Woman leaving work happily smiling and raising her arms in the air.
From hosting events to offering more flexible options, there are many low-to-no-cost ways of showing your employees how much you care about and appreciate them. — Getty Images/DaniloAndjus

As a manager, acknowledging your team's effort and success is important to retaining them and increasing employee satisfaction. Expressing gratitude to your workers doesn't have to break the bank. There are many affordable ways to thank your employees for their hard work and dedication to your business.

Here are eight tactical, low-cost ways to make employees feel appreciated.

[Read more: Proven Ways to Boost Employee Morale]

Set up a ‘props’ system

Give your employees a chance at the end of a general weekly meeting to give “props” to other team members. This can be anything from a shoutout for a job well done to thanking them for assistance on a project. As a manager, call out who has done an exemplary job that week and acknowledge their achievements. Be sure to switch off the employees you recognize each week and that you are relaying each team member’s strengths.

Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries and other milestones

Show your employees you’re paying attention to both their personal and professional lives by celebrating milestones like birthdays and work anniversaries. These celebrations can involve a cake in the breakroom, a card signed by each team member or a company-wide email acknowledging the individual. Celebrate each milestone with the same attention and dedication as you would a company project.

Order breakfast or take them to lunch

Offering free food is one of the easiest ways to show employees you appreciate their efforts and hard work. Set up a food spread in the breakroom, order lunch for your team to-go, or head out to eat and let them have some time outside the office. These options will not only help you express your appreciation, it will also increase the interpersonal relationships of other officemates and higher-ups as well as contribute to a stronger company culture.

Show your appreciation for an employee’s hard work with time off or a flexible scheduling option where they can work from home or leave early one day a week.

Offer flexibility or extra time off

Show your appreciation for an employee’s hard work with time off or a flexible scheduling option where they can work from home or leave early one day a week. This extra time allows the employee to work on something personal outside of work, such as a hobby or spending time with family. They’ll feel appreciated and come back to work refreshed and ready to tackle the next project.

[Read more: How to Retain Your Best Employees]

Make it a habit to thank employees

Never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.” Start sneaking in thank-you’s more often during Zoom or in-person meetings with your employees. A 2019 study found that employees prefer receiving positive feedback during one-on-one meetings. These meetings can be as simple as inviting them into your office for congratulations, relaying your appreciation while passing in the hallway or thanking them over a Zoom call.

Express gratitude on social media channels

Another easy way to show employees appreciation is posting about them on your company’s social media platforms. Share a photo of the employee on their birthday with a fun fact to let your audience learn more about them. Additionally, you can recognize an employee’s promotion on LinkedIn and congratulate them for a step up the ladder.

Host company-wide events

Company events don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to show employee appreciation. Host a field day or company picnic that gives employees a chance to get out of the office and create strong bonds with their coworkers through team-building activities. This form of appreciation shows your company has a flexible and fun atmosphere while ensuring employees their team efforts don’t go unnoticed.

Sponsor volunteer opportunities

When you provide opportunities for your employees to give back to their community, you show that you care about the well-being of the community and the contributions your employees can offer. Give your employees the day off to donate their time to a charitable event or devote an entire business day to a shared cause. Employees will feel good about giving back and appreciate that their work is making a difference.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published June 18, 2021