No matter what industry you’re in, one of the most effective – and easiest – ways to help increase employee satisfaction and decrease turnover is to let your employees know how much you appreciate them.

In industries that run on tight financial and time margins, like public safety and contact centers, employee rewards often end up being pushed onto the backburner. While this can seem like it’s no big deal, the truth is that it may leave your employees feeling underappreciated or unimportant. That’s not good for anyone.

In fact, there are plenty of easy, inexpensive, yet meaningful ways that managers can show employees how much they appreciate their work. Here are a few ideas.

The gift of time

Offering more time for breaks or relaxation is one of the most effective ways to thank employees for their work. It’s true that these kinds of rewards can be harder to offer with shift workers, as is the case with, for example, Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) workers and contact center agents. Supervisors may need to spend some time working out how to manage giving one employee the extra time, while still maintaining necessary coverage of that employee’s duties.

However, the upshot to this fact is that employees will know just how valuable these extra minutes or hours are. That makes these rewards a low-cost, high-value option for supervisors.

Ideas include:

  1. An extra 30 minutes at lunch.
  2. Getting to leave an hour early or come in an hour later.
  3. An extra day of paid time off.
  4. Making one Friday a half-day.
  5. If possible, offer a one-day-a-week telecommuting option.

Small gestures

It doesn’t take much to show your employees that you care about them. As they say about gifts, sometimes it’s the thought that counts.

None of these items has to cost more than $50 (and some are free!), which means you may be able to implement them on a more regular basis. Doing so will go a long way toward not only making your employees happier, but also establishing a workplace culture of appreciation and gratitude. 

  1. Put a personal, handwritten thank you note on their desk or mail one to their home.
  2. Give a Starbucks card.
  3. Give a movie theater gift card.
  4. Give a gift card for dinner for two to a favorite local restaurant.
  5. Have a bouquet of flowers delivered to their desk.
  6. Put together a small gift basket of gourmet sweets and treats.
  7. Offer two tickets to a local sporting event.
  8. Give a gasoline gift card.
  9. Give a grocery store gift card.
  10. Keep one of their favorite drinks or snacks stocked in the breakroom.
  11. Give $50 cash.
  12.  Have a mobile car wash come to the office to wash their car.
  13. Institute a monthly catered lunch day for staff.
  14. Bring in coffee and bagels for the office or your team.
  15. Offer discounts to a gym, restaurants, spas, cell phone service, or other businesses.

Professional development

Gone are the days of professional development being seen as a tedious requirement. Instead, young employees especially are embracing training as an investment in their future. In fact, according to HR Bartender, they’re telling their employers that training is of major importance to their decision to stay with a company long-term.

Basic training that covers a company’s operations, computer systems, and day-to-day functions is and will always be a requirement for everyone. However, there’s something to be said for making further training something that is offered as recognition of superior job performance. That could be preparation for a supervisory or team leader position, for example, or more in-depth training on dealing with a specific group of customers or callers.

  1. Offer a day of team-building to several of your most outstanding employees.
  2. Invest in a day of off-site classroom training.
  3. Offer the chance to take a webinar or other online training course.
  4. Invite high-performing employees to catered “Lunch and Learn” sessions.

With these easy tactics at your disposal, there’s no reason not to start rewarding your employees today. Want to learn more? Read our other posts on how incentives and rewards can help make your organization perform better.

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