren’t praised enough for the work that they do. A hand-written note or a genuine thank you goes a long way.
- Flexibility: Offer employee rewards such as flexible working hours or the opportunity to leave work early one day without losing pay.
- Parking Bonus: Have a parking space in a good location reserved particularly for “Employee of the Month”.
- Surprises: Offer low cost surprise rewards such as lunchtime pizzas on days when everyone is working particularly hard or a bunch of flowers for a high achiever. Everyone enjoys employee rewards such as these.It is easy to make a small budget got a long way – just be sincere, make it count, and use a little imagination!