30 creative ideas for boosting employee morale and retention

By Robert Half on 15th May 2023

With managers becoming increasingly worried about finding and retaining employees, how can they reward top performers and prevent them from seeking other opportunities? How can they ensure promising professionals stay motivated and satisfied in their jobs?

One simple answer is recognition. Employees who believe their work is valued are more likely to remain loyal and often are more productive. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach for recognising a job well done, we have compiled 30 creative suggestions for you.

Share these ideas with other managers, and start a dialogue with your staff about the forms of recognition they value most.

Related: What makes an effective manager?

Praising your team

1. Regularly thank employees verbally for a job well done. 

2. Acknowledge outstanding team members at a staff meeting so the feedback is public. 

3. Make someone on your team “employee of the month” if he or she consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty. 

4. Take the time to give specific praise on projects, focusing on what the employee did especially well versus what could have been done better. 

5. Ask a senior executive to recognise the work of individuals or teams at a company forum attended by all employees. 

6. Share a message sent by a customer or other stakeholder praising the work of a fellow employee. 

7. Feature stand-out employees in the company newsletter. 

8. Prepare a handwritten thank-you note acknowledging someone’s great work. 

9. Keep reminders of all the contributions your employee has made so you have that information handy and can refer to it during a performance review. 

10. Don’t stop at telling individuals their work was excellent – also point out how it will help the company, or assist clients and customers.

Related: Speak your mind: why we should all embrace diverse team opinions

Rewarding your employees

1. Encourage your staff to become active in professional associations and reimburse them for membership dues. 

2. Take your direct reports to lunch to discuss their career goals, as well as department objectives. 

3. Encourage your staff members to attend a professional conference or seminar and reimburse them for the travel and registration fees. 

4. Reimburse your office staff for the cost of exams required to attain professional certifications.

5. Organise activities to celebrate holidays or special events, such as work anniversaries. 

6. Bring in treats like cakes or other treats for the team to enjoy. 

7. Explore telecommuting, flexi time or other work options that provide employees with more control over their schedules.

8. Celebrate the completion of projects with team lunches or outings. 

9. Provide on-site service, such as drying cleaning, car washes or other things that can help your staff be more efficient. 

10. Offer gift cards for coffee or the movies to employees who go above and beyond on a project.

Related: Seven strategies to elevate your management communication skills

Growth opportunities for your staff

1. Ask those on your team to take on a tough problem or a new challenge beyond their normal responsibilities. 

2. Empower your employees to make their own decisions and have more control over their work. 

3. Ask team members to give a presentation at a staff or company meeting. 

4. Encourage employees to learn new software, use new technologies, or expand their skills and knowledge in other ways. 

5. Ask for your team’s input on departmental issues or a new business opportunity. 

6. Ask each professional about his or her career aspirations, and outline specific steps needed to take to achieve those goals. 

7. Match high-potential employees with experienced mentors. 

8. Encourage employees to submit ideas for improving processes or projects and reward the best ideas. 

9. Invest in leadership training for your company’s next generation of managers. 

10. Have a policy of promoting from within, and make sure staff members know there’s a path to growth in your organisation.


For more leadership tips, you can visit our management advice page, or alternatively you can contact one of our recruitment experts today.

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