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5 Ways to Make Employees Happy Without a Raise

Regular reviews are nerve-wracking, but the good ones come with a shining light at the end of them: an increase in pay that can raise anyone's spirits. Giving out raises isn't always possible, though, which can be a huge blow to office morale. There are, however, a few other ways you can show your appreciation for your employees without spending a dime.

  1. Stop pointing out small mistakes. Mistakes will happen, that is inevitable, but don't make employees feel even worse about them. Try to show that it was no big deal by telling them not to worry about it (and sound like you mean it). Do this in front of the whole team, and you'll show just how understanding you can be.
  2. Give gifts to employees. Greg Rollett of The ProductPros says he once decided to give a gift to one of his employees as a bonus. He managed to snag tickets to a sold-out concert, adding that hearing the news made the employee visibly happy and she has since been producing better work than ever. "I think that giving them memorable experiences far outweighs any monetary gift you can give them," Rollett says.
  3. Make work fun. All work and no play is bound to make any employee resentful. Try to lighten things up a bit by introducing some playtime at work. Take employees out for picnics, host an ice cream party or have a funny hat day. Make them excited to come to work and they'll show their appreciation in the quality of work they produce.
  4. Spend time with employees. If you usually work in a private office, spend a day in the trenches with the rest of your employees. Don't just observe, but take part in conversations throughout the day and show how much you value being there with them.
  5. Promotions: Just because you can't afford to hand out raises doesn't mean you can't promote employees who deserve it. Give title changes and more responsibility -- this will show that you do appreciate their work and value what they do at the company.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! What other tips to you have for keeping employees happy when you can't give out raises? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments!

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(Photo credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

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