A little recognition goes a long way

Thirty-five percent of workers and 30 percent of chief financial officers in an Accountemps poll cited frequent recognition of accomplishments as the most effective nonmonetary reward. Thanking people for their hard work and commitment is the key to making them feel appreciated.

“Because few people expect much in the way of reward these days, a small but personalized thank-you can have a big impact,” Steve Richardson, founder of Diverse Outcomes and former chief talent officer for American Express, told Harvard Business Review (hbr.org). “Even when I send a recognition note to a big group or team, I try to add a personalized paragraph in each person’s email, so it’s highly tailored to the individual.”

Public recognition is also a powerful tool that doesn’t cost money but can reap a huge return. Writing about an individual or a team on the company’s intranet or showcasing their accomplishments at a town hall meeting can have a big impact.

Just be sure not to devalue your appreciation with over-enthusiasm. A thank-you makes the biggest impact if it is heartfelt, not just token.