12 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Celebrating Your Staff

April 3, 2019
Kelly C. Bawden, MS, CCC-SLP
feature image

Look at you. You're committed to culture-building on your team. You've been working hard all year to do little, everyday things that make a big difference in how your team feels about the work they do and where they do it. You know that happy employees are 12% more productive than those who are unhappy and that 86 percent of employees recognized in the last month say they trust their boss. Sure, it hasn't all been smooth sailing, but hey, you're human and you understand that perfection is the enemy of progress. You've kept the staff appreciation train on the tracks since August, and that's not nothin'.

And now, it's Spring. If your district is anything like most that we work with, that means the brutal combination of 1) budgets running low, and 2) staff burnout running high. One look around your staff meeting tells you that your people could use a little boost. What's a terrific-but-cash-strapped admin to do when grand displays of staff appreciation aren't an option?

Why, download our Celebrate Your Staff on a Shoestring resource, of course! We've assembled 12 free and low-cost ideas that will help you celebrate the fantastic work your staff is doing and will encourage them during this final push to the end of the year. Click on the image or [formlightbox_call title="gravity form" class="15"]click here[/formlightbox_call] to download a free copy, or just read the tips below:

  1. Just say thank you. Recognize hard work with a written thank you note. Contribute personal thanks and include a message of encouragement and recognition. With so much of our communication going online, a handwritten note will stand out and leave a lasting impression of gratitude!
  2. Provide a theme like “Superheroes” for the next staff meeting. Give each person a special title that highlights a positive attribute. “Captain Organization” or “Bold & Awesome Assistant” or “Mister Dynamic”
  3. Tiny trophies - hit the dollar store for items that represent the individual; a can of Crush for someone who “crushes problems” or a magnet for someone with a “magnetic personality”.
  4. Host a popcorn party with add-in ingredients like candy, nutritional yeast, Cajun seasoning, etc. Remember: Food draws the people in! The take-home item could be microwave popcorn with a sticker saying “just popping by to say thank you!”
  5. Host a breakfast social with waffles & toppings and include sweet and savory. Make a sign or stickers that say, “You are appreciated a “waffle” lot!”
  6. Buy bamboo, rocks, and containers (don’t forget water!) to allow staff to plant their “Lucky” bamboo plants. Include a note for each staff saying “we’re lucky to have you.”
  7. Make a post-it wall with staff shout-outs/compliments. Use a wall that is clear of other items (or clear it in advance). The post-its should be all together to have a dynamic display. Also, have post-it notes handy for any staff member to write a little something about a coworker. The notes can be signed or anonymous.
  8. Organize group volunteer time at a local food bank or food pantry. Having time together as a team helping others will help create relationships and ultimately bring your staff closer.
  9. With the weather changing, anyone would appreciate a new lip balm. Spruce yours up with messages of “You’re the balm!” and give these out freely and often!
  10. Fill your staff fridge with Simply single-serving juice bottles with a printed card stating “you’re simply the best!”
  11. Use the information you have on hand (from compliance data) to highlight the work your staff is doing. Hand copies out with a highlighter and a cute note like: I wanted to highlight the excellent work you're doing! It doesn't go unnoticed and I'm proud of you.
  12. Host an interactive party with a Minute to Win It-style game. Give teams 60 seconds to complete a task. With teams competing against one another you can pick a winner through the process of elimination. One game could be to transfer m&m candies from one plate to another using only a straw. Another game is to see who can make the highest tower of red solo cups. You can find more games online!

[formlightbox_call title="gravity form" class="15"] Celebrate your staff download[/formlightbox_call]

[formlightbox_obj id="15" style="padding: 10px;"][gravityform id="15" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"][/formlightbox_obj]

We see you and the work you're doing to make your district a place that staff wants to stay. You got this, and we've got you!