10 Low-Cost Ways to Reward Employees


businessman holding a gift package in hand .

Do your employees feel appreciated? Do you make a concerted effort to recognize them for their hard work? Is “thank you” a commonly used phrase at your business? Companies that regularly recognize their employees tend to see higher levels of employee satisfaction, morale and retention. Employees who feel their work matters tend to put more effort into their work and treat their clients and customers better. As a result, quality of service and product improve, all of which lead to a better bottom line.

As a small business owner, you may not have the budget to provide your employees with extravagant rewards or huge cash bonuses, but it’s important to show your staff that you appreciate their hard work. And believe it or not, a little bit of recognition can go a long way. Here are just a few ideas for recognizing employees that cost little to no money — but that your employees will appreciate in a big way.

  • Half-day Fridays: Let employees start their weekends early by giving them Friday afternoons off (so long as they don’t leave any work unfinished).
  • Flexible work hours: Give employees the option to work remotely once a week, work four 10-hour days or come in earlier and leave earlier (or vice versa).
  • Casual Fridays: Giving employees the option to wear jeans on Friday costs nothing and offers a fun change of pace for employees (while cutting down their dry-cleaning bill!)
  • Corporate discounts: Companies such as PerkSpot, AnyPerk or Working Advantage offer small business employees discounts on everything from workout classes to theater or sports tickets to travel.
  • Tuition reimbursement: Helping your employees take their skill sets to the next level is a win for them as well as your business.
  • Handwritten thank you notes: Few things are as personal as a handwritten thank you note. Your employee will be touched that you took the time to write to them.
  • Extra paid time off (PTO): An extra paid vacation day is always a welcome option.
  • “Bring your dog to work” days: Letting employees bring their dogs to the office not only brightens everyone’s day, it can also lower stress levels and improve morale.
  • Restaurant or entertainment gift cards: Let your employees treat themselves to a night out with a gift card.
  • Catered lunches once a month: Designate certain days of the month to bring lunch into the office for everyone and celebrate various “wins” among your team.


When in doubt, just ask your employees what they want in terms of rewards. The best type of recognition is personal and shows that you care about your employees as people.

What are some low-cost ways you reward employees? Let me know at @CBpetej


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November 25, 2016 at 12:15AM