commercial loan

Incentivising Employees When You Can’t Afford a Raise

May 9, 2022

So, your employee is asking for a raise. But your business has just taken on extra costs in the form of:

  • Increased minimum wage
  • Increased sick leave
  • Extra statutory holiday
  • Increased tax costs
  • Increased health and safety compliance costs
  • Supply chain issues
  • Flow on effects of covid-19 lockdowns
  • Increased interest rates on your business loans

As much as you would like to increase the salary of your valued staff members, now isn’t the right time for your business.

It is a well-known fact that people move jobs for the salary but stay for the culture. Here are some low-cost ways to encourage your staff to stay that will hopefully satisfy the team member as well as your accountant.

Make sure they are using quality equipment to do their jobs

Old, failing, or slow equipment can contribute to workplace frustrations for your employees. Up-to-date equipment including fast IT gear, comfortable office furniture and personalised stationery can help your employee feel valued.

Give away access to external services

Think about what activities your employees are doing repetitively. Perhaps they are standing for long periods or sitting for long periods. Could you bring in a chiropractor or masseuse to help keep them physically well?

Maybe they want to upskill on their personal finances or long perm personal goals, you could offer a financial adviser or life coach?

Extra leave

You may not have the budget to offer extra income, but could you give them additional time off? Maybe give them their birthday off each year, or an early finish on the last day of school terms? Perhaps they are training for an ultra-marathon, and they need an extra day’s training from time to time. Find out what is important to your employee, and you’ll be able to easily incentivise it.


With the rise of Covid and working remotely becoming more common, perhaps you could support your staff by introducing flexi-time for those who have non-time critical work to do. This would allow your employee to arrange their day in a way that supports their home life too. They may need to get a few hours done in the morning before school drop and then have a period of absence during the day when the kids get home from school.

Ensuring your employees can manage their workload in a way that keeps their whole day flowing – both personally and professionally, will help them feel valued.

Be careful that it doesn’t mean your employee is working around the clock.

Support community involvement

A way to build a great culture for the business as well as earning brand recognition in the community is to support your staff to undertake volunteering projects. Make sure the charity is in line with your brand, and then support the staff to get involved. It’s a day away from the office for your employee, and a chance to give back to the community that reflects on your business too.

Training and development

Career progression is an important part of feeling valued at work. Can you give your team a pathway to career progression via training, development, and mentoring? Not only will this help your team see a brighter future, but a team who are invested in will perform better and be more engaged at work. Win-win!


In conclusion, your team will move jobs for the money and they will stay for the culture. Investing in the overall wellness of your employees benefits both them and you. It will reduce churn and increase engagement in the work. Your business has taken a bit of a battering over the past 2 years, but you can still do so much to show your staff they are valued in ways that won’t break the bank.