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Outsmart Inflation with Free Employee Appreciation
Ideas & No-Cost Staff Recognition Printables

published: February 03, 2023
Outsmart Inflation with Free Employee Appreciation Ideas & No-Cost Staff Recognition Printables

Keeping your team engaged is important to your company, especially when you consider that engagement plays a huge part in both productivity and long-term staff retention. However, this can be challenging with the pressure of rising inflation and an uncertain economic outlook. Not only is your company feeling that pressure, but it can also be distracting for your employees who worry about what their own futures look like.

Luckily, there are strategies that can help your business beat inflation and keep your team feeling great about your company. From low cost employee appreciation ideas to totally free employee recognition ideas, you don’t have to drain your budget just to give employees a morale boost.

In this article, we’re going to break down some of the best free employee appreciation ideas so that you can keep your team running strong and your company thriving. By implementing these strategies, you can direct the staff mood into creativity that will benefit your firm.

E-Cards & Printable Employee Appreciation Cards

Charm your staff with e-Cards that are sure to put a smile on their faces. These free staff appreciation ideas are extremely easy to send, so you can use them any time of the year.

Instead of going digital, you can also use free employee appreciation printables that have staying power. Best of all, you can leave these cards on their desks or easily mail them for the holidays and to remote employees. Of course, you’ll need some thoughtful recognition quotes to guarantee your message lands, so check out these employee appreciation cards free printable quote ideas:

E-Cards & Printable Employee Appreciation Cards
E-Cards & Printable Employee Appreciation Cards

Printable Thank You Gift Tags

With free printable employee appreciation tags, you can leave a special message on employee gift bags or small, inexpensive gifts. While the gifts won’t be completely free, you can find plenty of great gift ideas under $5 and even some gift ideas under $1. Add in the right message, and these low cost employee appreciation ideas will be that much more impactful.

Printable Employee Recognition Certificates & E-Certificates

Certificates provide a ton of value to employees as they advance their careers. They show that staff members are capable of performing their jobs at a high level and with a positive attitude. So, why not utilize free employee recognition certificates to honor your staff for their achievements? They’ll thank you for the vote of confidence and return the gesture with continued success.

Of course, when you reward their credentials with a certificate, you should also think about giving them certificate frames or inexpensive certificate holders to encourage them to show off their expertise. As far as ideas for free employee recognition certificates, here are some popular recognitions to consider:

E-Cards & Printable Employee Appreciation Cards

Make it Personal with Virtual Thanks

Make it Personal with Virtual Thanks
Printable Employee Recognition Certificates & E-Certificates
  1. While a thank you video or email doesn’t cost you anything, it does boost morale and encourages your team to keep up the hard work. A virtual thank you message connects with employees because they know you took the time to craft the message and recognizing the efforts they’ve put in.
  2. Wondering what to say in the video or email? We wouldn’t leave you without a little inspiration. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
  • The efforts you put in this year have gone above and beyond our expectations. Thank you for your commitment and for ensuring the initiative was a success.
  • Through thick and thin, you always stepped up to the plate when the team needed you. You performed at an extremely high level without losing focus. I appreciate your ability to adapt and your willingness to take on new responsibilities.
  • You’ve always gone the extra mile, and the fact that we can count on you doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you for being ready to assist whenever you’re needed.
Shoutouts on Social Media
  • The smallest bit of recognition can make your employees feel extremely valued, and social media provides you with the opportunity to honor their contribution in front of your audience. Whether you want to recognize a promotion or their anniversary with your company, take the time to give employees the shout out they deserve by leaving LinkedIn reviews, giving out employee of the month recognitions and showcasing employee spotlights on Facebook.

DIY Employee Appreciation Parties

DIY Employee Appreciation Parties

Easily one of the best low-cost employee appreciation ideas is to plan a party for your staff, especially to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. For the party to be successful, the number one thing you need to keep the troops happy is food. Luckily, you don’t need to pay for catering. Instead, if you have a small staff, you can cook or bake for them and bring the food into the office. In a larger company, this can be planned by department or have one large event where your management team brings in their favorite dishes. Teams tend to love pot lucks as well, even when they are doing a lot of the work. If you choose this route, strike the balance between letting them express their creativity and amping up the festivity with their own recipes, and providing enough yourself that its still a gift from the company. At bare minimum arrange for everyone’s duties to be put on hold during the event so that they can truly relax and enjoy themselves and each other’s company.

