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20 Tips for No-Money Reward and Recognition

  1. Post a thank-you note on the employee's or team member’s office door.
  2. Have your Administrator or your manager's manager call an employee or team member to thank him or her for a job well done, or have the same person visit the employee at his or her workplace.
  3. Greet employees and colleagues by name when you pass their desks or pass them in the hall.
  4. When discussing an employee's or a group's ideas with other people, peers, or higher management, make sure you give credit.
  5. Acknowledge individual achievements by using people’s names when preparing status reports.
  6. Name a continuing recognition award after an outstanding employee.
  7. Ask five people in your department or organization to go up to the person sometime during the day and say "{Your name} asked me to thank you for [the task or achievement]. Good job!"
  8. Write five or more Post-it notes thanking the person for a job well done and hide them among the work on his or her desk.
  9. Have lunch or coffee with an employee or a group of employees you don't normally see.
  10. Make a thank you card by hand.
  11. Lunch outings for the entire group as an “everyone-pays-his-own-way” event. The value is in the going, so encourage but don't force anyone who isn't comfortable going with the group.
  12. A personal letter of thanks to the employee or team member from the CEO/senior manager for a significant contribution (you might need to get the information to this person before the letter can be written).
  13. Let the person you are recognizing know what you are doing or requesting on his or her behalf (i.e., send the person a copy of your requesting memo). Even if upper management doesn't approve the request, the person will know you were trying.
  14. Clippings of special articles on a topic you know is meaningful to the individual. Attach a note to relate the articles to something that is special to the person.
  15. Share verbal accolades. Don't forget to forward voice mail messages that compliment a team member’s work.
  16. Ask a person to teach or share his accomplishment with others as a way of recognizing the person's ability and role.
  17. Ask a person for advice or her opinion; this demonstrates respect.
  18. Recognize an individual's accomplishments in front of peers -- yours or theirs.
  19. Practice positive nonverbal behaviors that demonstrate appreciation.
  20. Make a large calendar that can be posted. Call it the "celebration calendar" and use Post-Its and written notes of recognition tacked onto specific dates to honor contributions made by team members.