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Rewarding employees when you can't give them a raise

Employee Recognition
7 ways to show your appreciation when the budget gets tight.

It’s the time of year to say “thanks” and show appreciation to your employees for another year of hard work. After all, where would your farm be without the workforce? And any employee will tell you that there is nothing more demotivating than not being recognized for their work and efforts.

It’s no secret that budgets are tight in the agricultural industry, which means that there is likely not much available to put toward salary increases in 2020. But you can still recognize and reward employees without breaking the bank. Here are a few ideas:

The Gift of Time: What better gift to hardworking employees than some extra time off? The day before Christmas Eve, let your employees leave at lunchtime. Or early on a Friday. Or give them an extra day to use before the end of the year.

Gift Cards: Can’t give a full raise but still want to give some kind of monetary reward? Gift cards are a great way to allow employees to treat themselves to something they would enjoy. Go the extra mile by gifting gift cards catering to your employees’ individual interests.

Online Shout-outs: Recognize your employee(s) on your company’s social media page or website.

Continued Education & Training: Show your employees you want to invest in their growth. Sign them up for a training or educational course in their area of expertise. Allow them to attend these trainings on company time.

Subscriptions & Memberships: An easy way to give your employees extra perks is to offer paid subscriptions or memberships to services they enjoy like video streaming, gyms, satellite radio, or meal prep kits, to name a few suggestions.

Go Out for Lunch or Throw a Party: Tis the season for holiday parties. Take your employees out on the company’s dime to a nice restaurant. Allow them to invite their spouse or loved ones. Up the anti with door prizes, drawings, or favors. Want to recognize a specific individual? Take them out for a one-on-one lunch.

Write Sincere Thanks: Personal thank you notes can mean a lot. Mention a specific aspect of their work you are especially grateful for or a leadership trait they exhibit well.

Still worried about stretching your budget to allow for rewards and perks? Consider the costs of employee turnover due to unappreciated staff: recruitment, job postings, training, onboarding, etc. Remember that the gift of your appreciation is not something that will be taken for granted. Keep your business thriving with happy and appreciated employees.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

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