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How to Reward Your Employees When You Can’t Give Them a Pay Rise

person getting 1 U.S. dollar banknote in wallet

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Pay increases are among the most common ways to show employees we value them. An hourly rate or yearly salary increase shows your team that you want their earnings to reflect their impact on your business.

However, not every business can offer pay rises, especially during economic uncertainty. Fortunately, you can reward your employees in other ways until you can give them the increased earnings they deserve.

Salary Packaging

Salary packaging is among the most common employee benefits solutions. This benefit involves employees sacrificing part of their salary for a remuneration package. While it might not sound helpful, it may lower tax costs and increase disposable income. Company vehicles, childcare, and health insurance are a few of several options you may offer your employees instead of a pay rise.


You might not be able to provide monetary incentives for your valued employees. However, flexibility could be within your power to offer. Workplace flexibility is all about helping your employees enjoy more work-life balance.

You might let them choose their own office hours to suit their home schedule or offer remote or hybrid work opportunities. You might go one step further and adopt the coveted four-day work week, so your team can enjoy three-day weekends. Such changes can sometimes mean more to employees than a monetary incentive.

Cost-Effective Financial Benefits

Financial benefits may be within your power, even if permanent wage increases aren’t. Consider how your employees could be financially better off without committing to a higher yearly wage bill.

You might offer employee discounts through benefits and discount platforms, equity in your business, or even real-time pay. Real-time pay lets employees access their pay when needed, not just at the end of a standard pay cycle.

Learning and Development Opportunities

Don’t underestimate the value of learning and development opportunities. According to a Workforce Learning Report by Linkedin, people often seek new jobs to grow and learn new skills. You may not lose employees if you don’t offer pay increases. However, there’s a chance you will if you don’t provide upskilling opportunities.

Encouraging education and training may also benefit your business. When your team learns new skills, they can apply them to your business. You can then enjoy a more skilled and educated workforce.

Health and Wellness Initiatives

The average workplace can be stressful, even if you wish it weren’t. Employees can feel overwhelmed by their workload. They can even become frustrated with their customers and coworkers occasionally.

You may never be able to fix their frustrations permanently, but you can still provide health and wellness initiatives to help them work through them. Counselling sessions, fitness class subsidies, and healthy break room snacks are just a few of the many health and wellness benefits you may like to explore.

There isn’t always enough money left in the budget for pay rises, but that doesn’t mean your employees have to feel less valued. Explore alternative options like salary packaging, learning and development opportunities, and flexibility. These benefits can often mean just as much to the average employee.

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