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Low cost ways to reward employees

By May 8, 2015 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

When an organisation is operating on a tight budget, cash rewards and bonuses, along with marketing, are often the first items that are cut. And yet these are often the things that should be kept as they can lead to improved performance, increased productivity, cost saving ideas and increased customer loyalty.

Cutting rewards and bonuses can have a long lasting impact on your employee’s morale, productivity and overall performance, meaning that your budget cuts actually make things worse. This can be especially true for your top performers, who seeing their recognition diminish may decide to look for alternative employment.

But cash doesn’t have to be your only motivational resource. A little creativity can go a long way in developing an employee recognition and reward program that boosts morale while keeping your expenses down.

Remember that the goals of a recognition and reward program are to acknowledge your employees’ accomplishments, to encourage them to keep up the good work, and to incentivise your other team members to do the same.

Also remember that recognition is far more powerful than rewards, and saying “thank you for doing a great job” costs nothing and goes a long way.

It is interesting to note that 89% of managers think that their company is effective at recognising employee performance, while only 35% of employees feel that they are recognised for their contribution.

Here are two ideas that tick the boxes without breaking the bank.

  1. Balance recognition and rewards

Developing an official employee “Star Performer” program is a great way not only to regularly recognise your top performer’s contributions, but also to give other employees a glimpse into what impresses you. Every week or two at a set date and time, choose a staff member who has gone above and beyond, and give that Star the recognition they deserve. But remember you need to consider how the employee would like to be recognised, so consider a group email, a communal bulletin board, or recognition in a team meeting, or one on one. Be sure to highlight what this employee did and exactly why it was awesome.

If you can add a little monetary incentive to the mix, start a quarterly raffle in which all the Star winners are entered for the chance to win a gift card to a restaurant, tickets to an event, or a tasty lunch ordered in at the office. By mixing a non-cash incentive (the exclusive “Star” title) with the quarterly prize, you create consistent motivation—all while minimising the impact on your budget.

  1. Give non-monetary perks

As a manager, you are likely to have earned certain perks. It may be an office with a great view, an executive parking spot, or work-from-home privileges. So, when you’re thinking about rewarding employees without hitting the company budget consider how you might be able to “spread the wealth”. Choose a perk you could offer temporarily to your top performers without hurting productivity or budgets, and determine a way to measure who earns it.

For example, the employee who scores highest on your customer service survey at the end of each month could get a “work-from-home” day, or work one day from your office, or park their car in a privileged slot for a week.

One of our major clients has introduced a paid “wellbeing day” as a reward, where the employee must go to the beach, ride their bike, go to the gym, or some similar health related activity to receive their paid day off. This is a fantastic reward to motivate staff, with a high value to the recipient and a low cost to the business that also helps to improve the health of their staff.

When budget gets in the way of employee recognition, dig deeper and get creative.

Learn what really drives your workforce, whether it’s increased recognition, or some added perks and fun. By using this insight to think outside of the box, you’ll be able to create an employee recognition and reward program that keeps your workers motivated without straining your budget.

Brownie Points can help you maximise your budget and engage your staff.

To learn more about how you can maximise your budget and recognise great employee performance call us today on 03 9909 7411 or email us at

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