I worked for a nonprofit and interviewed the executive director about nonprofit leadership for a paper I was working on in college. What he said about employee wages lingers in my mindscape. He said he wished he could compensate his employees more, but it was just not possible to pay them more within the budget. During that time, the economy had been crashing. I worked with clients who were full-time workers but who could not make all of their modest financial obligations with their pay and their time. I met a waitress at a struggling small restaurant who was only working for tips. Seeing the struggles of business owners in my small community prompted me to ask, “How does a business that needs labor stay afloat while compensating its employees fairly?”
If you cannot offer your employers higher pay, consider making their work schedules as flexible as possible. Whether you are mission-oriented or profit-driven, your employee compensation is a means to your overall goal. Your goal isn’t to make your employees happy; however, adequately compensated employees work harder and more efficiently. If you have employees who take an hour lunch, they can stagger times so long as the office hours are covered. For example, one person comes to work a half hour late and eats lunch from 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm. Another worker comes in at the normal time, eats lunch from 12:00 pm to 12:30pm, and leaves a half an hour early. Flexible schedules help your employees balance work and family time, but some studies have shown that flexible schedules increase productivity too.
Some of your employees may have work that they can finish at home. Give some of your employees an extra few hours to do that work at home rather than forcing them to come in to work. If you can manage a day or so in which everyone does that, you could possibly save some money on the expenses required to keep the office open during that time. You can monitor work-at-home employees through collaborating online and through monitoring the results of the work the employee has accomplished.
You could tie performance to time-off successfully by rewarding high performers with some extra time off and by validating their hard work. The advantage of allowing high performers to get some time off periodically (say, they get to leave an hour early on a Friday), is that you are creating an incentive to rev up the productivity for all your workers. You could also try using some extra time for lunches or longer break times to incentivize top performers. Steve Miller, with the Society for Human Resources, notes that non-monetary incentives often have a higher impact on employee retention than the salary.
Seek Partnership Discounts
If your company works with any agency or company in the local region which could offer a recreational value to your employees, see if you can work on getting some reasonable discount for your employees. Find value where it will be appreciated by your employees. Ask them what they’d like to do in their spare time if they could afford it. If your employees would like to visit a pool or a gym, perhaps you could find some meaningful group discount for your employees. There are programs which can help employers find discounts for their employees so long as they have at least 35 employees. Don’t discount the small businesses in the area. If there is a new restaurant in town, for example, the business owner may feel it advantageous to offer an employee discount to you to increase business.
Train Your Employees
Monika Hamori, Jie Cao and Burak Koyuncu surveyed over a thousand young high achievers and found that they are quick to job hop when career development falls flat. Office systems easily derail a skilled workforce when adequate and efficient training programs are not in place. You don’t want highly skilled employees to feel as though their jobs are on the line no matter how hard they try because you did not adequately train them. Find and create valuable training programs that allow your employees to feel as though your company is investing in their human development. Solid training programs foster loyalty and they also relieve the stress that employees have when completing their duties without the proper tools to do so.