Good managers understand the importance of recognizing their team but, in practice, it can be difficult to implement. Budgets are often tight and workloads get on top of us, meaning even the best leaders can forget to give thanks when it's due.
However, the potential benefits of boosting employee morale, retention and productivity mean it's something no business can afford to ignore.
Your signs of appreciation don't need to be costly (keeping finance happy) but they do need to be genuine, so make sure you understand the achievements your employees have accomplished before doling out the praise.
Buy them lunch
For standout performers or someone who has just gone above and beyond, why not treat them to lunch? If you're worried about it being awkward, simply order lunch to come for them at the right time. This way, everyone gets to see that people are being recognized but you don't have the problem of deciding how much to spend, where to go etc. If you're not that keyed into their eating habits, talk to a colleague they're close to.
Team meetings can be dull, but they're also a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements in your team. This completely free gesture can have a big impact. Everyone likes receiving praise for a job well done so why not make the most of it? Of course, you want to make sure your gesture is genuine and that you're not just picking someone for the sake of it.
Get a round in
If your whole team has had a great month or worked really well on a project, why not take them to the pub after work for a drink? This can be an affordable way of showing your appreciation and also bonding with your team. If your local is a bit rubbish or you have non-drinkers in your team, consider getting some drinks for the office. This way you can get smoothies or ice cream for those who don't want alcohol.
Give them first dibs
Do you have a fun project coming up or just certain tasks that no one likes doing? Show your appreciation by giving your top performer the opportunity to pick and choose their workload for a certain amount of time. This may be getting involved on an exciting new campaign or having you cover the dull jobs for them. Either way, it's an effective way of praising a hard worker.
For a top performer you can give them the opportunity to have a lie-in as a reward. This can be on any day they like but shows them that you appreciate the work they're doing. It's also a great incentive for others who'd like such a perk for themselves. You can also give them the option of going home early, but things are more likely to crop up that get in the way of this than coming in later to work.
Give them a gift card
A gift card is a great compromise between giving employees actual cash and showing them appreciation through something they value. It can be for a restaurant, coffee shop or even a big retailer like Amazon. Alternatively, you could tell them they've been chosen and let them pick somewhere.