Originally Posted by Sean Adams
If you have owned your business for a few years or even longer, you may have a situation where you have an employee who has been with you for quite some time. That employee is loyal, honest, reliable, hard-working and accountable. Obviously these are the kinds of employees everyone wants on staff, but many times business owners cannot afford to keep guys like this around.
Or can they?
Yes, money is important and I'm guessing you haven't encountered too many employees who have turned down a pay raise.
But what if paying this valuable, appreciated employee more money is just not an option right now?
There are several different, effective ways you can "compensate" this employee, show him you appreciate his work and effort, without increasing his salary.
1.) Tell him you appreciate him. Make it somewhat of a big deal. Pull him aside privately and tell him, and don't be afraid to tell him in front of others as well. Take him to lunch or give him a gift card - in this case, yes, the thought is what counts.
2.) If you feel comfortable doing so, let this employee take a company truck home with him. Yes, it will cost you a little bit of money in gas, but look on the bright side, assuming your truck is labeled properly, it is a rolling billboard for your business. And he will appreciate being able to save his own gas money getting back and forth from work.
3.) If he doesn't have a company cell phone, give him one. Allow him to use it for personal use as well so he doesn't have to incur the expense. Just make sure he understands that business time is business time and if he is called upon, he is expected to answer. Doesn't have to be the brand new version of the iPhone, just something that saves him money and fits into your cell phone plan.
4.) Give him paid days off. In some instances, depending on location and numbers of weeks worked per year, this may already be the norm. If not, a paid day off here and there is a very nice perk that can be greatly appreciated.
5.) Give him more responsibility and/or a new title. Some may think that giving someone more responsibility without increasing their pay is actually a step in the wrong direction, but you would be suprised how much more important and appreciated it can make an employee feel.
6.) Ask for his input - set aside time on a semi-regular basis to let him tell you what he likes and doesn't like - what he wants to change and how he thinks things could be done better. This again will make him feel like his opinion matters and it will be valuable insight for you.
IMO these are all things that a good company should be doing for their employees anyway. But like the old saying goes- "money talks and BS walks" none of this puts food on the family table or pays the mortgage and other bills. Certainly how you treat your employees goes a long way in their decision to go elsewhere for better pay, but in the end it's always going to be the money. If you can't afford to pay them a living wage you're only delaying the inevitable.