Aug 05 2014

10 Ways to Boost Employee Morale Without Spending Money

A simple thank you or public recognition can go a long way in letting employees know they are appreciated.

Cities with strong tech sectors tend to have high rates of employee satisfaction. San Jose and San Francisco are among them, according to Forbes.

The most satisfied employees in those areas work for companies such as Google, eBay and Twitter, which can be stiff competition for state and local governments seeking to attract and retain top professionals from the same talent pool. Your agency may not have deep pockets to dole out bonuses for hardworking employees, but there are ways to keep workers happy without spending extra cash.

Mike Michalowicz, CEO of Provendus Group, wrote an article last year, “101 Ways to Reward Employees (Without Giving Them Cash),” that’s still relevant today.

Michalowicz specializes in igniting growth within companies that have hit a plateau. His list requires some modifications for the government workforce, but here are 10 of those ideas that are sure to make an impact in your organization.

  1. A Thank You Note. Saying thanks about something specific may be the ultimate reward. If you do it selectively, yet authentically, a thank you note may be pinned above your employee’s desk for years.

  2. Put it in the File. After you write a personal, handwritten note to the employee, thanking him for his effort or accomplishment, put a photocopy of the note in his file.

  3. Standing Ovation. Get all your employees together in the same room. Really pack them in. Then invite in the employee you're recognizing and give him or her a standing ovation.

  4. Just Say it. The words “thank you” are powerful. And sometimes all you need to do is to say it sincerely.

  5. Company Newsletter. If you have one, feature them in it.

  6. Appreciate Personal Wins. Don’t just appreciate employees for what they do for you. If they’ve achieved a milestone in their lives outside the office, celebrate with them in the office. Decorate their cubicle with balloons and cards when they achieve a personal win, like completing a marathon, winning a tournament, losing weight (if they’ve been public with their diet), having a baby, buying a new home or graduating from a class.

  7. Talk About Anything But Business. Take time to have coffee with your employees. Chat; ask them about their life and family. Take time to get to know them as people. It shows you’re interested and that you appreciate them for being them.

  8. Innovation Day. Have a half day a week where employees can work on a personal project, or volunteer at the organization of their choice. For state and local employees, this could mean working on a project that relates to their agency's mission.

  9. Start a Team. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer softball, bowling or badminton. The idea is to build relationships, camaraderie and respect among employees.

  10. Time. Give the gift of your time and attention. Offer to mentor or coach employees you truly appreciate.

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