How to Pay Staff on a Shoestring

Could you be paying your staff less? Some experts say yes

Written by Michelle Kelly

Could you be paying your staff less? Some experts say yes. Salary isn’t always the only thing on employees’ minds.

“People don’t come to work only to collect a paycheck anymore,” advises  Lighthouse NINE Group’s Cindy McNichol, (a former vice-president of people and values at HR consulting firm Maritz Canada).

Employees want to be appreciated and rewarded for good work. Try out some of McNichol’s tips, and your staffers won’t be so focused on getting salary raises.

Give gifts that keep giving

At bonus time, focus on gifts that last, and aren’t spent within a few weeks. “It is important to recognize employees not as workers, but as people,” McNichol says. Instead of extra bucks on a Christmas paycheck, she recommends a reward program that contributes points to a “trophy” gift the whole family can enjoy. “An appliance,” she points out, “will outlive the cash used to buy it, and can be enjoyed by the entire family.”

Develop a mentor program

Instead of shelling out for expensive external training courses, take advantage of on-site resources. Encouraging cross training with other departments, for example, and mentoring by colleagues further up the ladder. By allowing employees to take time out of their regular schedules to shadow someone, you’re not only improving their skills, you’re also adding value to your company. Any lost productivity is made up many times over by the asset of an enriched employee.

Reward outstanding work

Performance-based compensation can be effective, but don’t make the mistake of straying from the initial standards. If performance targets aren’t met, then rewards should not be given. Employers who overlook these shortfalls risk discrediting future programs. Unless something goes awry in the marketplace that renders goals unattainable, keep your rewards in line with reality.

Offer flexible hours and surprise breaks

Consider implementing a flex-time program to help staff balance their work with the needs of their family. Another option: offer last-minute time-off so your employees can take advantage of cheap travel deals.

Remember: little things mean a lot

Take employees out for a friendly drink, or pay for an ordered-in dinner when your staff must work late. Small things not only show employees they are valued on a consistent basis, but they also help to foster staff camaraderie, which can go a long way towards keeping valuable employees from fleeing to greener pastures.

Read other pointers on How To contribute to your business success!

© 2004 Michelle Kelly

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com