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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.

    1. (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.

  2. A public “Thank You”.

  3. A handwritten thank-you note.

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

  5. A vacation day.

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

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

  8. 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.

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

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

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

  12. 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.

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

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

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

  16. Give them time off to attend a training.

  17. Provide them with some one-on-one mentoring.

  18. Celebrate the anniversary of their joining the company.


  1. Institute a "playtime," where employees can play games virtually or in person. When I was a manager, on many occasions I took my team bowling. On one other occasion, we went to the movies!

  2. Treat your team to a continental breakfast or lunch.

  3. Allow employees to dress casually on Fridays.

  4. Have guest speakers, for example, a massage therapist sharing with your team simple massages they can do for self-care.

  5. Allow them to be flexible with their hours, as long as they are able to get the work done.

  6. Send them a care package with simple and fun stuff such as a stress ball, healthy cookie snacks, and so forth.

  7. Give each person a $1 scratch-off lottery ticket. I must confess that I have done this. It is inexpensive and fun!

It is important to note that what is valued by each person may vary. For example, allowing Jane to leave 30 minutes early as a reward could be priceless, because she has to fight rush hour traffic to get her children from daycare. However, this reward may not mean much to John, who is single and usually works late, by choice, each day. A public thank you may be just what John would appreciate.

Share some of the ways you have demonstrated to your employees that they are valued! Discover A New Future offers numerous workshops to enhance the engagement and overall development of your employees. Visit us at


“It's the little things that make life big!” - Anonymous


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