19 Inexpensive Ways to Recognize Your Team

Posted by Kristin Arnold on April 23, 2024

Recognize Your Team

Recognizing your team’s efforts can significantly boost morale, foster a positive work environment, and enhance productivity. Here are some cost-effective ways to acknowledge and appreciate your team’s hard work:

  1. Thank You Notes.  Personalized, handwritten thank-you notes are so rare. They can make a significant impact.
  2. Public Recognition.  Acknowledge your teams’ contributions in team meetings or through company communication channels.  Be specific about how each team member added to the team’s success.
  3. Mentorship.  Pairing team members with mentors higher in the organization and a different vertical can provide them with valuable learning opportunities.
  4. Training Opportunities.  Offer access to internal training sessions or allocate time for online courses within the work schedule.
  5. Greater Visibility.  Empower team members to lead meetings or projects to give them visibility and a sense of ownership.
  6. Books.  Share a book that is relevant to the team’s work and talk about it.
  7. Remote Work Days.  Offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work days or flexible hours (start and end times) – especially around the many holidays on the calendar.
  8. Dress Down Days.  Introduce dress-down days, especially on Fridays or when no external meetings are scheduled.
  9. Celebrate Milestones.  Celebrate team and individual milestones, such as work anniversaries or completion of major projects.
  10. Team Activities.  Organize group activities like walks, yoga sessions, or craft days that require minimal investment.
  11. Food.  Create opportunities to socialize by bringing in ice cream bars, food trucks, or make coffee runs together.
  12. Friendly Competition.  Host a “soup day” or “chili cook-off” with everyone voting on who should take the grand prize!
  13. Team Outings.  Organize low-cost outings, such as a picnic, a scavenger hunt, a visit to a local museum, or miniature golf (Topgolf anyone?).
  14. Idea Box.  Implement an idea/suggestion box where employees can contribute suggestions for improving the workplace.  (Note: make sure you are constantly encouraging people to contribute, checking the box, and actually implementing some of the ideas!)
  15. Swag.  Small gifts like customized mugs or t-shirts provide a sense of pride in the team and their accomplishments.
  16. Stress Relief.  Offer in-office relaxation spaces, periodic wellness workshops, or bring in a massage specialist to provide back rubs.
  17. An Award.  Present certificates of achievement for outstanding performance or improvement.
  18. Represent the Organization.  Encourage team members to represent the company at industry events or conferences, covering registration fees and travel.
  19. Pet-Friendly.  Consider allowing pets in the office on certain days if feasible.

Effective team recognition does not have to be costly, but it takes some effort and thoughtfulness.  Just make sure the recognition strategy aligns with your organization’s values and culture AND that you are willing to continue the recognition.

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KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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