Low or no cost employee recognition ideas

According to research, one of the top three factors influencing employee engagement is the sense of appreciation. Many employers are onto that and are working out new employee recognition ideas as we speak. The most popular excuse is often that it costs a lot of money. So we are here to change your mind. There are many low or no cost employee recognition ideas that we will share.

Some employee recognition ideas are as simple as saying thank you to your employees. Effective and quick, and – the best part – doesn’t cost a dime.

In this article we have compiled a list of our favorite low or no cost employee recognition ideas. Let us know if we missed a good one!

Say thank you

First thing’s first, the power of saying “thank you” to your employees cannot be overstated. Showing gratitude for the work that your employees do is an essential part of building a positive company culture.

When you express your appreciation, you are truly acknowledging the hard work that your employees have done. You are letting them know that you value and respect their contributions to the organization. So implementing little thank you’s here and there throughout the day can be very valuable for both parties involved.

Post a thank you note on an employee’s door

Posting a thank you note on an employee’s door is another idea on low or no cost employee recognition ideas. It can be a meaningful and appreciated form of recognition, especially if it is personalized to the individual.

Make sure that it is a handwritten note, because that way you are showing extra care. A handwritten note can demonstrate that you took the time to reflect on the employee’s contributions. It is a good choice because it also is a physical reminder of the employee’s hard work and accomplishments.

Remember special days such as birthdays 

Another way to show your employee that you value their hard work is to remember certain details about them. For example, make sure to know of their birthdays and special anniversaries. Remembering special days such as birthdays can be a simple yet effective way to show your employees that you value and appreciate them. 

Besides, once again – recognizing birthdays can help to build stronger relationships with your team. It will eventually become very exciting to celebrate birthdays at work too. It will surely help to foster a positive work culture, which we all strive for.

no cost employee recognition ideas

Pizza party in honor of an employee

Everybody loves pizza, therefore throwing a pizza party during a lunch break in honor of a specific employee could be fun. However, it is important to consider what type of recognition would be most meaningful to the said employee. 

For example, some employees could prefer a more formal recognition. It could be something like a personalized note from their manager or a public recognition at a company-wide meeting. Others may appreciate a more casual celebration, like a pizza party. Which, by the way, we would be for.

One-on-one lunch

Another one of low cost employee recognition ideas is to invite your employee to have lunch together. It doesn’t have to be anything super fancy. For those who would rather choose private recognition, this way of showing appreciation will be very impactful.

During this lunch you can build a better connection and talk about the employee’s progress and achievement. As employees often look up to their employers, this lunch will be meaningful and most likely very motivating.

We have written an article about the difference between private vs public recognition. While many employees do in fact like public praise, many employees do not. Therefore a one-on-one lunch will be much more appreciated.

‘‘Bring your pet to work’’ day

Allowing employees to bring their pets to work for one day can be a fun and positive experience for many people. Many offices are already pet friendly and if you have a pet that has to stay home alone for the day, it is allowed to bring it to the office. However that is not a value that every company stands for.

So if your company is willing to offer such a perk but not on a daily basis, implementing one day when that is allowed could be a good start. It is giving your employees freedom and definitely happiness. That can serve as a good way of saying thank you for your hard work, today you can be more relaxed.

no cost employee recognition ideas

Casual day

Another idea that is more on the fun day, is implementing a casual day. This is perfect for big companies that have a strict or semi strict dress code. Similarly to pets day, casual day can also bring everybody together and create a positive atmosphere. 

If there is a casual friday or maybe only one casual day per month – that is all it takes to make your employees be excited about the little things. Surely it will improve engagement too and make the employee engagement committee’s job easier.

Show trust towards employees

In the corporate world it is important to show your employees you trust them. Sounds easy enough yet oftentimes employers do see themselves as more of value than others. In cases like this the most fitting thing to do would be to trust your employee with something rather important to prove themselves by.

For example, allow employees to attend meetings in your place when you are not available. It shows that you trust and value their input and expertise. This can help to build the employee’s confidence, skills, and the overall sense of ownership over their work. 

In conclusion

In conclusion, recognizing employees for their hard work and contributions is a critical part of building a positive work culture. As we have proved in this article, there are many different ways to show your appreciation.

No cost ways from saying thank you to low cost ways of celebrating special days, and providing opportunities for growth and development.

Happy employees, happy company!

Thank you for reading our article!

About the author

I am a Girl, that wants to live a Simple Life, and I am in a search of the recipe for happiness.  I invite you to join me on this journey! It will be an exciting adventure in which we will look for the simplicity of life, joy in everyday things, and free time outside the usual hustle and bustle.