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Show Me the Money or (Not)!!! Creative Ways To Reward Your Employees on a Budget....

Increasingly, candidates are looking for not only a well-paying position, but one that offers work and life balance. Compensation is the complete picture of pay plus benefits plus work environment and it is what your company has to offer when recruiting and retaining top talent.

Determining a salary range demands walking a very fine line between enough to generate interest and ultimately retain talent while still staying within budget guidelines. One of the best ways to ensure you offering an appropriate salary is to check multiple sources to establish a salary range for the type of work and your geographic location.

Reliable sources for pay information start with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It collects data on employer surveys and compiles the results for review and can be searched by region. Other sources that use employer surveys include and searches job listings and compiles data that way, while and poll individual companies and gather data from them in exchange for access to their database.

But pay is not the only thing that candidates are looking for these days. Many are willing to trade less salary for the rest of the benefit package, if it’s good enough.

Non-monetary compensation can make up 20% to 60% of the total employee benefit package. This includes health benefits and retirement packages. Employers offering excellent coverage and rich retirement plans are hard to come by. As an employer, it is one of the best investments you can make in your workforce. It shows you are committed to a long-term relationship and that you care about each and every one as an individual. This means a lot to a person in your organization. On the fiscal side of the house, the business saves money in the long run as you will experience less turnover and initial new hire orientation and training costs.

Offering employee training opportunities or education benefits, such as tuition reimbursement, also go a long way in enticing talent to join your organization. That includes providing well-trained managers with a reputation for developing and mentoring those they work with to maximize individual potential. Such on-the-job development leads to a greater chance of promotion, which is very appealing to someone with their eye on the prize and willing to work for it. Employees will stay with an organization or take less money to work for the right people at the right place.

Finally, offering a work environment that enables employees to maintain a work and life balance is an intangible but incredibly value-added strategy. Parents don’t want to have to worry about losing their job because of doctor appointments for their kids or child care issues. If a family member needs help, someone is refinancing their home, or they would like to a take a day or two to volunteer at a community event, having an employer who understands and not only allows, but supports such activities, is a blessing that builds loyalty.

Types of Traditional Ways to Compensate Employees:

  • Flexible working schedules (Telecommute, 4-Day Work Week, Split Work Schedules, Assignment Sharing)
  • Elder care programs
  • Extensive and Beneficial Retirement programs
  • Competitive Relocation Packages/Moving expenses
  • Competitive Health Insurance (health, dental, eye)
  • Competitive Paid leave (vacation/sick/holiday/personal days)
  • Non-Traditional Perks (Ex. Tickets to Events (Ball games, Concerts)
  • company parties
  • Reimbursement Programs (Ex. cell phones, mileage, internet)
  • Child care Reimbursement (on site a plus)
  • Fitness Memberships

According to the article, “51 Ways To Reward Employees Without Money” ...

Creative ways reward your Employees on a Budget:

  • Allowing employee to dump the one project they like least to you
  • The front parking spot and/ or a reserved parking spot
  • Inviting their spouse in for a lunch on the company
  • Extra vacation day(s) or create a “day pass”, were they a can take any day off
  • Send a birthday and holiday cards to them at their home address
  • Pay for them to take a fun class, such as cooking or skydiving (love this one)
  • Pay for their childcare fees for a month or expenses for summer camp (nice)
  • Help them with gas prices by giving them a gas card
  • Allow them to be flexible with their hours (job sharing or telecommuting)
  • Subscriptions to their favorite magazine or pay for a membership in a trade association, professional organizations of their choice
  • Hire a massage therapist come to the office once a month and give a massage.
  • Create a relaxation room, where the employees (and other people you are rewarding) can go during the day, to read or even play a video game on their break

When determining how to make up a total employee compensation package, remember this: to your employees, compensation is the equivalent not to how they are paid but, ultimately, to how they are valued. Demonstrating you understand their value will go a long way towards ensuring your organization attracts and retains top talent for your continued success.

What unique compensation strategies does your company use?

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