Low Cost Ways To Reward Employees

Robin Schwartz

Low Cost Ways To Reward Employees

The employment market is competitive and not just for those looking for work. Employers often struggle with losing trained employees to competitors. Why? Because they offer better money or benefits. Sometimes, these employees aren’t even looking for new employment.

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 tight budget, how can you compete with corporations offering better incentives to your employees?

Offer Flexible Work Options

As technology has improved, so has an employee’s way of connecting to their work while not in the office. More companies are offering flexible work options. This may include altered schedules or telecommuting.

Telecommuting can be a permanent or occasional arrangement. That depends when it suits the employer and employee. For employees who telecommute, the company stands to save money on certain expenses. That includes office space, computers, utilities and general office supplies. These are the costs that support an employee.

Companies that offer part-time telecommute options may not see their overhead decrease much. They likely will see the satisfaction of employees increase.

The real reward when it comes to flexible work options is to the employee. A company might not be able to offer an monetary incentive stay onboard. Instead, offering permanent or occasional telecommute options may be invaluable to an employee.

Let’s say there’s a worker trying to maintain a healthy balance between the office and family. They might decline a $5,000/year offer with another company to be able to work from home two days a week. Why? To save on childcare and spend time with their children.

Offering flexible schedules and telecommuting options to employees is a great idea. It shows employees how trusted and valued they are.

Both work and life are stressful at times. Employees who feel they have control over work and life stress stand to be happier and more loyal employees.

Create a Teambuilding Committee

The rewards employees would like to see aren’t always the ones management decides on. Companies should stop having leadership decide 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. This helps them to carry out potential activities or rewards.

Teambuilding activities should also engage employees 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 could develop volunteer opportunities within the local community. Invite employees to volunteer for a local organization for a few hours during their standard work day. This shows a company is committed to improving the lives of people locally. The cost of allowing employees to take a few hours off of work is minimal compared to the return a company could see.

Be Vocal

Rewards don’t always come in a monetary value or as an activity. Companies can reward employees by creating ways to share accomplishments. Even if it’s 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. Also include information about recent employee successes. This can include promotions, new certifications, completed trainings or projects completed.

Work-related updates will allow employees to feel informed about other areas of their company. It highlights the hard work of employees. Non-work related items will allow employees to gain recognition. 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 left behind in elementary school. It’s surprising the effect an anonymous thank you or “kudos” can have on an employee.

Create an area where employees can anonymously thank other team members for their hard work. Take the opportunity to read these 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 an the employee of the month. It might be that the employee with the highest production line numbers is nominated. Maybe it is 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 salary. 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 has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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