Why You Can’t Stop Rewarding Employees

Given that happy employees are good for the bottom line of any business or organization, employers must work to maintain and/or increase morale. However boosting morale in this economy is challenging. Before employees even enter the office doors they may be dealing with issues such as unemployed spouses, mounting debt, loss in value of their homes or the complete loss of a home, and increases in the costs of everything from health insurance to fast food. The good news is that even organizations on the tightest budgets can find small, effective ways to boost morale.

While gone are the days of expensive bonuses and gifts, employers will find that many times just saying thank you and we appreciate you is enough to keep employees motivated. A simple gesture such as supplying employees with thank you cards or vacation vouchers to give to other employees is an inexpensive and effective way to boost morale. In his book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, Bob Nelson (1994) says, “Employees find personal recognition more motivational than money. Yet it is a rare manager who systematically makes the effort to thank employees for a job well done, let alone do something more innovative to recognize accomplishments.”

Employers can create low-cost rewards and recognition programs to show appreciation for employees as well as allowing employees to show appreciation to their peers. Rewards programs can range from informal expressions of gratitude to more formal celebrations complete with trophies and plaques. However when boosting morale one must consider what motivates the employees. Employees who work as stockbrokers for a bank are likely to have different motivations than employees who work as social workers for a non-profit organization.

Good leaders can improve morale despite obstacles by providing effective communication with employees and providing meaningful rewards and recognition.

We recently revised and expanded our Rewards & Recognition program at my library. Here’s what some of our staff had to say about the value of being recognized.


How are you rewarding and recognizing your employees in this economy?