Creative Appreciation to Motivate Employees

creative appreciation

As a business manager, you already know that appreciation is the number one employee motivator. But saying “Thank you” once in a while doesn’t quite cut it. Let’s talk about some creative appreciation techniques you can use to motivate your people more.

Employee recognition is important, but it’s not used often enough. Or creatively enough. Appreciation is a free motivator. If you use it creatively and frequently you’ll make an impact.

When I managed a group of tourist attractions, I couldn’t pay my employees much. Since I didn’t have a budget to use for rewards and motivation, I had to be very creative with my appreciation techniques. I tried many different things over the fourteen years I worked there. Once, I decided to add a little personal note of thanks on the pay stub of each employee. I wrote short comments like, “Joe, Thanks for the help with the XYZ project. Christine.” I had over 50 employees, so it took me an hour. I only did that once. I always tried to keep my appreciation fresh – to find new and inexpensive ways to show it to my employees.

Fifteen years later, I ran into one of those former employees. Somehow the subject of those old check stubs came up, and he got his wallet out of his back pocket, opened it, and retrieved that pay stub. He still carried my little note of appreciation with him!

He still carried my little note of appreciation with him!

As a manager, it’s important to know how to motivate employees. Remember the importance of valuing the individual talents and work of your people. The little things really do mean a lot. Employee recognition is a free motivator if it’s specific and timely. So give creative appreciation. Here are six easy ways to show it:

  • Sincerely notice something done well, and complement him/her.
  • Give her/him some extra free time, at lunch or at home.
  • Ask for advice on a challenge you face.
  • Listen to those ideas, and try some of them. That will be noticed!
  • Understand and support employees’ individual dreams and aspirations.
  • Inspire people to appreciate each other.

Finally, everyone wants appreciation delivered differently. Try a hand-written note, praise in private, public awards, and/or articles in your newsletter. The important thing is to keep trying. Nobody ever went to bed thinking they were over-appreciated. So, feel free to lavish it on every day. You haven’t peaked yet!