11 alternatives to a pay rise

When the annual appraisal interviews for the employees are due, it is usually also the time for salary negotiations. However, a pay rise is not always economically feasible.

In order that you can still reward the employees for good work and thus reduce the risk of dismissal, you can use the following options:

  1. More holidays: Grant your good employees additional time off from the company. Either once or continuously.
  2. More flexible working hours: Sometimes a flexible working time scheme can significantly improve the quality of life. Therefore grant your employees freedom of movement instead of locking them “9 to 5” in an office. At the same time, however, make sure that the quality of service to customers does not suffer as a result.
  3. Finance a further education: Professional training usually costs money. For the individual employee this is often a big chunk. For you as an entrepreneur, further training is usually much cheaper than a permanent salary increase and you also benefit from the new knowledge.
  4. More responsibility: Every now and then more responsibility alone is enough to make an employee happier. More responsibility means recognition. However, it does not have to be the head of the department directly. An exciting new project can be enough.
  5. Time to implement own ideas in the company: At Google, as is well known, development staff have around 20% of their time available to pursue their own projects within the company. With this freedom, you give your employees recognition and, at the same time, you may benefit from innovations.
  6. Food or supermarket vouchers: Vouchers can be used as a thank you instead of a salary increase. Be it for a birthday or as a monthly goodie.
  7. Trade fair attendance & events: Sometimes it is enough to see something other than the office to lift an employee’s spirits. Offer your employees the opportunity to visit trade fairs, congresses or perhaps even a visit to a company branch abroad.
  8. Free public transport card: In large cities, almost nobody can get around an annual pass for public transport. They often cost several hundred euros per year. Instead of a pay rise, you can take these costs off your employees and probably get off cheaper than with a pay rise.
  9. Free entrance to the fitness centre: Fitness is important for everyone. For you and your employees, so that you can do your best every day. As a goodie, give your employees a free fitness centre membership.
  10. One-time bonuses: If you can’t get around money, you can also agree with your employee on a one-off bonus instead of an ongoing salary increase.
  11. A better workplace: If you can look forward to a nice, quiet office on your way to work tomorrow instead of open-plan office hell, this too can increase motivation. Perhaps in one case or another, even more than a pay rise.

As you can see, apart from pay rises there are many options to reward your employees for their good work. In some cases you will still not get around to paying more. Especially when the employee sees that his work has increased the turnover of the company considerably. So stay fair and let your employees participate in the success of the company.

Photocredit: badmike /

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Christian Wagner
Christian Wagner
Founder RiskPlayWin | Owner & Founder of the digital marketing agencies &