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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 14 December 2020
  • Jelani Markus

12 Creative Ways to Reward Employees Without Breaking the Bank

When times are tough, small business employers know that it’s important to show they value the employees they depend on. But in a world of virtual meetings and limited face-to-face interaction, how do you reward hard work without placing a large burden on your pocketbook? Check out the list below for 12 ideas to keep your team feeling appreciated and your budget balanced.

person opening holiday box

Public Recognition
One of the easiest ways to reward your employees is also one of the most inexpensive. Recognizing your employees’ accomplishments among their peers can work wonders for morale, leading to improved job satisfaction overall.

Subscription Clubs for Employee of the month
This idea requires knowing a bit about employee interests and habits. There are monthly subscription boxes for all sorts of interests. These boxes typically include several items that would be remarkably more expensive if purchased individually, but heavily discounted when added to the box. Setting up a one- or two-month subscription for an employee that matches their interest will make them feel appreciated and understood.

Gift Cards
If a team worked on something big and really did a great job, a set of gift cards is an awesome turnkey method to show you care. Be sure to expand employee choice by picking gift cards that have a lot of purchasing power. Only limit where the card can be used if you know your employees are all fans of that establishment.

Charitable Giving
Many employees consider the philanthropy of a company they work for as an indication of their value. If they know you value volunteering time and/or giving donations, they are prouder to work for you. Use this truth as an opportunity by allowing a deserving employee to select a recipient of your company’s charitable giving for a month.

Dibs on Digital Backgrounds
This idea is a little outside the box, or is it technically inside the box? With so many digital meetings happening, a creative way to give a nod to an employee who’s done well in smaller metric is to let them choose a digital background for everyone to use for the week during your meetings. This adds a level of fun and competition for team members who want to earn the right to decide on the most creative backgrounds, if they can earn it.

Send a Care Package
What better to way to show you care than a care package? You very likely know your employee’s address, so shipping a package filled with a few kind items is a simple gesture that won’t go unnoticed.

Cover Half of Their Workload
Has your employee recently been going above and beyond for weeks? Why not offer to give them a little break to show your appreciation? This reward is perfect for small business owners with more time than disposable income on hand.

Nominate Them for a Quirky Reward
Add a bit more fun to the standard public recognition by nominating employees for quirky, silly, made-up awards specific to them. One week you could elect Andre for “Best T-Shirt Collection” and the next, Bianca could take home the award for “Best Blocker of TV Show Spoilers.” The more specific to the employee, the better.

Gift a Personalized Item
Customized gifts are always a big hit. You could give a mug, or you could give a mug with their name on it. The simple addition of personalization can make all the difference.

Pay for a Training Course
When your employees improve, you improve. Invest in their skills by paying for a subscription to a training course. Many online courses offer special subscription rates for businesses, allowing you to provide access to many employees at a time for a fraction of the cost.

Create a Flexible Schedule
Working from home can result in a blurred line between “on the clock” and “off the clock.” To show your team you value the work they do, consider creating a schedule that is flexible.

Throw a Digital Party
Plan a get-together while you’re apart. Organizing a meeting where nothing but good times is on the agenda is a welcome change of pace for employees. You can send themed items or even food and drinks to help add to the spirit of the party. Then all you need is to plan your video conference and start the celebration!

Letting your team know you care doesn’t need to be difficult or very expensive, even in this current climate. A bit of creativity is all it takes to deliver something memorable your employees will value.

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