Thursday 27 October 2016

Five ways to reward employees without breaking the bank

Hilarie Geary

Published 26/08/2015 | 10:40

You want to reward your employees for their hard work and achievements, but most small businesses may not be able to afford to give bonuses or extravagant gifts.

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With global businesses creating enviable cultures, benefits and rewards systems it can be hard for smaller companies to compete. Many think rewards need to be monetary but research shows that small gestures can go a long way towards having a positive effect on employee morale. Here are our suggestions for five simple ways to show deserving employees that you care.

1. Acknowledge success publicly

Praising your staff publicly is a simple yet effective way to reward staff for a job well done. Send a group email congratulating them on the success of a project or acknowledge them at your next sales meeting for exceeding targets. Knowing that you value their contribution can make a great difference.  

2. Express your gratitude personally

If someone goes above the call of duty you should let them know that you appreciate it.  If you can’t say it in person, a simple handwritten note on their desk with a thank-you and some words of encouragement can go a long way to making them feel appreciated.

3. Flexi-time

Giving your employees a level of autonomy over their working hours can have a positive impact on their productivity and attitude to work. If your business has quieter periods at certain times of the year it can be a nice gesture to allow employees to come into work later or to take a half day. As long as the employee is deserving and doesn’t abuse the perk, this can be a great way to build trust and morale with key employees.

4. Think outside the box

Something we have implemented at Executive Connections that works very well is the introduction of a duvet day. We give employees one day a year where they can decide to take a day off work and only notify us that morning. On a wintery Monday morning where a day in the office feels less than appealing, experience has shown a duvet day to be a big hit. 

5. Small Gift

At Executive Connections, we reward our consultants when they successfully place their first candidate. As a small token, we present them with a bunch of flowers and bottle of champagne. It shows our appreciation for what is a big milestone and the surprise element makes it a really nice touch. If you can tailor the gift to a person’s interests even better – a concert ticket for a music fan or a dinner voucher for the office foodie. Employees appreciate when you notice and acknowledge that they have a life and interests outside of work. 


Founded in 1991 Irish company Executive Connections provides recruitment and human resource consulting services to the banking, finance and commercial sectors. Established and owned by Hilarie Geary, Executive Connections clients include a range of high profile blue chip companies.

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