How To Reward Employees Despite Budget Constraints

November 19, 2020 Catherine Tacopina

It has been a challenging year for everyone, both personally and professionally. Despite this, you might have seen many of your star employees rise to the occasion and achieve major success! While you would typically reward employees for their hard work with either a raise or a promotion, you may not have the budget to carry this out on the same scale this year. 

While you may be disappointed to not be able to reward employees financially, that doesn’t mean you can’t show them appreciation in other ways! Here are five ways to show your top performers your gratitude when you aren’t able to give them a raise: 

Provide them with career development opportunities

For many professionals, a raise or a promotion is indicative of how much they’re valued by leadership. When you can’t reward employees financially, you have to look for other ways to ensure that they feel valued. One way of doing this is by discussing possible career development opportunities with them. Whether that means putting them on track for a leadership role in the company, providing them with resources to obtain professional certifications, or offering one-on-one mentorship, showing them that they figure into the company’s future plans will help them feel valued.

Give them recognition

It’s easy to overlook the power of a thank you, especially when your employees constantly produce stellar work. To show that you are paying attention, however, it’s important to recognize your employees’ accomplishments. Whether this comes in the form of a title upgrade or a company-wide shout out, creating a feedback-rich environment is a great way to get your employees excited about their impact and eager to do more.

Treat them to lunch

If you can’t reward your employees in the way you’d prefer, a great alternative is to treat them to lunch. If you decide to reward employees this way, you can host a virtual lunch where you cover the cost of the meal. Not only does this show employees that you’re making the effort to show your appreciation, having one-on-one time with them can also act as a gateway to talk about their future in the company and how you can help them reach their professional goals.

Commit to giving them another review in the future

While you may not be able to give your star employees a raise now, you may be able to do so in several months. If you think this may be the case, be transparent with them about the situation. Tell them that while you can’t give them a bonus or raise at the moment, you’re hopeful that you may be able to do so in the near future. Tentatively schedule another performance review or touch base in the near future when you feel things may be looking up. From there, you can determine what your options are in regards to giving them a raise. 

Offer extra vacation days

If you don’t have the budget to reward employees financially, you can try making it up to them by offering some extra vacation days. While they may not be able to travel to a far-off destination, allowing them to have extra vacation days can allow them the flexibility to take more time off to relax and recharge. This way, you’re not only rewarding them, but you’re also giving them a chance to have some time for themselves!

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