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While the current economic climate may not allow for more than cost-of-living-salary raises, there are many other ways to show employee appreciation. In fact, studies have shown that employee’s value praise, care and compassion more than getting paid more. If you’re looking for cost-effective or innovative ways to reward your staff, here are eight ideas to consider:


  • Be a matchmaker.  If you’re unable to provide holiday bonuses, you might want to form a holiday savings program.  Employees can have a portion of their income withheld tax-free, and you can match a percentage of their savings.


  • Develop leadership. Investing in an employee’s future demonstrates that you value their work and want to help position them for future success.   Company-sponsored leadership training, particularly if accompanied by a weekend trip and team-building activities, can make your employees feel valued and promote loyalty.


  • Give the gift of good health.  If you encourage employees to take care of their health, your company will reap the benefits in terms of less absenteeism and greater energy.  You can foster healthy habits by giving employees time off during the day to exercise or by creating a weight-loss or healthy-eating challenge.


  • Make getting to work less expensive. With the cost of oil still high, offering a gas card, or the ability to work from home once a week, can save employees money at the pump.


  • Help launch a college career.  As much as employees would appreciate bonus checks for themselves, a contribution to their children’s college funds may gain you even more good will.


  • Pay it forward.  Create an atmosphere where employees and yourself are encouraged to donate unused vacation time or personal days to employee’s who might need them for a serious illness or family emergency.  You may find that fostering a climate where employees are invested in each other’s well-being may encourage team morale and a supportive work environment.


  • Raffle it off. Depending on your work environment, you could raffle off various items, such as electronic goods or gift cards. Employees will appreciate the chance to win a new prize.

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  • Reroute the “Mommy Track.” While it may seem like a big undertaking, on-site childcare is becoming a more desired perk.  In fact, more than a quarter of the "Best Companies" offer an onsite childcare center. In the long run, this offer will likely minimize turnover and be less disruptive than if the same employees left the company or transitioned to a part-time schedule.


When evaluating the factors that make you an attractive potential employer, a generous salary and an annual bonus are just part of the equation.  Showing respect and appreciation through well thought out perks are highly valued, and they are an important incentive to keep employees. How do you reward employees? What have you found works/doesn’t work? Please share your thoughts with the SBOC community below.

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