Five Ways To Reward Employees (Besides Raises)

Your best employees contribute to your company in a variety of ways, and your tools for rewarding them should be just as various. Not only is it not always feasible to raise their pay, but employees often prefer other forms of compensation.

Effective employee rewards include:

  1. Casual DaysMany employees find dress codes restrictive, so give them a day when they’re free to wear whatever they want. Just remember that casual does not mean unprofessional, and they cannot be rule-free. Here are some things to consider when instituting casual day:
    • Schedule the casual day when you don’t expect clients to come into your office.
    • Make exceptions for employees who have to meet clients that day (but give them the right to dress casually on a different day).
    • Ask your employees to use their best judgment, and be willing to answer any specific questions they have ahead of time.
    • Employees should not come to work in clothing that makes others uncomfortable. Outline how much skin is too revealing and if there is any language that should be avoided on their clothing.

    Consider making casual day goal-based. For example, employees could receive one casual day for each week that your office hits a performance goal. This will encourage employees to work together and improve productivity, and it won’t cost you a cent.

  2. Flexible SchedulesIf an employee has demonstrated high productivity and a commitment to hard work, give that worker the freedom to set his or her own schedule. Many employees would be happy to work two twenty-hour days in a row and take the rest of the week off. As long as you trust them to provide quality work product in the expected timeframe, giving them the freedom to do this won’t cost you anything. It may even raise productivity. By freeing workers from the constraints of a 9 to 5 schedule, you’ll allow them to schedule meetings with clients when the time is best, use commitment when other workers aren’t around to block them, and adopt more efficient methods.
  3. Dole Out New DevicesOne of the greatest sources of workplace frustration is having to use outdated computers and faulty office equipment. To reduce employees’ stress and help them do their jobs more easily, consider updating your most loyal employees’ equipment. Not only will this send a positive message to those employees, but the new equipment should pay for itself through higher levels of productivity and reduced waste. Rewarding employees with new equipment is particularly effective if you allow them to set their schedules at the same time. This way, every minute they save with the new equipment is another minute they can spend as they choose.
  4. Enrichment and ExerciseInstall exercise equipment, massage chairs, and other devices that improve health and lower stress. For the low price of adopting and powering this equipment, you’ll let employees break up the monotony of the workday, feel more energized, and counter the negative effects of sedentary office life. A chance to relieve stress will also improve productivity, more than making up for the price of the equipment. For best results, offer your best employees extra break time after you install the equipment. This will reward your staff as a group while giving individual workers an incentive to rise above the rest.
  5. Broadcast Their ValueThe Internet and social media offer a panoply of new possibilities for recognizing employees’ achievements. In addition to awards ceremonies and physical plaques, you can add a “virtual wall of fame” to your website and update it monthly to recognize the most productive employees. You can also make a video in honor of the employee you’re rewarding, containing a summary of his or her accomplishments and interviews with co-workers who have positive things to say. Just make sure to check with your employees before you upload anything about them to the Internet, as many workers are uncomfortable with having even positive information broadcast about them.

How do you recognize employees and colleagues that go above and beyond?