When times are tough and finances tight, awarding a handsome pay rise is simply out of the question; to do so would rocket the company from the black in to the red.

But, there is also something else that happens when times are financially lean – current staff can also take on more roles and responsibilities, effectively doubling their work load. This too can have a negative impact on employee morale.

When times are tough, to maintain stability and staff, it is important that employers acknowledge this and although a pay rise may not be possible, there are many other things that an employer can do in order to make their work force feel valued.

Rewarding employees without pay rise

Rewards do not always have to be financial in terms of money in pay packets; inviting in other companies to provide service – such as Onsiteplus corporate massage services – or creating change to the workplace is all part of a reward package that can empower staff, as well as making them feel valued and appreciated.

What can you do to reward employees?

1. ‘shaking it up!’ OR side projects

This will work with some employees but then others can view it with suspicion; some will enjoy it and some will not thus, you will need to tread carefully.

But, following the old adage that ‘change is as good as a rest’, why not see if some staff members would like to work on something different, for a change? For example, the website has been needing some updating of late or maybe you would like some blogs etc. Think of valuable and needed ‘side projects’ and take people out of their comfort zone for a while.

2. Job swaps

Again, this can be a big hit with some employees and a chance for some people to try something different. This is also a great way of acquiring and spreading skills across the workforce, as well as understanding of how other departments operate etc.

Larger companies run this scheme the whole time, and can present a great opportunity for travel. Some companies help employees out with travel costs, but there are rules that must be borne n mind; no shifts, for example, must be left vacant so that the company processes don’t miss a beat.

3. Training and development

Being valued in the workplace is not just about the salary grade but about skills, ability and knowledge too. It is now common place that companies are expected to invest in employees.

Information technology, the Internet, social media and the like are all relative new technologies and, just as we get familiar with a certain aspect of it, they change again. In smaller businesses, it can be difficult to reward employees financially, on a par with larger businesses, but if opportunities for training and development are placed firmly in reach, then as a business, you are more likely to keep staff – and not have them poached by another company!

Employee training and development

4. Happy Hour!

We all need a change. We all need some down time. But, too many businesses and employers associate this with clubbing, meals and generally raucous nights out. Whilst there is nothing wrong with these, as such, not all employees relish the thought of dancing the light fantastic, all in the name of unwinding.

There is an increasing range of companies who offer great activities for staff and, better still, they don’t involve a day away from the desk and not a paint ball gun in sight. Chair massage is increasingly popular and no surprise when you consider the fabulous effects a 20 minutes back, should and neck massage can have.

5. Perks

Great in smaller companies and business, try this as a relatively inexpensive way of spreading happiness and thanking employees for their skills and abilities, as well as unwavering focus on the task in hand.

Create a staff survey that asks them about their favourite sweet/snack/dinner or their hobbies and other light-hearted, useful and not too personal information. You can make this a paper exercise or you can use free online survey creators, emailing it around to employees to complete.

This way, employees can choose what they share with you and you have the ammunition for future unexpected but welcome staff perks. For example, if someone enjoys visiting the gym, why not pay their membership for a month? Or maybe buy ‘Phil in accounts’ a round of golf at the local club, or maybe ‘Margaret on reception’ would appreciate cinema tickets to see the latest release… the ideas are endless but when they are linked to people, they are even more pleasant surprises.

Whilst everyone loves a pay rise, we all know that this is not always possible but this doesn’t mean that you cannot appreciate, saying ‘thank you’ to employees, in other ways… what would you do?