Times are tough and no one seems to have the budget these days to send well-performing employees to spas or on all-expenses paid vacations anymore. But there are other ways that employers can make their staff feel valued — without breaking the bank. walmart onewire

  1. Awards and Rewards – this is the number one way to make an employee feel special. Often people only tend to point out when someone falls below expectations. Celebrate your employees’ achievements by throwing a pizza party and then presenting them with a gift certificate to their favorite store, tickets to the IMAX theater or go the extra smile and create a special personalized certificate with their name on it. There are many sites that offer free certificate templates that will allow you to do this. Put it in a high quality frame and present it to your star performer!
  2. Say “Thank You” – Don’t have time to plan a special celebration? Keep a stack of “thank you” cards in your office drawer and give one out whenever an employee goes above and beyond their job description. Hallmark, Target and even Walmart carry a beautiful selection of elegant and affordable note cards. Even a well-written email can make someone’s day. No time to write? Just say “thank you” and state specifically what the employee did that made a difference. It is not always the medium but the message that is important.
  3. Remember their birthdays – While you may have a few employees who prefer not to be made a fuss of, most employees will appreciate a card and cake on their special day. Ask each person in the office or department to sign it. If you have someone creative on your staff, you can even try creating a special online scrapbook with funny pictures, a webpage where everyone writes their wishes or a slide show with photographs and funny quotations. This is always a hit and is guaranteed to make the person feel extra special.
  4. Give them some time off – While giving someone a bonus is not always possible, giving them an afternoon off or a Friday off as a surprise is well appreciated and costs nothing extra. If the employee is a workaholic or taken aback by the surprise (trust me, I’ve had a few experiences!) you could spend a few minutes helping them think of some inexpensive and yet fun or relaxing things to do like visiting the local museum, a park or beach.
  5. Be Flexible – People do have lives outside the office and sometimes things happen that make it hard for them to work. Be flexible. Tell them they can work from home that afternoon or for a few days. Or let them leave early and catch up with their work later. In an informal survey that I conducted a few months ago, flexibility seemed to be the number 1 prized aspect of working at my office, especially for those employees who had young children.