Money SignSometimes your employees just need a boost. If you own or manage a company, you’ve probably noticed that from time to time, even the best workers get a little lax in their performance or lack a bit of enthusiasm and determination. It’s normal. You likely don’t get too concerned about these temporary lapses, but maybe you’ve decided that you could do a bit more to reward your employees to improve performance. Studies have shown that employees who are rewarded for their efforts and successes in the workplace are likely to repeat their efforts, furthering the aims and goals of their companies. They are more determined, they are more loyal, and they are more devoted to the company cause. And this makes sense. Everyone wants a little praise and recognition for a job well-done.

Perhaps you’ve heard that employees greatly value monetary bonuses, but you worry that your business just doesn’t have the funds for large increases in pay. Don’t fret. There are other ways, perhaps ones that are much more simple than you could even imagine, that can motivate and reward employees effectively.

Here are three ways to reward your employees on a budget:

Promotion or Leadership Opportunity

Many individuals, especially your best employees, enjoy being rewarded through some type of promotion or leadership opportunity. Perhaps you are putting together a team to head up a brand new project. Promoting an employee to a top position with increased responsibility tells the employee, in essence, that you trust his or her opinion and value the contributions that he or she has made to the company. It shows that the individual is valued and needed for the business to succeed. And those who feel valued are likely to work hard to prove and increase that value. You may give a small monetary bonus to the individual for the promotion if you can, but truthfully, even if you cannot, the individual is likely to be excited for the recognition and opportunity.

Work from Home or Schedule Flexibility

A popular way to reward top employees is to create more flexibility within their schedules. This may mean they can arrive later than usual, leave the office earlier in the day, or take longer lunch breaks. This may also include giving the employee the option of working from home, whether this is a permanent change or something that just happens a few times a week. This type of reward effectively shows the employee that he or she is trusted and independent. It shows that you know the employee can get the work accomplished, even when it is done away from the office. It also shows the individual that you value their personal time and understand that they have other things they must accomplish in the day. Giving a more flexible schedule allows for this. This is a great way to reward employees, as it does not require any additional money (and in fact, allowing hourly employees to come in late or leave early actually saves the company money.)

Inexpensive Gift Card Rewards

It is likely that your company can spare just a little bit of money for employee perks. Many individuals really enjoy gift cards to places such as restaurants, stores, or book shops. Even a gift card for 10 to 15 dollars can be enough to reward the employee effectively. It is inexpensive, particularly if you have a system of giving two such cards away monthly, which would only amount to an extra 20 or 30 dollars. These rewards are a good choice because they encourage your employees to have a little personal time after work. It shows that you value their free time. In addition, giving them this time can actually help rejuvenate them, which in turn makes them better employees.

Again, the key isn’t to give your employees a large bundle of cash as a reward. It is not necessary. Even if your company is on a budget, you can successfully give your employees these types of service awards that will improve their performances and increase their happiness with, and loyalty to, your company.