5 Low Budget Ideas for Employee Rewards and Recognition

Employee rewards and recognition has emerged as an effective way to create a highly engaged workforce committed to business growth. However, many small and medium businesses and even several larger enterprises tend to feel concerned about the costs involved in implementing a proper employee recognition and rewards program. However, there are many low budget ideas for employee rewards and recognition that can work effectively.

Why is budget not critical for Employee Recognition?

The actual monetary value of the rewards being given to employees does not matter as much.

What matters more for employees is the fact that the organization is cognizant of their efforts and is looking to acknowledge and appreciate the same.

Whatever the budget, organizations need to make sure that the rewards system is in consonance with the expectations and interests of the employees.

Studies have received that well-thought-through, planned and executed rewards on a budget can be more effective in enhancing employee motivation rather than high-value rewards.

Around 85% of employees feel satisfied with a simple “thank you” for their daily efforts and accomplishments.

Another study shows that 47% of employees prefer new growth opportunities as recognition for their achievements.

How to reward and recognize employees on a low budget?


Discussed below are a few low budget employee recognition and reward ideas that can help enhance employee motivation and engagement levels considerably:

1. Public Recognition

Acknowledging and appreciating the efforts and hard work of the deserving employees publicly is the most common and cost-effective method. Such public recognition can be made in front of the team members of the selected employee or the entire workforce at an organization level event.

In either case, the employees tend to feel a sense of pride and achievement, which motivates them to further improve their performance. Such recognition should ideally include a certificate of merit and a small medallion or trophy which can serve as a constant reminder for the employee.

2. Workplace Benefits

Another cost-effective way of rewarding the employees is to offer them some desirable benefits at the workplace for a specific time period. The benefits can be extended permanently, in case of repeat achievers, which will also prove inspiring for other employees.

These benefits may include flexible work timings, free pickup, and drop facilities for a specific time, upgraded workstation or even paid training for skill enhancement. Such rewards tend to enhance the motivation level of the entire team as the members are able to see the benefits gained by one of their own thanks to their diligent and sincere efforts.

3. Paid Outing with Family

A majority of employees today struggle hard to create a perfect balance between their work and family life. In addition, the cost of enjoying an outing with a family is often very high, which is why an average employee tends to do it less frequently.

Hence, being rewarded with an opportunity to spend quality time with their family without having to worry about the expenses for the same, is something that most employees will find appealing. The venue and type of outing can be decided on the basis of the level of the employee receiving the reward.

4. Time-off from Work

The highly competitive work environments today often make it impossible for employees to take time off from work. This can lead to their physical and mental exhaustion and can even cause a reduction in their efficiency.

One way to avoid this problem and integrating it with employee recognition is to give the employees time off from work. The employees can choose between coming to the office and doing nothing or staying at home to indulge in an activity that helps them to unwind and relax.

A couple of days off from work will ensure that the employees feel truly acknowledged for their efforts. It also helps them feel wanted and cared for by their employers and thus helps them develop a stronger bond with the organization.

5. Formal Meal with Top Management

The idea of enjoying a formal dinner with members of the top management is also a great way of acknowledging and rewarding the employees in a budget-friendly manner.

Most junior level employees are in awe of these top-level professionals and sharing a meal with them as a reward for their efforts and hard work often proves to be quite motivating.

Moreover, this method of recognition and appreciation also provides the top management to interact with the high performing employees and assess their suitability for enhanced positions within the organization in the future.

In a more recent study by Officevibe, 82% of employees feel that receiving praise for their work is better than receiving a gift. 

Also read 8 Creative Ideas for Startups to Recognize Employees

Bottom-line

There are many low budget ideas for employee rewards and recognition that can make it possible for organizations to run such programs with a relatively low rewards budget and still get the desired results in form of enhanced employee motivation and engagement levels.

HiFives Team