Ref: Daily reader 16 July 2007 OFA Newsletter Many Business owners overlook the use of low-cost or no-cost incentives as a way to let employees know they are appreciated. These 21 ideas are designed to challenge your creative senses. Get your employees involved and find out how they want to be recognised: Welcome new hires by preparing for their first days on the job. Make sure their workspaces have what ever they will need to get off to a good start. Show them the restroom, the break room and how to use the telephone and cash register. Offer a â€œGreen Thumbâ€ award that employees can give one another or supervisors and customers can award to the employees. The â€œgreen Thumbâ€ is a sticker that some employees will apply to their name badges. Employees as well as their supervisors can submit nominations of why the award is deserved. Customers can also give employees a pre-printed â€œThumbs Upâ€ card that employees can redeem for points that can be used for gifts or incentives. Focus on the results, not the rules. Do not punish employees by constantly reminding them about the rules and regulations. Write personal notes to employees on the backs of their pay-check envelopes. It is a simple yet effective way to show employees how much you appreciate them. Send a â€œthank youâ€ letter to your employeesâ€™ families. This is such a simple idea, but can make a huge difference in the employeesâ€™ attitude towards you and the job. Award the privilege of an extra 15 minutes for lunch when an employee foes above and beyond or the team meets or exceeds a goal. Recognize temporary and seasonal employees with a framed certificate thanking them for their contributions. Write a note of thanks on the back of your business card, and hand it to an unsuspecting employee as a gesture of appreciation. Bestow the â€œGo Out on a Limbâ€ award to employees that go the extra mile by proposing a new, creative or better way of doing something. Recognise an employeeâ€™s aptitude or skill by inviting him or her to teach or coach other employees. One business designed a â€œGotchaâ€ award. All employees received a supply of $1 gift certificated to local restaurants. They were asked to award them to deserving co-workers in recognition of good work over a time period of one month. Consider an â€œR&Râ€ fund. When your business has an exceptional sales day, every one wins. The owner puts $5 (or what ever amount deemed appropriate) into an R&R fund. Three or four times each year, the money is spent on a social event for all the employees. Keep top performers under constant review to make sure they are being rewarded and recognised. Raise the retail discount for employees by 10 percent. Recognise and reward employees who work on non scheduled days. These are the people you call on to work weekends, holidays and/or their day(s) off. Reward employees with movie passes (or something of equal value) on their birthdays. If an employee misses a big sale or a deal falls apart, it doesnâ€™t make them a bad person or a failure. Expect and reward success, but accept human limitations and bad luck. Be visible and not just when you need some one to do something. Get out of your comfort zone, walk around and talk to you employees. At the beginning of the day, put five (or more) coins in your pocket. During the day, each time you recognise an employee for an accomplishment, transfer a coin to your other pocket. Your goal is to transfer all of the coins fro, one pocket to the other by the end of the shift. Select a performance goal you would like to recognise for the month, such as a higher customer satisfaction rating. Employees vote for the winner. The reward can be a special privilege or a gift certificate Recognize your employees for their hard work with a classified ad in the local newspaper. Consider mentioning the names of each employee in the ad. Go one step further and include a photo of your entire team along with a few words of thanks or congratulations.