If you cannot afford to give a pay rise as a reward to your Employees what else can you do instead

If you can’t afford to give a pay rise as a reward to your Employees, what else can you do instead?


You may be lacking in financial resources at the moment and a pay rise as a reward may not be possible, it may be that there are alternatives that you can offer to your Employees that will reward them and make significant improvements to your culture at the same time.

In our article, we take a look at the many ways that you can reward your Employees, not break the bank, whilst improving the culture at work.


Should I always offer a pay reward every year?

Although pay rewards are great incentives, it may be that unless your company is in a financial position to offer a financial pay increment the reward in the form of a pay rise is not really the answer, both financially and in terms of what your Employees want. You do need to bear in mind to check the terms of individual *Contracts of Employment.

There are many ways that you can reward your Employees and this can have many more benefits, it is true that some of your Employees are financially driven but many are not, you will be surprised, we find that when we work with Employers on projects that the outcomes can be huge when offering something out of the ordinary; we understand that not all Employees will embrace change, you do need to communicate effectively and by doing so you will their get buy-in.

*If you are unsure about the terms in individual Contracts of Employment you should contact a HR Professional who can check the terms for you.


Are vouchers a good alternative?

You can offer your Employees a range of vouchers, these are a popular reward to Employees for doing a great job, you can do this in many ways, for example; by achieving targets, productivity, service levels, and hitting budget.

You know your business and what the needs are, and you also know your team, you could always ask them, and get them involved, they will love that. You can also ask what type of vouchers they would like, it may sound simple, but unless you know your team it can all go very wrong, spa vouchers for Employees who have no interest is a real no-no, similarly, cinema tickets when the nearest one is 30 miles away is a bit unrealistic.

Taking the time to plan is really important, getting it right can work wonders, once again involving your team will make them not just feel but be included in the process…. the word inclusion is key.

Whilst vouchers will still have a cost implication they will not cost as much as a pay rise.


Is a bonus a good alternative to a pay rise?

A good bonus structure can be beneficial, it is wholly dependent on your internal framework, how the scheme is operated, and suggestions linked to performance.

There are many connotations to bonus schemes, those linked to performance can be biased, unachievable, and can discriminate too, you may say that is controversial but it happens.

There are also profit-related bonus schemes, once again how they operate, are managed, measured, reviewed, and allocated can leave a lot to be desired, and overall, they can have a negative effect on team morale.


On the flip side, when well thought out, operated, measured, reviewed, and allocated many bonus schemes can be beneficial to businesses, they can drive productivity, service, performance, and individuals success.


Bonus schemes of any kind can be costly, they may cost the same if not more as a pay rise.


Are annual leave and family benefits enhancements a good idea?

There is no disputing that many Employees enjoy extra time away from work, offering enhanced benefits such as additional annual leave entitlement, and enhancements to family leave such as maternity, paternity, and other similar leave will enhance what you already have in place but will make you an Employer of choice when recruiting, these types of enhancements are typically ones that candidates look for when job hunting.

You need to consider not just the cost implications, which would be covered when Employees are off, but also dips in productivity, and service levels, having fewer people could lead to pressure on others as such absence levels could rise as a result, and ultimately attrition could increase. You may also find some Employees want the leave whilst others really don’t, in addition, some will never take advantage or reap the benefits, for example, the family leave may only affect a minority of your Employees, you need to consider this when implementing new policies, that way you won’t discriminate.

The offer of enhanced leave will have cost implications, it may cost as much if not more as your pay rises.


What about assisting Employees with their health and well-being?

This area can and does cover so very many aspects, we would always suggest you do market research before you embark on implementing anything specific in your business, we have conducted ‘benchmarking’ as part of our project work and it does take time, it really works and benefits your team and your business, there any so many options here and far too many to list.

Health and wellbeing, and so many benefits packages can range from:


  • employee assistance program (EAP)
  • mental wellbeing support
  • enhanced pension contributions
  • medical/life cover
  • death in service


Is going out and having a good time a good idea?        

We all enjoy a great time (I’m sure) sometimes just getting out and about, letting our hair down can be good for us, it is a great way to show your appreciation too, once again you know your team, whether it be a meal in a restaurant, a few drinks in a bar, or a team building day, there are some excellent ones out there, you can ask them what they want to do, set a budget, even ask if someone wants to organise it (there is normally the party planner in every workplace).

Getting out and about shows that you are a team, it builds team morale, and if nothing else you will all have fun.

Once again, the word inclusion is important, and remember to treat everyone fairly in the process, you really do not want to face any claims of discrimination, it does happen.

Going out and having a great time will still have a cost implication, but it will most certainly not cost as much as a pay rise.


What about training, is that a good idea?

Offering training, or extra training has a double whammy effect, not only does it benefit your Employee, but it benefits you and your business, the Employee, will be; more confident, competent, and have the skills to carry out their role, you should expect them to be; happier, and less likely to leave.

Essentially you are not only helping them to achieve all of this but supporting them with the skills and knowledge required, and in turn, they will be more loyal.

There are many training courses available, it would be dependent on the industry and profession, ranging from apprenticeships, degrees, and even free courses, there really is always something for your Employees to choose from. Learning should be for life.

Whilst some training can have a cost implication, it will most not cost as much as a pay rise, as mentioned many training courses are free or funded, they are worth exploring.


Should I provide my Employee with one-one mentoring or coaching?

If you cannot afford training, or it is not applicable to your Employee then you could offer some one-one mentoring instead, or in addition to it, this process could be invaluable to them, I must say that the mentor must be chosen carefully, they must have the right mindset, the capability, and understanding of what a mentor is and is not.

For example, a mentor is not a coach, there is a difference; time and again I see variables in the field of coaching/mentoring.

If you need help with the variables then get in touch we offer both types and can make a difference to you, and your business.



How can we help you?

There are so many other things and options, these are just a few to consider, we are here to help you with any type of project you require in your business. We work with all sizes and types of businesses, sectors, and across the UK. You can speak to us at any time by contacting us on: 0333 006949 or email us at [email protected], Unlike other providers, we are also open 365/24/7.





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