Sometimes you are not in a position to give your employees more in terms of tangible rewards. Increases in pay or benefits, for example, may not be possible. But there is no limit to the intangible rewards you can give them. These "psychological paychecks" require little effort and cost the company nothing. They represent an excellent way for you to compensate your people during times of transition and change.
Don’t underestimate the value employees place on simple things such as a word of encouragement or a compliment from you. Give them a listening ear and show empathy. Ask their opinions about things. Call them by name, ask about their family, say thank you when they have the right attitude and effort. Write a short note to the employee expressing appreciation for quality work, initiative, etc. When you hold staff meetings, single out individuals and give them a word of praise or commendation for good job performance.
If you take the time to be nicer, you will energize, and encourage your staff. This has many far reaching benefits, particularly during periods of organizational change. There is a real payoff for you, the employee, and your company.