10 Easy and FREE Ways To Recognize Your Employees!

10 Easy and FREE Ways To Recognize Your Employees!

Do you have a company culture that rewards and recognises your team members when they go above and beyond the call of duty, but you don’t have endless amounts of cash to give them for bonuses? Here are 10 easy and FREE ways you can recognise your employees, so you don’t break the bank!

While we all like getting cash bonuses for jobs well done, however, it’s not always in the company budget to do so. Sometimes a company owner must get creative to motivate and stimulate their employees if money is an issue. While most companies do have some set way for employees to get cash bonuses, employees should not have to wait once a year to get recognised for positive behaviours and efforts that help the company succeed. Let’s talk about FREE ways you can motivate your employees year round.

See Related Article: 10 Very Simple Ways To Improve Your Company Culture

Many studies have concluded that people LOVE and APPRECIATE non-cash rewards more than receiving cash awards. Cash awards usually get spent on a “negative” feelings like paying the utilities or house rent. Yes, it helps to have extra cash to fund those things, but by the end of the transaction, people realise all their hard work went to someone else. When people get a non-cash reward like one of the ones mentioned below, it’s theirs, and nobody else can take it away from them.

If you are going to gift non-cash awards to people, then you must keep it consistent. Don’t go all in for one month and praise everything people do, and then you give no praises for three months. People will question if you are genuine or not, and it will lead to frustration when they try hard and don’t get recognised for doing the same things anymore.

While there are many ways to recognise employees for free, here are ten ways I’ve come up with:

1.) Give verbal praise often.

Give Praise To Employees Frequently

People love to be given positive reinforcement when they exude good behaviour. Always be on the lookout for when you can offer words of encouragement. Show your employees that you are watching and that you do not mind passing on compliments. If they know you care, they will work ten times harder for you. Giving verbal praise costs entirely NO money, and it’s a compelling, motivational act.

As a business owner, I love it when my team is living up to my expectations and especially when they exceed them. Your employees can make or break you, so why not make them feel extremely valued when they are adding value to your company?

2.) Write a hand-written note.

Write Notes To Praise Employees

Get yourself a box of thank you cards. (Ok, this costs a little tiny amount of money.) When someone does a great job, and you want to do a bit more than verbal praise, then get out a thank you card and hand-write a thank you note. Put it on their desk when they are out to lunch. Watch how they light up with joy when they read your card.

3.) Use a common place to brag on employees.

Common Place To Praise Employees

At my company, we have a giant Skype chat room with every team member in it. When one team member receives praise from a client, we post that praise in the Skype chat room for the whole company to see. This act gives our team members instant public recognition for their work and gives other team members the chance to congratulate them on making the company successful. There are many different ways to create a “brag board”. You can place a bulletin board in a common area of the office (not the kitchenette) and make sure it draws the attention of others.

4.) Print actual achievement certificates.

Employee Certificate of Appreciation

A few times per year, we have an awards ceremony where we hand out very creative certificates. Of course, we give out all of our awards based on Key Performance Indicators, but we make it a fun event with some of the award titles. I have received the “Like a Boss” award, “Randall The Tornado” award many others. The certificate titles also have a description of why you won that award. People like it when you are thoughtful and creative, and they can keep these awards as keepsakes in their office or home.

5.) Have a Pot Luck Lunch.

Employee Potluck Dinner

Set up a time to have a company luncheon for your team members. You can have your other employees sign up to bring food and snacks. By having a social gathering, you are creating an excellent networking event for your employees to relax and get to know each other. By having the other employees bring in their favourite dishes, you are saving money by not having to purchase a large dinner for everyone! Make sure you honour the top performers that warranted the event in the first place.

6.) Simply Trust Your Employees.

Trust Your Employees

A lot of people only need the reward of knowing you trust them. When employees feel trusted by their management, they want to keep that trust. Therefore they consistently put forth their full efforts. If you allow them room to breathe and you are flexible with them, then they will be comfortable and will appreciate you. Always, look for ways to continue to challenge your employees, so they feel like they are growing in your company. Give them added responsibilities that you know they can handle. They will appreciate the added trust you have bestowed upon them.

Always, look for ways to continue to challenge your employees, so they feel like they are growing in your company.

7.) Give clear and frequent feedback.

Provide Frequent Employee Feedback

I talk about this often on GoPakistan.com. Do NOT wait once a year to give your employees feedback. How can an employee be expected to live up to your expectations if you never tell them where they stand. It’s far better to correct an employee that is veering off the path quickly so that they can meet your objectives at a sooner rate. As a manager, it is your job to set your employees up for success. You do this by frequently communicating with them about their performance, good or bad.

I give feedback anytime I want to give it. I do not follow some set protocol on when I should speak with an employee. If I notice something good or bad, I tell the employee immediately. I always want to encourage and support positive behaviours, so the employee continues down the right path. On the flip side, I want to discourage bad practices, so it doesn’t snowball into something more substantial and worse for the employee and the company.

8.) Send an e-card.

Send E-Cards To Employees

Write a nice e-card and send it to your employee. Tell them how much you appreciate them and describe how you noticed their work efforts.

9.) Brown bag a picnic.

Brownbag Picnic For Employee Appreciation

Take your employees out of the office for lunch. Have them all bring their lunches for the day and then head to the nearest park or green space. Bring some fun and games and do it all in honor of the employees you wish to recognise.

10.) Reward Employees Online.

Post On Social Media

Post your employee’s praise and recognition all over your company’s social media channels. Let the world know how proud you are of your people.
Company Newsletter Acknowledgement. In the company newsletter, have a section from the CEO that appreciates employees for their efforts.

11.) Lunch with the CEO.

Eating Lunch With The Boss

Clear out the conference room and have a small intimate dinner between the CEO and the company’s top performers. Get to know your top performers. Find out what types of personalities they have? What values do they share? What motivates them? By finding all these things out, you can hire more like-minded professionals in the future.

Be flexible with your top performers. Allow the top performers extra flexibility to meet their family obligations. These people have already earned your trust by being your best assets, now give them something back in return that is easy and free. Do make sure that they know how high your expectations are because of their already impressive performances, so hopefully, they won’t decrease that performance by taking advantage of the flexibility offered.


Everyone loves recognition, and when you give recognition often, it just validates and re-enforces good behaviour. As you can see, it doesn’t mean you have to fork over thousands of dollars (rupees) to keep people happy. Just be kind, be observant and be willing to praise others. When you are eager to appreciate others, this means you are leading without an ego. People LOVE to work for bosses that leave the ego at the door and instead seeks to praise his / her team. Hopefully, I am teaching all of you how to create an ego-free company culture, where people thrive, grow and most importantly want to work in for years!

About me

authorGoPakistan is the brainchild of American Randall Agee. Randall Agee has worked side by side with Pakistanis for ten years and has had many successful experiences. His goal is to share those experiences with other Pakistanis so we can build a strong Pakistan.

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