Even as Employee Appreciation Day nears (it’s being celebrated on Friday, March 2) it may not be on the forefront of your mind or your budget. However, the O.C. Tanner Institute found that recognizing employees was the most important thing a manager or company could do to help get your employees to produce great work. Even better - you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to appreciate your employees. Here are five ways to appreciate your employees (or coworkers) on a budget: 1. Give them a handwritten note, or card. Let them know how much you appreciate them by mailing them a card, or even just scribbling a quick note. But make sure it’s handwritten! Handwritten notes tend to be more emotionally charged, and may have more of an overall impact. There’s a great Ted Talk on the subject if you need more convincing. 2. Thank them in a meeting or huddle. If an employee or coworker has done an exceptionally great job, let them know! But consider their personality type - some folks don’t like being recognized in a large group, and in these instances an office-wide email may work better. 3. Don’t be afraid to be a little silly. Send a funny meme, or joke, but be sure it’s work-appropriate. Letting your employees or coworkers see your silly side will make you seem more approachable, and they may trust you more. 4. Implement a new employee program. It could be an employee of the month program, end-of-year awards, or a new employee bonus program. The reward could be time off, the chance to pick their own schedule for a week, or a gift card for lunch. Even if the benefit or award isn’t money, your employees will feel appreciated. 5. Don’t do these things just on Employee Appreciation Day. Employee Appreciation Day is on Friday March 2, but don’t limit yourself to just this day. You should recognize your coworkers and employees year-round. Whatever you decide to do on Employee Appreciation Day remember this: Be genuine. Your employees will know when you’re faking it, and your gratitude will go out the window. Even if it’s just a simple thank you, be sure you mean it.