May 17, 2022
How to reward employees without a pay rise
There is little doubt wage rises are coming in 2022. With inflation surging and the cost of living taking centre stage this federal election, there’s now little doubt your employees will be seeking a pay rise in 2022. However, a lot of business owners feel ill-equipped to deal with higher incomes, with some telling me they’re already losing staff to competitors willing to offer more.
That’s why I thought it was time to look at non-financial benefits, or what you can do when you can’t afford a pay rise.
Reduced hours/increased time off
If you can’t afford to pay someone more, what about asking them to work less? The opportunity to take more holidays, leave work earlier or have a Flexi day each fortnight holds real appeal for many employees. That means it could be a good way to keep them on board without needing to offer more money.
If you’re worried about the impact this might have on your business’s productivity, you don’t necessarily have to be. A comprehensive Icelandic study found that there was no reduction in an organisation’s level of service when its employees went from working five days a week to four days a week. In fact, many indicators of service provision and productivity actually rose. At the same time, employees’ happiness and well-being improved dramatically.
If you’re going to go down this path though, it helps to make sure that your employees actually want to work less. For some workers, cutting hours may feel like a demotion or backwards step in their career rather than a benefit.
Other flexible working options
It’s not just time off that many employees want, it’s also the opportunity to work autonomously. During the COVID lockdowns, many of us got very used to working our own way. We often also had the opportunity to fit in more time with our families, on hobbies and just generally looking after ourselves. Now, as things return to normal, it can be a difficult thing to go back to the feeling that we always need to be in the office.
By continuing to offer some degree of flexible working even after COVID, your workplace could continue to appeal to employees even without a pay rise – especially if competitors aren’t doing the same.
One of the main things employees want out of their work is the recognition for a job well done or at least the feeling that they’re not being taken for granted. Too many employers forget this and expect their employees to keep working their best and remaining loyal, without ever letting them know how much they mean.
Don’t fall into this boat. Make sure you tell your staff how much you value them even if you can’t afford to pay more. Throw after work drinks or regular dinners to celebrate their achievements and acknowledge how they contribute.
While some employees are tempted to move by a short-term windfall, many look to the longer term. If you can offer a genuine and fulfilling career path, they’ll have much more incentive to stay with you. This could be a good time to sit down with the staff you want to keep to find out exactly what they want from their careers and how you can help facilitate it. By following through, you’ll be giving them more reason to stay than just pay.
Know where you stand
Finally, before you say no to a pay rise, you need to do your homework and find out exactly where you stand. If your employees are covered by Awards or Agreements and these provide for a pay increase, you may have no option but to pay more.
You should also review your bottom line, to work out how much is coming in and what’s going out. If you find that you need to increase pay, it may be time to increase your prices…
If you’d like to know more about how to get non-financial benefits work for your business, get in touch.