According to some studies, the best performance in a company is rendered where the boss is a yelling maniac ad the employees tremble constantly. It seems that fear is a good incentive in the line of work. On the other hand, the most reliable and stable companies have always had an open-minded policy when concerning employees. Treat them as you would your own is the current reminder. You don’t have to actually love them, just make it appear so.
For example: A couple of years ago I had a boss who enjoyed gardening a lot. Everybody knew that. And whenever some guy or girl made a notable deal, meaning rendered good performance, a bowl of carefully selected fresh flowers appeared on his/her desk the next morning. The flowers were selected, cut and arranged by our boss. It was the cheapest incentive one could find that actually worked wonders. The darn vase toured around the offices for a year. It made us feel better and most important, proud about our work. Because the lucky winner knew that the boss actually thought about him/her at home, when tending to her flowers, so we’re not just working objects. Also, she took care to select and arrange a bouquet of flowers in the style and fashion most fitted to the sender. Because each winner got a different style, personalized. So all in all, it was an extremely cheap option, but it worked better on the psychic of the employee than a financial bonus, and that we could actual do something with.
So find a way to reward them other than digging into the company’s pockets. Employers are reluctant to part with more money than they actually have to, and I do believe you’re no different. But at the same time, if you have good employees you have to give them something. So make it like our boss did: find an option that costs next to nothing and which works best on a psychological level.
No matter what studies say, I have worked with people all my life and appreciation, in whatever form it comes, renders a much better performance in the long run. That is, compared to screaming, threatening and yelling. That works best on short terms, until your employees get over-stressed and find themselves unable to perform on any level. Not to mention it’s an ugly behavior.