Benefits You Can Offer Employees to Keep Them Happy Without a Raise

It’s been a long few years, and you want to thank your employees for their hard work. The problem is that budgets are tight, and there isn’t the capital right now to give everyone a raise. 

Here are some benefits you can offer to make your employees happy, even if you can’t put more funds in their checks. 

  • Be honest and open with your team.

    Create a culture in which your employees are free to come to you at any time with their ideas and concerns. Listen to them, take notes, and then, most importantly, try to incorporate their ideas and suggestions or address their stresses. If something can’t be fixed right away, talk to them about it. If someone’s struggling with a coworker or feeling overwhelmed, talk it through and try to find a solution. Being open with your team builds and strengthens relationships; acting on what they tell you shows that you’re listening and that you care about what they have to say. 

  • Prioritize work-life balance for everyone.

    We’ve learned a lot about the importance of being there for each other and our families in the past few years. Now’s the time to make it clear that this is a top priority for you and for the company. Be understanding if someone has to call out sick because they don’t have childcare or if they need to have a little flexibility because of parental responsibilities or other family issues. (Don’t just limit it to people with kids; that will foster frustration among your childless employees.) 

  • Be flexible when and where you can.

    Building on that idea, sometimes people need a little wiggle room in their schedules. If possible, make changes to allow people to work remotely if they need to; if it’s not possible to allow that to be a permanent possibility. Or allow for a flexible schedule on occasion, with people coming in a little earlier or leaving a little later, or maybe working four 10-hour days in order to accommodate something in their home lives. Show your team that their priorities at home are important to you and that you respect them. 

  • Keep them in the loop.

    Employees can easily become frustrated or withdrawn if they feel their work isn’t directly contributing to everything. If they feel out of touch with the bigger picture, it’s hard to see why their work matters. To address this, occasionally bring everyone together and explain what’s going on from the top down, and detail how each team’s work is contributing. This will help foster a better sense of buy-in among employees, who will understand better why and how their work matters overall. 

  • Help them learn new skills.

    Some employees, especially younger ones, might become concerned over time that their abilities are being wasted or that their skills are getting rusty. Find ways to help them learn new skills or build on what they’re already doing. This is an investment in your employee as much as your company, as re-energized workers are more likely to be re-engaged in their jobs and eager to try their new skills instead of looking for the exit in order to be trained on something new somewhere else. 

  • Offer rewards from time to time.

    This can be little things — everyone gets gift cards for a favorite coffee place, or maybe a pastry cart for breakfast one day — or something slightly larger — movie passes, gas cards, gift cards for restaurants — as a little thank you for a job well done. If you’ve got a big project in the works or a larger order that’s bigger than expected and with a shorter timeline to deliver, reward your employees for a job well done with a little gift to show your appreciation. It’s a nice surprise! 

  • Add up some vacation time.

    Whether you want to offer people an extra day off or an extra few hours before a holiday weekend, giving people back their own time is a fantastic benefit. If you have a team that’s gone above and beyond in a stressful situation, reward them with a three-day weekend for no reason other than gratitude. Offer a few extra hours here and there just because. Allow people the option of earning vacation time instead of overtime if they so choose; just make sure that extra time off is addressed equitably. 

  • Encourage conversation and reward creativity.

    People like to brainstorm and share ideas. The old-fashioned suggestion box is a one-way street: Instead, offer the time and space for employees to bring their ideas to the group and discuss why they think certain changes should be made for the better. If someone can offer an idea that is implemented and creates efficiency, saving time or money, recognize their contribution! 

  • Celebrate the victories together.

    Every working environment is different, but all workers feel the pressure when big things are dropped into their laps on short notice or when a deadline is approaching on a big project. When those targets are reached, it’s time to take a moment to recognize their hard work and enjoy the sense of accomplishment. They deserve the recognition — and the break! 

  • Encourage breaks.

    It’s so easy for a team that feels the pressure of achievement and getting a certain amount of work done in a day to talk themselves out of taking a lunch and/or foregoing breaks altogether. It’s so easy to feel like a 10-minute break will make them fall further behind. Abolish that line of thinking: People need breaks! They need to take a moment off their feet to rest, to clear their heads, to get some water or maybe a snack. You don’t have to mandate when people take breaks or lunches, but make it very clear that stopping work for a little while to rest is very important and will not be penalized. 

  • Lead by example with positivity and support.

    It seems like it should be unnecessary to say, but remember that your employees are people with feelings. Treat all of them with respect, dignity, and trust, and let them know that they are encouraged to try new ways of solving problems. Maybe things won’t work out, but maybe they will! Employees who feel respected and trusted are happier, more confident, and more likely to feel a sense of loyalty to an employer who doesn’t diminish or insult their efforts. 

  • Say thank you.

    This is, in truth, the most important thing. If your employees don’t feel appreciated, if they feel their contributions and efforts are overlooked and ignored, they will not stay employed in your company for long. Show gratitude. Show appreciation. Say thank you in word and deed, privately and publicly. A little recognition goes a long way! 

As much as you might want to give everyone big raises all the time, there are so many other ways to make your employees happy and keep them under your roof. 

If you’re looking to add to your team, call Debbie’s Staffing. We have highly qualified candidates ready to get to work quickly, on a permanent or temporary basis, and we’d be happy to introduce you. Call Debbie’s Staffing today, and let’s get to work!