By Mady Peterson

1. Express thanks with a public thank you
Sometimes a simple “thank you” can do wonders, especially in a public forum — like an all-company meeting or an email blast. (Pro tip: Bcc your company alias to avoid unleashing a slew of reply-alls.)

2. Give a hand-written note
In an age of emails and texts, a simple handwritten note really stands out. Take a few moments to write out your thanks in a nice card or even grab a colorful piece of paper or sticky note.

3. Offer time off
If employees are putting in extra hours or weekend time to finish a project, consider offering an extra day off — or letting them take off a few hours early on a Friday.

4. Give small gifts
No need to go over budget with large cash gifts. Instead, think of thoughtful, yet inexpensive gifts like gift cards to a local coffee shop or grocery store, movie tickets or flowers.

5. Cover commuting costs
If employees usually pay for parking or public transportation, offer a reward of one month of free parking, a bus pass or a gas card.

6. Offer chair massages
Individual massages can be expensive, but if you want to reward a big group of employees, consider hiring a masseuse for the day and offering 15-minute chair massages.

7. Feature top employees on your company blog or newsletter
By featuring top employees in your company blog or newsletter, you not only give them the recognition they deserve, but you broadcast what your company values in top employees. This is great for recruiting as well as motivating current employees.

8. Schedule an all-company activity
Many companies plan holiday parties, but you can recognize great work all year long by planning an impromptu activity that gives employees a few hours off from work. At Limeade, we had a great time spending a half-day on the slopes for a Frozen Friday event. Other employee reward ideas include a summer field day — with a BBQ and outdoor games — or a company-sponsored happy hour. All company events help with more than recognition for hard work — they also boost morale and build relationships and collaboration between departments.

9. Give them a wacky and fun award
Here at Limeade, we give the “Make Others Great Award” on a monthly basis to an employee nominated by their peers. It’s one of our favorite employee reward ideas — the winner is announced at an all-staff meeting and the employee gets to have a large green shoe on their desk for the entire month.

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