Ask almost any business manager or business owner around and they’ll tell you about the importance of having employees who are team players.

Employees who are willing to be part of a team are able to get more done, and they make the workplace a better environment for everyone.

Do you have someone on your team who’s a great example of being a team player? Do you want to recognize their contributions and reward their efforts?

Read on for nine ideas on how you can reward your best employees and thank them for being great team players.

Why Rewarding Employees Matters

Before we dive into some specific ideas to reward your employees, let’s go over the benefits that come with providing rewards and positive feedback. Some people might think that this is over-the-top or unnecessary. In reality, though, it’s a very useful practice.

Some specific benefits of rewarding employees include the following:

Improve Happiness in the Workplace

Employees who are team players and make efforts to bring people together are more likely to make the workplace a happier place for everyone else. When your employees are happy, they’re more productive and they do better work.

If you want to ensure that the employees who are acting like team players continue to do so and stay happy themselves, make sure you’re recognizing their efforts and showing your appreciation.

Gain Appreciation

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, including bosses and supervisors. In order to get appreciation, though, sometimes, you have to give it.

If you want to feel more appreciated for your role in the company, make sure you’re showing gratitude to others who are being team players and making your job easier. This will reinforce the behavior and ensure that it continues.

Reduce Employee Turnover

Employees who receive appreciation for their hard work are more likely to stick around, too.

As you may know, it costs a lot more money to bring on a new employee than it does to retain an existing one. Hiring on and training a new recruit can cost your company thousands of dollars, as well as several days of lost or diminished productivity.

To avoid this, make sure you show gratitude for the great workers you already have.

How to Reward Your Employees

Clearly, you need to make it a priority to reward your employees if you want them to stick around long-term and continue doing good work.

Not sure how you should say thanks? Don’t have the budget to give them a bonus?

Try one (or more) of these nine options. They’re all great examples of how to reward your employees without money:

1. Verbal Praise

You don’t always have to roll out the red carpet to let someone know that you appreciate them. Sometimes, a small gesture can go a long way.

Think about it. When’s the last time you gave an employee a sincere thank you -- not just a passing thanks while your nose was buried in your phone -- when they went above and beyond?

Verbal praise and recognition can make a big difference, especially if you’re not in the habit (yet) of doling them out often.

Consider calling the employee (or employees) who are encouraging teamwork throughout the company into your office and let them know how much you appreciate their work.

Be honest and genuine when you do this. It might just make their day and give them the push they need to continue working together with their fellow teammates in the same manner.

2. Hand-Written Notes

Another small but meaningful gesture you may want to consider is sending hand-written notes to employees you want to recognize.

Some employees might feel uncomfortable receiving verbal praise, but receiving a hand-written note (make sure it’s hand-written by you, not your receptionist) can have a big impact on them and will encourage them to continue going the extra mile and working together with their colleagues.

When you’re writing a thank-you note, be sure to make it personal and let the recipient know exactly why you’re writing to them. A vague or generic note is unlikely to have the same effect.

3. Certificates of Achievement

Printing out certificates of achievement can be a useful strategy, too.

There are lots of free certificate templates available online that you can use and customize to fit the specific acts you want to recognize. Print out one of these certificates, fill it out with your star employee’s information, and present it to them.

You could do this in a public way at a company meeting or at a time when everyone’s in the office, or you could simply leave it on their desk if they seem like the type to prefer quiet, subtler forms of recognition.

4. Company Potluck Lunch

If you want to get everyone on your team or in your company (depending on how large it is) involved in recognizing your star employee, consider throwing a potluck lunch or party to say thank you.

Invite everyone to bring a dish to share and make sure they know the party is in honor of a specific employee or group of employees.

You could hold a party like this on a quarterly or bi-monthly basis to shout out several employees and recognize them for their willingness to work as a team.

5. Social Media Shout-Outs

Remember, public recognition doesn’t have to stay limited to the office.

Another way to reward employees is to shout them out on social media. Create a post for your company Facebook or Instagram page describing the employee and explaining how much you appreciate them for being a great team player.

This gives your customers and other followers a chance to get to know your employees better and connect with your company on a deeper level. It also increases the likelihood that your employee’s friends and family will know about the good work they’re doing.

6. Flexibility

Flexibility can be a powerful reward, too.

If your office currently has a strict schedule or rules for when and where people can work, consider relaxing that a bit for the employee or employees who are doing more than their fair share to help the team grow and thrive.

For example, you can give them the option to work from home on a particular day or allow them to take a longer lunch break. You may want to reward them with a chance to work a half-day, too, and start the weekend a little earlier.

Small things like this can be very motivating to some employees and will keep them encouraged to continue working hard and contributing to the team.

7. Better Parking Space

People will do a lot of things if they’re promised the chance of a better parking space. If you want to thank an employee for being a team player and want to encourage other employees to follow suit, consider offering them a better parking space for a  week or month.

Designate one space in your parking lot for the employee of the month or week (you can always come up with a more creative name if you choose) and let your star employee know that it’s theirs. This gives you a chance to recognize their efforts and reward them in a cost-free way.

8. Lunch with the Boss

Gifts and praise work well for some employees. Other employees, though, value quality time and meaningful conversation above all else.

For these employees, a great way to thank them for being team players might be to invite them to have a one-on-one lunch with you.

It doesn’t matter if you eat lunch in the cafeteria at your office or go out to a restaurant. Either way, this one-on-one lunch is a chance for you to thank them for their work.

You’ll also have an opportunity to talk to them about what you can do to help them continue their efforts and keep being great team players.

9. New Opportunities

If an employee has been demonstrating leadership skills and a dedication to teamwork for a while, this might be a sign that they’re ready for new opportunities and additional responsibilities. Consider nominating them for a promotion or a chance to interview for a leadership role.

This is a great way to reward them for their hard work and show other members of your team what can happen when they focus on collaboration and uplifting others. It might light a fire under some members and encourage them to put in some additional effort while on the job.

Say Thanks to Your Best Employees Today

As you can see, there are lots of creative ways to reward your employees and thank them for their hard work and willingness to be team players.

All of these rewards are great options that will boost morale and encourage other employees to be more collaborative.

If you’re looking for an easy way to shout out your star employees and recognize their efforts, don’t forget to check out KudosBot.

KudosBot allows you to easily send messages of praise and encouragement directly in Slack.