What’s the best way to let a great employee know they are valued and appreciated? Although money may seem like the obvious choice (and a good one if you can spare it), there are plenty of other options that require no cash at all. In fact, research shows that being recognized for a job well done matters more to people than money.

Here are nine ideas to show your staff that the good work they’re doing is not going unnoticed.

  1. Recognize an employee who has gone above and beyond by mentioning his or her contribution at the beginning of your next meeting. Making this a public shout out can mean a great deal.
  2. Share the progress that individuals or teams are making on various projects in a company-wide email.
  3. Privately pull aside an employee to express your sincere thanks for working hard, pushing through a problem or handling a difficult situation with tact. Or, write a handwritten note to this effect that they can keep.
  4. Have a bulletin board where employees can jot down quick notes acknowledging the efforts of their peers.
  5. Consider if you can upgrade a deserving employee’s job title to be more reflective of what they do.
  6. For significant accomplishments, write a short summary of what an employee achieved and submit it to your local paper.
  7. Offer to spontaneously give a good worker the afternoon or day off.
  8. Have a funny trophy to signify someone’s special accomplishment that can be passed along from person to person. Or, surprise an employee by putting a big, gold star on his or her desk.
  9. Ask employees what they suggest for how you can recognize their work in meaningful ways.

Taking the time to recognize and reward good employees can go a long way in retaining your best talent, plus it just feels good to make someone’s day. So don’t miss these opportunities – especially when they can be done so inexpensively and have such great impact.

Susan Bryant is a writer and editor who enjoys working on diverse subject matter and collaborating on interesting projects. She can be contacted at susanbryant7@gmail.com.