During tough times, it can be hard to offer bonuses and significant pay-rises to your staff. If you’re running a small business or start-up however, you do have the advantage of more flexibility and manoeuvrability in the way you provide rewards to your staff, certainly compared to larger companies that are likely to have rigid compensation policies in place.
Consider implementing some of the ideas below as low cost alternatives to bonuses/pay-rises and keep your staff happy and motivated:
- Offer flexibility. Providing flexible working times (and even the opportunity to work remotely from home) can be just as valuable as a pay rise to some employees. It falls under the general umbrella of a good work life balance, and offering flexible and remote working can act as a real motivator to keep your best staff content, and prevent them from jumping ship.
- Offer significant discounts. Where appropriate, offer your staff generous discounts on the products/services you’re selling. This might not apply to all businesses – if your company is a travel agent, offering discounts on flights and holidays can be a great job perk. If your company manufactures industrial skips, a discount probably wont act as a terribly powerful incentive. Discounts need not cost your company anything – you can simply offer the product/service at a price where you break even. Another perk that can be useful for staff is to provide interest free micro-loans – this is likely to be more suitable for cash rich companies rather than firms that have a notoriously tight working capital.
- Offer training and opportunities for advancement. By sending your staff on relevant training courses you’re providing them with a perk while increasing the expertise they can provide to your company. Opportunities for advancement are also equally important – no one wants to feel they’re stranded in a dead end job with no possibility of career advancement.
- Allow employees to be autonomous. This means letting your people do their own thing, and provide their own solutions to work issues and challenges. This makes them more satisfied that they are contributing to the business, and if your company is small it means you’re not bogged down micro managing every little problem that might crop up.
- Provide soft benefits. There are an array of small things that needn’t cost much (if anything) but that can perk up the mood of your workforce. Just some examples can include offering food/drinks when your staff stays in late, allowing music where appropriate and letting workers dress casually. Small pleasantries and courtesies can have a very positive effect on staff morale.
- Be appreciative. There have been several studies that have eluded to the positive morale that simple words of praise and appreciation can have on staff moral. Beyond praise, ask your workers for input and ideas so that they feel valued. Be sure to implement ideas that could genuinely improve the business.
- Improve morale through occasional team building events. Whether it’s a day out paint-balling, or a paid for/subsidized night out, employees that spend a little quality time together are more likely to be happier and more effective at working together. It all ends up creating a more serene and cohesive working environment.