5 Ways to Reward Employees When You Can’t Offer a Raise


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Eventually, all managers will run into this issue: You have a stellar employee, but don’t have the means to offer a raise.  Now-a-days, it’s not just employees that need to stay competitive; it’s the businesses as well. Just as you expect quality candidates, your candidates will expect quality out of you. A high-performing employee will anticipate some sort of reward for working hard to make the company money.

So what’s a budget-less manager to do? We asked our very own staff what they would accept as a replacement raise:

Option 1:
Half Day

Working Monday through Friday can sometimes be difficult with appointments, kids, car problems and whatever else you can think up. Offering the employee one half day a week, relives a ton of stress.  If you were thinking about a raise in the first place, the employee’s performance is definitely not in question. One half day would improve the employee’s morale and steer them away from looking for other opportunities, because you couldn’t offer a raise.  – Andrew Sergio, National Account Manager

Option 2: Ability to work from home

working from home
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Working from home is an amazing incentive that should only be offered to the most driven employees.  With a constant increase in gas prices, allowing an employee to work from home one or two days a week saves them money at the pump.   –Gabriella Calise, Manager of Marketing and Client Services

Option 3:

While it may not be an option to increase overall salary, a bonus certainly shows the employee their hard work is not going unnoticed. – Barbara Feldman, National Account Manager

Option 4:  Flexible Hours

Work life balance is a huge incentive. Allowing a reliable employee the flexibility to begin and end a work day outside of 9-5 improves quality of life.  They will truly appreciate the ability to work hours that fit into their busy schedules rather than manipulating their life around a tight work week. Sometimes, having this option is better than a raise. – Gretchen Ponte, Technical Resource Manager

Option 5: Extra PTO

If you can’t offer a raise, give the employee some extra PTO time.  Having the ability to take a couple extra days off throughout the year is sometimes more valuable than in increase in salary.
– Craig Farley, Technical Resource Manager


In addition to these options, maintaining a positive work environment is crucial.  If your employee is not happy, they’ll look elsewhere.


Salary can be a huge factor in attracting quality candidates. EDI Staffing offers a free competitive salary analysis for hiring managers looking to compare their salary offerings against similar openings in their area.

What To Expect in Your Analysis:

  • Local average salary for job title/description
  • National average salary for job title/description
  • Hiring scale heat map
  • Salary ranges in alternate locations

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