How to Show Your Employees That They Are Valued — WITH LITTLE OR MONETARY INCENTIVES?

As a trainer, I have often heard employees say that they do not feel valued by their employers. Therefore, since many employees are transitioning back to the physical work environment or acclimating to a hybrid work structure, I thought it would be helpful to address this issue. The reason being, in order to build trust and foster engagement during these challenging times, it is important that employers demonstrate to their employees that they matter and are valued.

There are many benefits other than greater employee engagement that result from recognizing and rewarding one’s employees. They include, but are not limited to:

  • fostering a more positive workplace environment

  • increasing motivation and productivity

  • promoting teamwork and collaboration

  • helping to boost employee retention, which can save organizations money

So, how do employers recognize and reward their employees with little or no monetary outlay? This question is important as many organizations are working hard to recoup the losses, they incurred due to the pandemic. The following are some suggestions on ways that managers can show their appreciation to individuals or their teams. Note that many of these can be adapted for teams working virtually.


  1. Let them suggest a way they would like to be recognized.

  2. (This opportunity is a reward within itself. Remember that each person's preference will differ). A word of caution, set some limits around what is reasonable.

  3. A public “Thank You”.

  4. A handwritten thank-you note.

  5. A reserved parking spot (especially if parking is difficult to find).

  6. A vacation day.

  7. Send a birthday card to them at their home address.

  8. Write a note to HR or upper management, sharing how important the person’s contribution to the company has been.

  9. Give them a small gift card from their favorite store. One of my supervisors gave me a $5 Starbucks gift card. I was so… thrilled.

  10. Create a “day pass” that they can turn in to take any day off, no questions asked.

  11. Let employees choose one day to work from home. This would be greatly appreciated, especially for those returning to the office full-time.

  12. Have a birthday cake delivered to the office on their birthday.

  13. Ask each employee to write something positive about the person on a piece of paper, and give the person the box of collected sayings, or frame them for the employee.

  14. Start a company “Wall of Fame” and add them to it.

  15. Find out what they are passionate about and give them a gift that relates to it.

  16. Create and give them an award that they can keep and frame for a job well done.