Ways to Incentivise Your Staff Without Increasing Their Salary

People rarely leave jobs due to pay. While everyone deserves a fair wage, that is not possible in every industry. Let’s look at ways to incentivise your staff without increasing their salary.

If you are a new company, you are likely short on funds to start out with and therefore need to pay less in the beginning. You want to attract talent, but you know that to attract the right people, the pay must be competitive.

While that is true, sometimes, people will stay at a lower-paying job if they’re treated well. In this article, I will explore how you can grow your company with great people – without going broke.

Honest appreciation

Giving credit when one of your team does something to improve client relations goes a long way. People want to know that their efforts are being noticed. If you take the credit for achievements too often, your team will start to resent you.

Offering honest appreciation will also help your team feel better should you ever need to criticise them about anything. If you have an issue with someone but have also spent time letting them know you appreciate their efforts; they are generally more open to suggestions for change. Do not invent things to compliment people on and use this technique sparingly.

Be flexible

People enjoy flexibility. Offer the opportunity to work from home, leave early, arrive late when possible. It is better to trust people to get their work done on time without always telling them when/how to do it.

Simply saying, hey, why don’t you leave an hour early isn’t enough and you should let them know the reason they can leave early – they have been working hard and deserve it. If they think it’s random, they may not see it as appreciation.  Always try to work with your staff to create a better working environment.

Buy food

Buying lunch or bringing in a cake to show your appreciation is always welcomed. Pizza and chips are inexpensive but shows everyone know that you are paying attention. You do not have to make some grand gesture of steak and prime rib.

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Sure, steak dinners are excellent, and if you can afford it, go for it, but this isn’t necessary. If you are buying too many expensive things, they may start to wonder why you do not pay them better!

You can also offer snacks instead of whole meals. Keeping fizzy drinks, crisps, and biscuits in your breakroom is a good way to show appreciation. They can bring their own lunches but it’s nice to have a few snacks in the cupboard.

Celebrate personal things

Let your staff know that you are watching. Celebrate when Jamil buys a new house, or Kara gets a new car. Even if it is a simple note congratulating someone on their new purchase, it shows that you care for them and you’re happy for them when they succeed.

Monthly birthday parties or celebrations are great ways to let your staff know that you notice their achievements and even a small celebration each month for personal milestones such as work anniversaries can make a world of difference.

Talk to them

Find out what perks your team want to have. It can be stuff as simple as wanting a good parking space, having an extra afternoon off, or putting more seating in the breakroom.

Talking to people about what would make for a better working environment will make them more likely to stay with your company. Some things like raises may be impossible but you can often find out a lot by asking and generally these things won’t break the bank.

A fifteen-minute “happy hour” at the end of the week to air their grievances so they’re not bringing work home with them can be useful for their mental, physical, and emotional health. Make your staff a priority, and they will make your company one.

You could also schedule times for certain groups to meet to work on ongoing challenges. If you have several teams working on different projects, you might even let the leads have a weekly meeting to talk about things the individual teams are struggling to solve.

This worked well for us at HappyCleans. If your staff primarily work alone, they can also take the time to chat about difficult situations that another person may help to resolve.

Social change

Many younger workers want to know that they are working for a company who not only cares about them but also cares about others. Volunteering, donation programmes, and social involvement can improve relations in many companies. Recycling, global commitments, and efforts in the local community can enhance respect for your company.

Likewise, volunteering together can also build a sense of belonging and respect for one another. Some companies take one afternoon a quarter to volunteer. Look around your community for ways you can help in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, or medical facilities.

Contributing to equality and rights for groups experiencing marginalization can also help morale. You must be an employer who values all people. If some of your people are unfortunate enough to experience inequality, they will respect your company more if you’re vehemently against all discrimination.

Ways to Incentivise Your Staff Without Increasing Their Salary

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Create upward mobility

Even if new titles cannot always come with huge raises, offer new responsibilities and titles. People who feel stagnant in their careers quickly become unhappy. Providing a path for advancement will let them know that there are rewards for taking on new responsibilities.

They may want significant raises, but if you are honest about why the increase is small, they will have more respect for you and the company. Most people would rather work a job they love and feel they can move up in than work a high paying job that feels like torture.

Be careful, not to offer new responsibilities and no new pay. If you offer new responsibilities and new titles and never offer pay increases, they will feel like you are just working them harder, and they are not benefiting. When you add supervisory roles, help them delegate old responsibilities to other members of staff.

This way, if you cannot offer a raise, you are not asking them to do two jobs for the price of one.

Encourage bonding

Your team will often make friends with each other, but not everyone gets along. Encourage everyone to try to bond with one another and make friends when possible. When they cannot make friends, encourage civility and friendliness. If you need to, offer to be a mediator until they can work together civilly.

Take care of problems as they arise and do not let them fester. Some people may not be the right fit for the company, and it is up to you to determine who those people are and remove them quickly.

You can provide relationship and team building activities too. If you cannot afford to send the staff on a retreat or have a team-building expert come to your facility, there are many activities you may find online and in business journals and guides. Add some of these team building activities to help with team bonding.

Show your trust

Let your staff gain autonomy. Do not micromanage people who are capable of handling things themselves. In addition to making them feel confident in their decisions, you will also free up time for the things that only you can handle.

Have procedures in place ahead of time, and then let your employees know that you trust their judgment. One US retailer does not ask cashiers to consult a supervisor for price changes under $5 or 10% of the price for small ticket items. The company has decided that they would rather just let their staff use their best judgement in these situations.

Let your people have their say when changing prices and procedures. If you hire someone it should mean you trust them, and you need to let them know that.

In Summary

Do your best to offer more than just money. You may be able to increase your teams’ benefits with things such as health insurance or 401K options. These cost money as well but are often tax deductible. Let everyone help you to find the best solution for them and their families.

Be sure to treat them with respect if you want them to do the same with your company. Respect must be earned, not demanded.

Giving a little bit of respect will often get you respect in return. If you have had good experiences offering benefits without a large pay increase, let us know what they are!


About the Author

Finn Pegler is the owner of a residential house cleaning company in Oklahoma City. His interests include small business, travelling, and healthy living.

Team 6Q

Team 6Q