How To Boost Morale Quickly?

We only have 5 minutes till the next employee starts looking for a new place to work. Dagnabbit!

Yeah, that is how I feel too. What are we going to do about it as leaders? You can get your butt kicked or we can fight back?!

Lace up the gloves and let’s punch this “great resignation” in the mouth!



  1. $100 handshake vs. $100 Christmas Gift

  2. Break Bread & Celebrate

  3. Birthday PTO

  4. Happy Hour

  5. Yearly Awards & Anniversary Celebrations


$100 Handshake or Gift Card

Everyone can say thank you, but actions speak louder than words. Wait! Actions that matter to the other person is key. What is the difference? If someone gave me a gift card to Red Lobster that is a waste and it would make me feel worse because that person doesn’t know what I like. Give someone a gift that will matter to them and if you aren’t sure then give them cash. Have you ever heard of the $100 handshake? It is when the boss comes up to the employee to tell them “Great job! Way to really hit the mark on that goal.” The boss reaches out their hand to congratulate the employee with a handshake. Unknown to the employee, the boss has a folded $100 bill in their hand which gets put in the employee's hand as they shake hands. BOOM!


A few other ideas, we have done monthly awards where the top voted employees get a $100 gift card. We also have given out $100 every Christmas Party for over 20 years. This money can be used by the employee on themselves, their family/friends, or give it away. Employees have shared some awesome stories on how that $100 made a big difference for them and others.


Break Bread & Celebrate Together

Order some food for breakfast and lunch for the whole company. People love free food! There is one very important rule here….NO BUSINESS TALK! Just keep it to focusing on your people’s hobbies, family, interests, etc. This is a time to bring everyone together and just enjoy the people of your organization. We have ordered food in, brought in a food truck, grilled hotdogs/burgers/brats ourselves, made pancakes, had hot salsa contests (sign a waiver 😊), etc. This is time to just relax with food and fun. It’s an investment of money and time but worth every bit.


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Birthday PTO

We created a special day to recognize employee’s birthdays by giving them a free day of PTO. Why? They are special people, and we should honor the day they were born. They can use the PTO on that specific birthday or save it for another day. It’s a bonus day for them to TREAT YO SELF! (Parks And Rec reference)


Gretchen Rubin



Happy Hour

Giving your employees an hour at the end of the day to relax with a cold one, soda or water has been awesome. We have employees bring their own chairs and we sit in the parking lot with the sunshine and music playing. People want to be outside when it’s beautiful. It feeds the soul! What is even better than that? Getting paid for sitting outside while drinking a cold one. It’s a great way to show you care about the person not just the job they do. It brings the people together to talk about life.


Yearly Awards & Anniversary Celebrations

Giving out awards for hitting yearly goals should be fun. I have given out nice awards with their name, achieved numbers, and the year they did it. That was great but it wasn’t till Steve Scherer, VP of Sales, came in and said “I can ditch the traditional awards? I want to make them more fun and personal.” I said, “Go for it!” Steve came up with amazing prizes. The best to date gift was a personal cameo from the Hall of Famer Brett Favre to the employee.” Holy Schnikes! This brought smiles and tears of joy! 



Other ideas can be the following: favorite team’s tickets, electric sign for their favorite beer, fishing pole, hunting gear, kayak, paid vacations, etc. I know someone that is going to give away a car!

Anniversary celebration and milestones is another great way to show love to your employees. We have given out cash for 5yr, 10yr, 15yr, 20yr and 25yr. We are reevaluating that right now as many employees might not make it to those major milestones. I have an employee that is two years away from hitting 30yrs with us. I asked her what she would like, and she suggested a large payout somewhere between $3k-$5k. It got me thinking what I need to do to really encourage those who stay for a shorter period to want to because of the anniversary celebration.

More ideas that we have done…

  1. Shoutout board – TEAMS or Bulletin Board

  2. Manager Dinner with spouses

  3. Family Fun Events

  4. Department Fun Events

  5. Entire Company "BIG EVENT" Outing

Everything listed above should be done with creativity and love. Don’t give away gifts because you feel like you must, but because you want to. Make the employee feel valued and loved!


Need more? 

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  • Jason Buchmann

    Jason Buchmann

    Again you guys are amazing!!!! Fyi. I will be stealing some of this stuff. Not sure how competitive CCB employees are, but my guys thrive on competition. We have done t-shirts for those with record numbers or hitting mile stones. In the end I feel the biggest difference is just that fact you take the time to recognize the work people put in, as well as include them as part of the overall team.


    Thank you Jason for giving IOL so much support! We love your ideas too. Keep sharing IOL with others you think would love to be part of this community!