It's easy to offer rewards for tangible or significant events in life, a touchdown ... a goal shattered ... new clients, etc... But, what about the small things that often go unnoticed. If you step back for a moment and observe, an I mean really look at your employees, you may see some remarkable attributes that you just might find worthy of rewarding from time to time. This isn't the person who smiles at the customers nicely, no it's more than that. If you're customer facing, you should always have a smile! No, this is about the employee that goes above and beyond and does it consistently. Your recognition goes a long ways by showing appreciation for something more than the expectation. Why settle for the rule, when you can rise above and beyond it. Good customer service is expected, treating them like they are the only customers on Earth is what sets your company ahead of the rest.
There are many inexpensive ways to recognize superior intangible traits such as a paper weight or an engraved pen. Believe me, you will not collapse your company into financial ruin, but you just might encourage this superior behavior and when properly recognized, it may become contagious! Certificates end up in a folder, desk drawer or trash can, so you will want to give something with meaning, with style and purpose. If you can't afford an all out raise, then give a gift!