Low Cost Ways To Reward Employees

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

The employment market is competitive and not just for those looking for work. Employers often struggle with losing trained employees to competitors who can offer better money or benefits. Sometimes, these employees aren't actively looking for new employment. As experienced and trained individuals become harder to find, recruiters are taking to social media sites like LinkedIn® to passively recruit employees. If you're a smaller business with a tighter budget, how can you compete with corporations dangling better incentives to your employees?

Offer Flexible Work Options

As technology has improved, so has an employee's way of remaining connected to their work while not in the office. More and more companies are offering flexible work options which may include altered schedules or telecommuting.

Telecommuting can be viewed as a permanent arrangement or as an occasional arrangement utilized when it suits the employer and employee. For those who permanently telecommute, the company stands to save money on space, computers, and general office supplies which typically support an employee. Companies that are willing to offer occasional or part-time telecommute options to their employees may not see their overhead decrease much, but they will likely see the satisfaction of employees increase.

The real reward when it comes to flexible work options is to the employee. When a company might not be able to offer an additional monetary incentive stay onboard, offering permanent or occasional telecommute options may be invaluable. A worker trying to maintain a healthy balance between the office and family might consider declining an additional $5,000/year offer with another company in order to be able to work from home two days a week and save on childcare.

Offering flexible schedules and telecommuting options to employees also shows them how trusted and valued they are. Both work and life are stressful at times and employees who feel they have control over juggling those stresses stand to be happier and more loyal employees.

Create a Teambuilding Committee

The rewards employees would often like to see aren't always the ones management decides on. Companies should refrain from having leadership decide at all times what's best for employee engagement.

Consider creating a committee of staff members to discuss potential teambuilding activities. Provide the committee a small budget per fiscal year in order for them to carry out potential activities or rewards. Teambuilding activities should reward the employees as much as they engage them to interact with their co-workers. The committee may plan an annual employee picnic or regular social events outside of the office. Events don't always have to be monetarily supported by the company. Just by organizing a happy hour or bowling night outside the office is half of the reward.

A teambuilding committee may also be tasked with developing volunteer opportunities within the local community. Inviting employees to volunteer for a local organization for a few hours during their standard work day shows a company is committed to improving the lives of people locally and within their organization. The cost of allowing employees to take a few hours off of work is minimal compared to the return a company could see with engaged employees.

Be Vocal

Rewards don't always come in a monetary value or as an activity. Companies can reward employees by creating ways to vocalize accomplishments both inside and outside the workplace.

Develop an Employee Newsletter – Recruit a team of employees to organize a monthly or quarterly newsletter. Include updates about areas within the company as well as information about recent employee successes (i.e. promotions, new certifications, completed trainings or projects completed). While work-related updates will allow employees to feel informed about other areas of their company and highlight the hard work of employees, non-work related items will also allow employees to gain recognition for a myriad of things. Ask for updates on marriages, births, vacations or volunteer activities if employees are willing to provide them.

Create a "Kudos" Board – It might be that we thought giving each other "warm fuzzies" was something we left behind in elementary school. However, it's surprising the effect an anonymous thank you or "kudos" can have on an employee. Create an area in a public setting where employees can anonymously thank other team members or recognize them for their work. Take the opportunity to read these aloud at a staff meeting so everyone can acknowledge the employees.

Develop an "Employee of the Month" Program – Request volunteers to form a small committee to set out parameters for acknowledging one or more people as the employee of the month. It might be that the employee with the highest production line numbers is nominated or someone with the highest attendance record. Award a small monetary prize like a gift card or talk to HR about awarding an extra vacation/personal day. The monetary awards don't have to be large. By providing a small token of appreciation and formal recognition, employees will feel rewarded.

Companies need to acknowledge that retaining top employees isn't all about the salary numbers. Creating an organization that rewards and recognizes employees will increase employee engagement and loyalty. People want to work for a healthy wage and a healthy company. Don't hesitate to be creative in how your organization rewards employees!

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees.

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