Performance management doesn't have to be draining your resources. Here's five examples of free ways to reward employees. 

Recognizing and rewarding employees has become increasingly important for businesses both big and small. Strong recognition programs have been tied to everything from reduced turnover to increased productivity, so making sure that you're nailing recognition should be a top priority. Thankfully, recognition doesn't have to cost big bucks. Here are five free ways to recognize the best employees in your organization.

ask employees for daily shout-outs

Hold a short team meeting at the end of every workday where you ask employees to give shout-outs to individuals who worked hard or were particularly helpful on that day. Ask for specific details about what the individual did to warrant the praise so that employees know exactly what kind of behavior you're looking for. This is a great way to find out which employees you need to recognize while providing valuable peer-to-peer praise, too.

create a traveling trophy

A trophy provides a great way to recognize an outstanding employee. Finding a simple trophy with “Employee of the week” and awarding it to a different employee on a weekly basis seems over simplistic, but can really motivate an employee. At the end of every week, gather your team together to award the trophy to someone new and allow other team members to nominate their colleagues for the trophy.

put up a wall of fame

Commandeer an unused white board or length of butcher paper to create a "wall of fame," where employees can write compliments about their colleagues. Ask employees to keep their compliments short and to point out specific reasons that they'd like to honor the colleague. Once the wall of fame is full, take a photo or video of it, and then start again with a fresh board.

hand out coveted projects as rewards

No matter your line of business, there's probably one project that everyone is dying to work on. When it comes time to assign that coveted job, ask managers and employees who they think has really excelled lately. Then, give that person the job that everyone wants. In a group meeting, make it clear why you've chosen that individual for the job.

leave handwritten notes for stellar performers

Sometimes nothing makes a bigger impact than a handwritten note. If you notice someone going above and beyond, leave a personal note on that person's desk or door before they get to work in the morning. This is a quick and highly effective way for a manager to give praise to an employee who might be embarrassed to be recognized in a group meeting.