Employee MoralYou don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your employees you appreciate them. The right non-financial rewards can have an even greater impact than cash rewards.

Try these inexpensive or free ways to motivate employees in four areas: recognition, reward, opportunity and flexibility.


Say “Thank You” often. Studies by McKinsey & Company consistently find employees value your praise and attention more than cash rewards. Recognize employees publicly and in front of their peers. Celebrate employee accomplishments on your intranet. Present a certificate at an employee meeting.


The size of a reward may not matter as much as just getting an award. Try these rewards:

  • Framed paper certificates ready to hang in an office or cubicle.
  • Designating an “employee of the month” parking space.
  • Small-dollar gift cards from coffee shops or lunch places.


Demonstrate your confidence in an employee by giving her additional career opportunities. Whether it’s the challenge of leading a team, the ability to attend a meeting with a key client or the opportunity to work on a high-profile project, enabling employees to succeed in their careers can be one of the most motivating rewards you provide.


We can all use more flexibility to juggle our personal and professional lives. While not completely without cost, your employees might value an afternoon or a day off more than a monetary reward.

Letting an employee to occasionally telecommute or use flex time for personal reasons demonstrates your trust and confidence in him.