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8 Cool Ways You Can Compensate Staff (Without a Raise)
When your employees do an amazing job, as a business owner, you need to reward them for their hard work. Teams that feel appreciated for their efforts are motivated to work harder and will be more likely to stay at a company and work their way up. But what if you’re operating in a bootstrapped startup, and can’t afford to hand out more money right now? Money isn’t all that motivates people at work anyway — you have to dig deeper than that and be more creative with your rewards.
Aside from rewarding your top people with raises and promotions, there are many other inventive ways that you can compensate your staff.  Here are eight tips for incentivizing your hardworking employees — without changing their pay packet.

8 Cool Ways You Can Compensate Staff (Without a Raise)

1. Flexi-Time & Remote Working

Striking an adequate work/life balance will go a long way toward keeping your workers happy and productive. With flexi-time hours and an open permission to telecommute, employees will have the freedom to meet their other obligations in life.
For employees with young families in particular, having the option to work from home will make their lives way less stressful to manage. Also, it has been found that allowing employees to work when they feel most productive can reduce staff turnover rates by around 10%.
Make sure you lay down realistic flexible work ground rules to help manage staff expectations. Frequent communication and project management tools will help keep staff on track even when they are not physically in the office.

2. Leave Early On Fridays

Reduced working hours on Fridays should be considered as a company-wide policy to reward your staff for their hard work. Again, this reward promotes a good work/life balance, giving workers the opportunity to run errands in their few hours off on a weekday afternoon. You might not want to to do this every week, but going home early on Friday can really boost morale.
Despite the nature of our 24/7 economy, many places, such as dentists and medical centers, are still not open on weekends. This means that people have to take time off work to meet their basic health and lifestyle needs. This can cause stress for workers trying to juggle everything in their schedules, and a few extra hours on a Friday can make all the difference for workers who are traveling to see friends and family.
For employers looking for workable options for early-finish Fridays, you could reduce the time for lunch breaks on other weekdays or have employees come in 15 minutes earlier each morning.

3. Free Food

Tasty treats can perk up an entire office on a dreary day. Whether you bring in homemade cakes or you take your entire team out for lunch, nothing brings people together quite like sharing some delicious food.
On a day-to-day basis, providing your employees with healthy snacks can encourage them to lead healthier lifestyles. Have a chat with your staff and see what office treats and snacks are missing from their life!

4. Corporate Days Out

Don’t worry — you don’t have to fork-out for a weekend retreat in an isolated cabin in the woods, complete with bizarre “trust exercises.”
A corporate day out can be any fun activity you can think of that will get your employees chatting and bonding with each other. A planned trip to a bowling alley or a boat ride can be enough to motivate your hard-working employees and give them a chance to get to know you as a person, away from your role as a company boss. It’s also a brilliant way to forge bonds between employee and make a new member of staff feel welcome.
There are so many cool and quirky spaces and events out there — try to think outside the box and find an activity that’s unique, but not expensive. (One of my favorite corporate days out? We visited a local broadcaster and got to play newsreaders and radio presenters!).
[RELATED: 4 Ways to Improve Employee Productivity]

5. Training Courses

Offering your employees free training can help them boost their CVs and give them a sense of achievement when they meet their learning goals. There are many reputable free online courses that businesses can sign up for; and paid versions usually have a reasonable ‘starter package’ for smaller businesses.
If you choose your options carefully, you can allow your newly trained employees to contribute to other areas of your business — opening up new possibilities and opportunities for business growth.

6. Office Re-Fit

If you’re looking to boost morale and productivity, redesigning your office space can do wonders for uplifting the general atmosphere at a place of work.
Bright colors, new office chairs, desks, and storage can help employees feel more comfortable and, as a result, be more productive at work. In a startup, it’s a good idea to involve employees in office design decisions, and redoing your office could even be a fun team project to take on!

7. Joint Venture

As a business owner, you encounter all of the risks in setting up and running your own business, as well as the sense of pride in starting something from scratch. You can also give your most talented employees the chance to share this feeling by helping them set up a business using the joint venture model. For example, you could buy an online store and give them the option to jointly run it with you (Shopify is awesome for this), or help them get set up with their own blog or review website. With a reward like this, your employees will learn super valuable transferable skills, such as bookkeeping and marketing, and they will also feel more connected to the business as result. (We do joint ventures at our agency and it’s a great way to keep staff motivated).

8. A Simple “Thank You”

Nothing rewards employees like a few well-placed words of praise from a company boss. People like to be praised in different ways — some people will want public acknowledgments while others will prefer a quiet word one-to-one. It’s important that you get to know your staff well, and that you don’t just assume that their needs and desires will be the same as yours.
Be open and transparent with staff, but don’t pile the stresses of managing a business on their heads either. Make sure that you do compliments and thank yous when you have a clear head, and be specific with your praise.
Nowadays employees expect so much more from a place of work than just somewhere they go every day to earn money. You need to focus on creating a well-knit team and balanced company culture that takes into account the stresses and strains of modern life. If you don’t treat your team well, they won’t hang around. What’s the best way to keep you motivated?

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