5 ways to reward staff this Blue Monday that don’t cost the earth

By Neil Thompson, Chief Operating Officer, WorkInConfidence

Everyone knows that it is important to reward staff for their hard work. Equally everyone knows that money is tight and the discretionary employee reward bucket is pretty. But without some form of recognition then morale is going to plummet and your organisation could suffer.

So how can you reward staff on Blue Monday (21 January) without breaking the bank?

1. Say thanks

It’s amazing what the power of such a seemingly small gesture such as saying thanks can do. And it doesn’t have to be verbal either. You could just write it on a post-it note and stick it on their laptop. However you choose to say, it the feel good factor for the recipient is enormous and will be repaid many times over.

2. Time off

When I was at primary school, a long, long time ago, they ran a reward scheme that had all us of longing to win it. What was it? The person the teacher thought had performed the best that week, got to leave five minutes early on Friday afternoon.

Yes, five whole minutes. It was amazing how much it meant to the person who was awarded those five precious minutes. Now I am not suggesting that you should let your star employees leave five minutes early on a Friday because that would be insulting. But you could grant some time off, such as a half day, which could make a real difference.

3. 20% time

Made famous by Google where employees can take 20% of their working week to work on their own products, it has led to a number of now well-known offerings such as Gmail, Google Maps and AdWords. The latter alone now represents around 25% of Google’s annual revenue. So it can be a profitable way of working and rewarding for the individual too.

4. Buy a round of coffees

Yes this one costs money but the payback can be enormous. I guess that in your employees either have to pay for coffee from a machine, make their own or buy from a local coffee shop. How about buying a round of coffees for the team? Oh, and don’t send someone to get them. Be a team player and go yourself!

5. Wash their car

At the moment my car is in a right state with the salt from the roads making it grimy. Your employee’s cars will be similarly dirty. Why not pay for a quick run through the local car wash? Everyone feels better when their car is gleaming. For extra brownie points and to save money, clean it yourself!

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