In a competitive marketplace you can’t always give staff cash bonuses or pay rises. Rewarding employees with other forms of incentives can help you to overcome this and also lead to a more productive workplace where people want to work.
1. Recognising achievements
Whilst money can be a great way to reward staff for their contribution at work, sometimes, simple verbal recognition can act as its own reward. Taking the time to personally acknowledge employees who achieve success or go the extra mile for your business can help spread positivity and improve morale.
Initiatives such as ‘employee of the month’ can also help staff develop a sense of pride in their work and encourage healthy competition among colleagues.
If you do chose to reward staff in this way consider how you will manage and assess good work. Line managers will often play a key role here in monitoring performance and taking note of any compliments staff have received.
Also consider how you will show your recognition, whilst physical certificates remain popular, saying thank you to staff for their contributions through social media channels could be another solution.
2. Workplace perks
In today’s workplace, perks such as free food or dress down days are often heralded by employees and can be useful in rewarding them for a job well done. Many employers choose to offer these as performance incentives and to encourage increased productivity at work, as the opportunity to dress casually and enjoy a free lunch have proven powerful motivators.
As with any reward, allowing staff to participate is likely to improve morale and create a positive working environment, whilst also costing significantly less than a proposed pay rise.
Having said this, you should still make sure you have specific rules in place on casual dress to prevent staff from wearing inappropriate clothing and retain a professional appearance.
Also, any food provided as a reward should be inclusive and you will need to ensure different dietary requirements are accommodated to avoid potential claims of discrimination.
3. Extra holiday
Although it may come at a greater cost to your business than providing a free pizza every now and again, giving staff an extra days’ annual leave, or the opportunity to finish early at the end of the week, can also be a great way of rewarding them.
Additional annual leave is typically reserved to reward staff for long service and this may be something you wish to introduce for those who have remained loyal over the years. Meanwhile, the prospect of finishing work sooner on Fridays and starting the weekend earlier can encourage greater productivity throughout the working week.
Also, remember that time away from work is generally considered to help reduce work-related stress and other instances of mental ill health. Therefore, rewarding staff in this way could pay dividends for your business in the long run by reducing absenteeism.
4. Team get-togethers and celebrations
In most organisations, team activities and parties are usually reserved for celebrating the Christmas period. However, making these a more regular occurrence can be another valuable way of rewarding staff without needing to give them a pay rise.
Arranging relaxed events such summer BBQs or ‘away days’ are likely to be well received, especially if they give staff a break from the usual working routine. They may also allow individuals to get to know each other better outside of the workplace and help develop a sense of camaraderie.
Despite this, organising certain events may still come at a considerable cost and staff could feel aggrieved at the idea of you spending money on these in favour of providing them with a pay rise. This means you should think carefully before planning any event and be prepared to justify this with a legitimate business reason if you face accusations from your workforce.
5. Training for industry qualifications
Last, but not least, you may choose to reward particularly promising individuals by offering to foot the bill for training and industry-recognised qualifications. These measures will reinforce your commitment to developing hard working employees and improve their job prospects in the future.
Although this will result in an initial financial outlay, it is likely to be less expensive overall than a company-wide pay rise and will help your business obtain skilled workers in the face of the ongoing skills shortage.
If you do chose to proceed in this way, it is advisable to arrange for staff to sign a training agreement, with a sliding repayment scale, that will allow you to recoup some of the costs if they depart your business shortly after the training is complete.
In summary, there are many alternative ways to reward your staff without issuing them with a pay rise. Whilst each of the examples given above come with their own pros and cons, whichever method you choose is likely to have a positive impact on employee morale, retention rates and the overall productivity of your business.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Peter Done, Managing Director of Peninsula Business Services – the UK’s leading specialist Employment Law, HR and Health & Safety service. Peter has written a series of employment guides for ByteStart, which include;
- 7 Common HR Mistakes Small Businesses Need to Avoid Making
- How to Handle Disciplinary Issues in the Workplace
- Interviewing Job Candidates – How to Get it Right
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