Ten Low-Cost Employee Morale Boosters

Some organizations have elaborate employee incentive programs, employee bonus programs, and special award programs. Often they come with a budget attached so a manager is able to easily employ them. However, what kinds of morale boosting can you do if you’re a manager and have very little discretionary funds to devote to morale boosting?

Here are ten ideas that you can choose from. Some of them are obvious, but they are good to have in your morale-boosting arsenal.

1. Just say thank-you. Even when there’s no money that changes hands, it can be extremely rewarding for an employee to know that his/her boss appreciate the work he/she is doing.

2. Write a note of appreciation. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or even on a greeting card that is bought from the store. You can simply write out a note on a basic note card or print something out from a Web greeting card site or a computer program (such as Microsoft Publisher).

3. Award a certificate of appreciation. Here, again, the real value to the employee is in the realization that his/her contribution is being appreciated. These days it’s easy to put together such a certificate from a program such as Microsoft Publisher.

4. Take an employee to lunch or out for a cup of coffee. Nothing elaborate is required. Simply spending time together with the opportunity to say thanks and to exchange ideas is valuable.

5. Buy a lottery ticket for your employee (assuming doing so is compatible with everyone’s values) and give it along with a note or card. Lottery tickets are fairly inexpensive, but can be fun and (in some instances) financially rewarding.

6. Bring in donuts (or a selection of fruit if you’re health-conscious) for your staff.

7. Have a pot-luck breakfast or lunch. This is something that everyone can participate in and enjoy. The cost is manageable and it provides an opportunity for some enjoyable interaction

8. Hold a silly contest. In an office context, for example, you could award a prize for the most cheerful office or around holiday time in December for the most brightly decorated office or office-space.

9. Give a new, interesting assignment. The key here is to make sure it’s something interesting to the employee. Sometimes all that’s needed to boost morale is a little bit of variety and a change of pace.

10. Do a short employee survey to find out what employees like and don’t like about their jobs – and take action (where possible and sensible) to minimize the dislikes.