How To Reward Team Members Or Employees Without a Budget

Many leaders would like to reward their subordinates, but don’t have a budget to do so. Liz Ryan at Forbes has some suggestions for leaders, managers and business owners in regards to rewarding employees without dipping into funds they may not have.

Allowing employees a work from home day can be a good way to reward them. If this doesn’t apply to your situation exactly, figure out how to reward your team member by allowing them to work for a day on their own scheduling or location terms.

If you have a dress code, ease up on it. It is no longer just the tech sector or other “young” businesses that have discovered that it is kind of absurd to pretend we need special clothing to get our work done in the business world. Ditch the white collars (at least on Fridays).

Find a way to give your team member a special project that suits their interest or under used skill set or find another job-related opportunity to give them.

Bring in one of the “big wigs” to have a sit down with your team and discuss the vision and future of the company and how they all fit into that picture. If you are the big wig (or not) you might consider bringing in a relevant outsider to lead your pow wow.

Take the time to write an honest and positive letter of recommendation for the team member. Talk to them about why you’d be happy to be a reference in the future, either for advancement within the organization or if they decide to move on.

The latter could be part of regularly scheduled one-on-one sessions with your teammates. Focus on the teammate’s needs and thoughts. Ask them questions. How can you help them?

Whatever you choose to do, a simple gesture highlighting the accomplishments and talents of your employees when monetary or material rewards aren’t an option is the best way to let them know they are appreciated.

Four Leadership Behaviors

McKinsey & Company made a study of leadership behaviors. To answer what sort of leadership behavior organizations should encourage, they came up with a list of 20 distinct leadership traits. They then surveyed 189,000 people in 81 different types of organizations around the world. They divided the organizations by what they measured as leadership effective.

Of the 20 traits, they found the top groups displayed 4 of the traits more often. These top 4 traits are:

Be supportive. Support others by sensing how they feel. Show sincere interest in those around them. Allay fears. Dissipate internal conflict.

Operate with strong results orientation. Communicate a vision and set objectives but also follow through to achieve results. Emphasize efficiency and productivity; prioritize.

Seek different perspectives. Monitor trends that affect the organization and changes in environment. Look at employees for ideas to improve performance. Distinguish important from unimportant issues.

Solve problems effectively. Gather information, analyze it and make decisions based on it.

These may not be the only important traits for your company or leadership, but they should be considered.

Jody Victor


Another Marine Principle adapted for Employees

(Adapted from “Keep your Marines informed”)

Employees can be inquisitive. For better efficiency and morale, a leader should keep his employees in the loop of what is happening and why. This is done when something that is happening that wil effect them. They will feel part of a “team” and not just a cog in a wheel. When employees are informed they perform better and can do more and better without constant supervision. The key to giving out information is to be sure your employees have the information they need to do their job intelligently.

  1. When possible, explain why tasks must be done and how want them done.
  2. Assure yourself that your employees are passing on necessary information.
  3. Be alert for rumors. Stop rumors by replacing them with the truth.
  4. Build morale by making sure everyone knows. Put it in writing.

~ Jody Victor