If you think Employee Appreciation Day is nice, imagine having that sense of camaraderie in your office every day.

And what if I told you it wouldn’t cost a catered lunch or a stack of gift cards on a daily basis? What if instead it cost you nothing but a little time and effort?

Creating a daily culture of appreciation in the workplace can certainly take time, but the benefits in the long run make every “thank you” and “good job” well worth it.

Here’s three ways to kick-start a positive culture shift towards appreciation and recognition.

1. Send Praise Upward

We often think praising our direct reports is the best way to show appreciation for their work. That’s certainly true, but it’s also important to sing praises up the ladder so it comes back around to that employee from someone even more important than you.

A Gallup study revealed the most memorable recognition comes most often from an employee’s manager (28%), followed by a high-level leader or CEO (24%), the manager’s manager (12%), a customer (10%), and peers (9%).

2. Provide Frequent Feedback (But Don’t Blow Smoke)

We all have those employees that do quality work so consistently we tend to accept it as the norm and fail to recognize it properly until annual performance reviews roll around.

A better tactic would be to sit with that employee, and every other direct report for that matter, on a quarterly, monthly or even weekly basis, to review recent work and recognize the role they play within your operation. This way, instead of recognizing a year’s worth of work once, you build a consistent theme of timely recognition.

But make sure to be honest with direct reports when work is sub-par. Those words can be tough to hear, but they also make genuine praise more meaningful.

3. Get Creative

When a team member goes above and beyond the call of duty, ditch the same tired memo or employee of the month award and make your recognition unique to the employee and situation.

How much can you really appreciate their work if all you did was copy and paste their name into a stock email or certificate?  Instead, plan a team outing to the employee’s favorite happy hour or lunch spot and pick up their tab.

If that’s not an option, consider a hand-written note of appreciation in addition to the routine recognition. A personal touch like that shows their time is worth yours.

Every employee loves a pay raise, cash bonus, or some extra time off. But those things cost money that might not always be available.  And though those rewards are often deserved (and budgeted in), a token of gratitude shouldn’t come just once every year.

Studies prove employees that feel appreciated are more engaged and likely to stick around. Not only is that good for business, it’s far less stressful, more profitable, and a ton of fun.  So, make every day employee appreciation day.