Though parties are not a completely free employee appreciation strategy even with in-house effort, they can be pretty close. You as a business owner or manager are substituting staff output time for cash outlay. You’ll save, and employees will enjoy the personal touch. Make sure you couple the food with a thank you message from your CEO or department head.

A few other things you’ll need to complete the party are a playlist from a free streaming service and flyers announcing the event that you can email or post on the community wall at the office. You can easily find an employee appreciation flyer template free, including our creations below. Also, be sure to check out these ideas to include on the flyer:

Printable Signs

When you don’t have the budget for corporate gifts, printable signs are a low-cost decoration for any employee appreciation event. They’re great for sharing a message of gratitude and providing a visual of how you feel about your staff. After all, who wouldn’t love to see these messages posted around the office?

Create a Powerpoint of Staff Achievements

Share your employees’ accomplishments with them during the party by creating a presentation that goes over sales numbers for the entire company, individual achievements and more. Then, present this at a live event or even at a virtual event, especially if you have remote employees. If you need ideas, we created an employee recognition powerpoint template free to help plan your presentation.

Create a Powerpoint of Staff Achievements 1
Create a Powerpoint of Staff Achievements 2
Create a Powerpoint of Staff Achievements 3
Free Games

Everyone loves to take some time out of their day to have fun, and games are an easy way to bring joy and excitement. There are plenty of free games that won’t drain your budget. For example, office bingo is easy to organize and almost everyone will know how to play. Plus, with no cost employee appreciation ideas like this, you’ll be able to keep your staff recognition plans fresh as you recreate new games for the year.

The Day Off

Who wouldn’t appreciate having an extra day off? This gives your staff a chance to unwind and recharge so that they are prepared to come back better than ever. While this might not be at no cost, it doesn’t require cash upfront. However, if you are worried about the loss in productivity, you can plan an afternoon off instead. You can also stagger it between employees to ensure there are still staff members on hand to keep your business going and customers served.

Free On-Site Services

If you have a company gym or coffee machines that require cash to use, consider waiving the fees for good. But if that’s out of the question, you can also make them free for the month, the week, or the day. Though this is a simple gesture, it will go a long way with your staff.

King or Queen of a Day

Whether it’s an employee of the month or the top collector of reward points through a company program, make them the boss of the day for simple things around the office. They can choose the music, determine the lighting, and even take charge of the thermostat for the day.

To sweeten the gesture, give them a prime parking spot and have an upper executive swap for a spot at the end of the parking lot. Then, once they arrive, prepare them a continental breakfast, and have coffee ready on their desk that you brewed yourself.

Jack Up the Company Discount

Do you sell anything fun or useful that employees always have their eyes on? Offer double the company discount for a period of time or even triple it for clearance items. Your staff will be thankful they can pick up something they always wanted on the cheap, and you’ll be able to get rid of overstocked items that are sitting on the shelves.

Points for the Company Swag Store

Let employees earn points throughout the year to use in your company swag store. If you don’t already have a store set up, you should definitely consider the advantages of a company swag store such as incentivizing your employees and eliminating the need to store custom products in-house.

There are a ton of ways they can earn these points, including through fun activities like on-site games that aid in engagement, health and wellness initiatives that decrease your healthcare costs, as well as meeting short-term performance goals like most sales in a week. Up the ante by giving out additional points for free on special occasions like employee birthdays, service anniversaries, events like Employee Appreciation Day, nurses week, teacher appreciation week or other industry-specific yearly employee appreciation events.

The free items they receive don’t have to be expensive. Instead, choose useful items that your employees will benefit from, whether it’s around the office or at home. If you imprint your logo on the swag items, they’ll be great for branding, as well as a team-building opportunity. Although gift redemption is a cost, not all employees will redeem points at the same time, easing your monthly budgets.

Free Employee Recognition Programs

There are plenty of cool programs where you can get an employee recognition software free trial. Vantage Circle, for example, is an easy-to-use cloud-based solution that allows users to shout out teammates and rack up award points. This free employee recognition app offers special pricing and staff discounts on a range of categories from merchandise to health and travel items.

These are some of the best no-cost employee appreciation ideas to help boost morale around the workplace and retain valuable staff members. No matter how you take the time to recognize your employees, they will respond positively and be grateful their hard work isn’t going unnoticed. On top of that, if you do have a little money to spend on your employees, there are a ton of employee gifts that fit any occasion and budget. So, be sure to check them out to ensure your business is doing everything it can to celebrate the success of your employees.