People Magazine

What drives your employee appreciation? (Try creative rewards and recognition!)

Employee rewards and recognition
Spread the word

There are many free and low-cost ways to increase employee ambition.

Get creative with rewards and recognition to encourage employee drive.

Employees are looking for more than money.

Don’t forget to focus just as much on current employees as onboarding.

How do you drive your employees’ appreciation on a daily basis? Do you have the right rewards and recognition list?

It’s a question small to mid-sized business owners should be focusing on, but it can easily be pushed to the backburner. However, one of the most obvious answers—money—isn’t always the most important factor for every employee. Of course, employees want, need, and deserve fair pay.

However, there are many ways to drive employees, and not all of them cost the employer.

Increase Employee Ambition

What drives your employees is likely what drives you. Everyone prioritizes driving factors differently, though, and those factors can change on a regular basis. Here are a few popular “drivers” that you can implement at no cost:

Employee recognition.

Everyone wants to be recognized for good, hard work. Recognition can be as simple as a heartfelt thank you for taking on a new project or doing especially well at a task. It means giving recognition where it’s due. This can mean including everyone who worked on the project when a manager accepts an award or recognition themselves. Be nice—sometimes it’s that easy. Also, try to make it personal. Thank you’s can be generic so add a comment about a specific job well done.

Employee appreciation.

Appreciation can overlap with recognition, but it can also be a little bit different. For example, formal appreciations can be an award ceremony or a token gift like a gift card to an employees’ favorite restaurant. Appreciation doesn’t always have to include a tangible component, but it can. Studies show that appreciation is especially important to millennials more than previous generations.

Rewards and recognition.

Rewards fall under the recognition category, but keep in mind that they can have a financial component or not. A plaque or trophy, both traditional rewards, can hold a lot of merits. How much value is placed on these rewards and recognition can vary from person to person and business to business? However, as a business owner, you can increase the perceived values of these non-monetary awards. Try hyping them up through formal awards events or building them into your company culture.

Staff appreciation.

As you can see, a lot of these “drivers” intersect. Staff appreciation days or special events, such as a company BBQ or team luncheon are a chance to help drive all of your employees instead of a select few. One of the big differences in staff appreciation is that it can be for everyone. This takes out the competitive component of awards.

These are all potentially free or low-cost ways to drive your employees. A little recognition and token can go a long way.

Additional Drivers

Beyond employee recognition and staff appreciation, keep in mind that your employees are looking for benefits beyond money. An AI cloud-based HR software such as Aqeed People, makes sure you encompass a more holistic approach to what candidates want. A few options include:

Good benefits.

Some candidates, especially those with a lot of health issues, seek out employment with exceptional health options.

Unique perks.

Maybe you offer a free on-site gym or discounted childcare. Job candidates are looking for benefits beyond the monetary.


A number of fields and jobs can easily allow employees to work from home at least part-time. Not only does this reduce overhead, but it can also be a huge perk to drive employees.

How do you know the best way to drive employees? Ask them.
HR professionals can do this by asking managers what feedback they are getting from their teams. A formal engagement survey is another excellent way to ask questions and collect data.

Your current employees hold a wealth of information and can let you know what high-quality job hunters are looking for. You can get creative and don’t forget that you don’t need to spend a lot to keep ambitions high necessarily. However, it’s not just new employees that need to be driven. Sustaining that drive with current employees is paramount to keeping them.

Spread the word

Add comment