Keeping Employees Happy Without a Raise

It’s all about the money. Or is it?

Getting a raise is obviously enticing to employees. It plays a role in keeping them happy and for minimizing turnover. But sometimes it’s just not in the cards for your company. Fortunately, there are several other ways to keep your employees happy without a raise.


Offer Flexible Scheduling

Flexible working arrangements like telecommuting, compressed workweeks and reduced hours are very alluring to modern employees. One of the best alternatives to a raise is to offer flexible scheduling. This enables your employees to achieve more of a balanced work-life schedule.

In fact, some employees are even willing to earn less in order to telecommute. According to a study from Harvard University that surveyed roughly 7,000 job applicants, “Workers were willing to accept eight percent lower pay, on average, to work from home.”

With more and more workers suffering from burnout and fatigue, flexible scheduling is a huge perk. Not only can this increase overall employee satisfaction, it can help your business tremendously from a recruiting standpoint.


Offer More Vacation Time

Maybe a raise isn’t feasible, but increasing the amount of vacation time for your top employees may be. Even a 10 percent increase in vacation days can be appealing. Keep in mind that you don’t need to do this for everyone — just your superstars who consistently perform at a high level.


Make Gratitude Part of Your Culture

Employee recognition plays an integral role in job satisfaction, productivity and overall morale. Unfortunately, it seems to be something that’s overlooked by many employers. A study from Socialcast found, “39 percent of employees don’t feel appreciated at their jobs, and 69 percent say they’d work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.”

Although you may not be able to increase someone’s salary, you can make a concerted effort to consistently show your appreciation and recognize their efforts. Making gratitude a part of your culture should keep your employees more engaged and reduce the likelihood of them jumping ship. As Socialcast suggests, be sure that you recognize your employees in a timely manner and avoid playing favorites.


Create a More Pleasant Working Environment

Companies like Google, Facebook and Flickr are known for their fun working environments. They are workplaces where the “work hard, play hard” mantra reigns supreme. Given the success of these companies, there are definitely advantages of creating an atmosphere that’s pleasant and where employees feel comfortable.

Here are some specific ways to spruce up your workplace.

  • Incorporate elements of nature – According to the Human Spaces Global Report, “Employees who worked in environments with natural elements reported a 15 percent higher level of well-being, a six percent higher level of productivity and a 15 percent higher level of creativity.”
  • Provide games for employees in the break room – A foosball table or video games are great ways to relax and encourage bonding.
  • Offer free food and drinks
  • Ditch the cubicles and opt for an open working environment


Employee satisfaction should be a top priority. More money certainly helps, but there are several ways to keep employees happy without a raise. In some cases, these strategies can actually have a bigger impact than money and encourage your top performers to stick around.

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