I want to reward my staff but money's tight

My staff have worked really hard. How can I show my appreciation without busting the budget? Jeremy Bullmore advises.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 02 Dec 2014

Q. Cash has been tight this year so we're only giving staff small pay rises. I'd like to find an extra way to thank them for their hard work. Any ideas?

Jeremy says: I suggest you put exactly this question to your staff themselves. Tell them that you very much want to find an imaginative way to thank them for all their hard work, but rather than impose something on them that only some of them might appreciate, you're going to give them a budget and leave it to them to decide what to spend it on. There should be only two conditions: one, the budget can't simply be divided up between them, and, two, the outcome has to be a happening - an event, an outing, a party - that absolutely everyone, from top to bottom, should enjoy and benefit from.

It may sound a bit risky and in theory, of course, it is. You'll have to resist any natural instinct to take charge, and instead trust them totally to get on with it. But the chances are that they'll find the challenge intriguing and flattering - and will be determined to make a go of it.

Your only other decision will be to determine the size of the budget - but compared with the cost of giving them all a worthwhile cash bonus, for example, I think you'll find that you can afford to be quite generous. All being well, it will earn you some disproportionate gratitude.

Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems at editorial@managementtoday.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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