February 14, 2019
Like many other businesses, your company may occasionally endure downturns during which revenues stagnate and your ability to authorize generous raises is compromised. In these situations, you may understandably worry about breaking the news to your workers and nervously anticipate their reactions. After all, you likely have top performers who deserve higher salaries. Let’s look at some ways you can retain key employees on a tight budget.
Talk with Workers
When it comes to satisfying employees, compensation is a key factor. However, there are other ways to motivate workers and keep them happy. For example, your staff likely appreciates your and your supervisors’ interest in their well-being, career advancement and decision-making authority. So if you are unable to give raises, explain why. Educating your staff about your company’s fiscal state will generally make them more sympathetic to your situation and help keep morale up.
During weak or struggling economic times, many companies give small raises, such as a 2.0% increase, across the board. Doing so can be detrimental to key workers’ drives and reinforce negative work attitudes. Instead, give 4% raises to your best workers and no increases to poor performers. Don’t worry if slacker employees quit: You’ll have extra funds to either pay current workers more to handle additional responsibilities or hire better-qualified individuals to fill empty positions.
Appeal to Employees’ Self-Worth
To reward workers, many employers have a traditional employee-recognition program, which consists of choosing an outstanding staff member each month or quarter and awarding him or her a plaque. But there are other ways to acknowledge company stars, such as these low to moderately priced methods:
Thank them. When’s the last time you heard a manager express appreciation to an employee for his or her extra effort? It’s a simple gesture but often forgotten or underestimated in the workplace.
Give credit where it is due. Take time to let others in the organization know who is generating ideas and doing exceptional work. Promote this mantra throughout your company.
Let them go early. When employees have completed a big project or met a sales goal, for example, treat them to some time off. Letting workers go home early gives them time to catch up on errands and clear their heads for work the next day. If you are worried about closing the office, have workers take turns on different days.
Distribute well-done cards. Ask managers to give workers notes with positive sentiments when meeting a performance objective or completing an assignment.
Serve workers. Level the playing field in your organization by setting aside a few days each year where your executives and managers wait on the rest of the staff, performing services such as running an errand for them or washing their cars.
Hold a party. Arrange for specialty fare, such as seafood, and host a themed event, such as a beach or Mardi Gras party. You can reward workers and help cure the doldrums in winter months. And you’ll only be out a few clams.
Send an employee to work in style. Consider hiring a limousine to drive top performers to the office and home for one day or more. The cost is certainly worth the word-of-mouth it would generate in the office — and among the workers’ neighbors.
Remember workers’ loved ones. Rewards are nearly always given to outstanding employees. But what about their spouses and partners who must hold down the fort when your workers stay late? So give a gift certificate for two to dine out and pick up the tab on babysitting costs, if needed.
Provide time off. Everyone can use a break from the office. So give star employees a complimentary weekend getaway package. This may cost more than the other ideas discussed here, but it’s less expensive than a pay increase — and memorable.
Keep Your Staff Satisfied
Although turnover is a costly issue for companies, you needn’t always spend great sums to retain workers. Showing your appreciation for their efforts and recognizing their accomplishments can go a long way in keeping employees satisfied.