Most employees are primarily interested in job security and in a competitive remuneration package. Multiple studies of both the domestic and international labour market indicate the reason for this has to do less with the economic climate, and more with our sense of belonging. The economic climate, however, makes it difficult for small businesses in particular to offer more in terms of wages when they are already struggling to get the budgets to hang together. So here are some creative and relatively cheap ways to reward your employees without breaking the bank!

Here are 11 quick but effective incentives you can use to motivate employees and retain the greatest talents:

  1. Offer a flexible working time so that the employee is able to either work at home one day per week or to determine his or her working time so that he or she does not necessarily have to work from 9am to 5pm every day.
  2. Offer training – both internally and externally to improve your own revenue down the line, as well as the employees well being and skillsets.
  3. Give the best employees the recognition they deserve by either sending an e-mail with the management cc and praise them for their good work. You can also give them a handwritten message or mention their performance at the monthly meeting.
  4. Give an extra day off as a reward for a good performance.
  5. Consider awarding employees with custom plaques, to boost both the morale and engagement across the entire floor, and the recipient will feel great for a long time afterwards.
  6. Create a monthly theme day – for example, an international food day where all employees bring a dish from their country or home region.
  7. Offer rewards to suit each employee’s interests – for example, a membership in the local fitness center or tickets for the theater.
  8. Exempt the employee from her or his normal duties, and let him or her work on a project that is particularly passionate relationship to that person – even if the project does not belong to the core business.
  9. Create a monthly or quarterly award for employees who have repeatedly delivered a particularly good effort. Make sure that there is also a price for being a good colleague, where the winner has been appointed by the employees themselves.
  10. Give employees the opportunity to do charitable work. This gives a welcome break from the daily work, and the selfless act is an extra motivator that can really change the neighbourhood in the long run.
  11. Businesses that have multiple workplaces can offer employees a little change of scenery by swapping roles and places of work for a week or month.

Remember that reward are intended as a recognition of the employee’s great work performance, and although an economic bonus is often highlighted as being very motivating for employees, it is often the intangible, non-financial rewards that have the greatest impact on employee satisfaction, this also goes down better with the rest of the employees. Whatever rewards you choose to give your employees, be sure to create a working environment where hard work is regularly recognized and rewarded.


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