How to reward staff without paying them a bonus

Peninsula Team

May 21 2019

Monetary bonuses are commonly used as a way of rewarding staff for their performance and contribution over a set period of time. However, there will be occasions where financial limitations prevent you from distributing a bonus, meaning you will have to consider alternative ways of rewarding your employees.

Whilst money can be a great way to reward staff, in many cases, simple verbal recognition can be a suitable alternative. Although it is is unlikely to have the same instant impact as a monetary bonus, taking time to personally thank staff for their efforts in performance reviews, and actively recognising their achievements, could potentially have a more significant and long lasting impact on morale and help develop a positive company culture. Popular initiatives such as ‘employee of the month’ awards can also help staff develop a sense of pride in their work and encourage healthy competition amongst colleagues.

Inexpensive perks, such as free food or dress down days, are often appreciated by employees and can be another way of rewarding them for a job well done. You could choose to offer these as performance incentives and to encourage increased productivity at work, as the opportunity to dress casually and enjoy a free lunch have proven powerful motivators. Having said this, you should still make sure you have specific rules in place on casual dress to prevent staff from wearing inappropriate clothing and ensure any food is accommodating of different dietary requirements to avoid alienating certain staff.

Although it may come at a greater cost to your business than compliments and free food, giving staff an extra day of annual leave, or the opportunity to finish early at the end of the week, can be a great way of rewarding them. Additional holiday allowance tends to be given to staff as a reward for long service, therefore this may be something to grant to those who have remained loyal over the years. Meanwhile, the prospect of finishing work sooner on Fridays and starting the weekend earlier can encourage greater productivity throughout the working week. Also, remember that time away from work is generally considered to help reduce work related stress and other instances mental ill health. Therefore, rewarding staff in this way could pay dividends for your business in the long run by reducing absenteeism.

Finally, consider how making team activities and social events a more regular occurrence can be a valuable way of rewarding staff without providing them with a bonus. Arranging relaxed, inclusive, events such as summer BBQs or ‘away days’ will provide a break from the usual working environment, encouraging staff to get to know each other better and develop a greater sense of camaraderie.

As you can see, there are many ways to reward staff without providing them with a monetary bonus. Employers who put the time and effort into reward schemes are ultimately more likely to reap the benefits when it comes to increased morale, greater productivity and improved retention rates.

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