Great businesses aren't always in a position to reward all of their great employees with salary increases or expensive benefits packages. However, businesses know that "teams are made on the talent they can acquire and retain." To attract and retain great employees, it's important consider alternative benefits that help compensate for a lack of traditional benefits or pay increases. "The field of employee benefits is constantly evolving, making it difficult to keep up with the changing landscape" (Source: Employee Benefit Solutions from Baypoint Benefits). Many startups, for example, use a number of creative ways to keep employees from looking elsewhere for work.
Because mobile technology has transformed the office place, many businesses find that it serves their purpose well to allow employees to work from home for part of the work week. Other organizations are moving toward four-day work weeks. Turning the traditional 9-5 work day on its ear is something that appeals to many employees who have family obligations they need to juggle or simply prefer to work from the comfort of their own homes. Avoiding the commute for one day a week is certainly a benefit that many employees relish.
While many businesses undertake to develop extensive rewards programs, many employees are happy enough to receive a pat on the back and a gift card. In fact, if you rewards program is too extensive and corporate-like, it could even backfire as employees suspect that the money and energy needed to run that program could be better spend on traditional benefits. Even if you can't reward all employees, you might try to buy them lunch once a month or find creative ways to reward them--half-days or an extra personal day, for example.
Employees who are unhappy with an office culture are apt to look for other employment. Maintaining a happy and upbeat office is a decided benefit. You might allow employees a relaxed dress code for one day a week or allow them to play music. When employees are able to contribute to the office atmosphere in meaningful ways, they tend to take more ownership of the space and invest more of themselves.
When your business can't reward employees with increases in salary or more benefits, it's important to get creative in order to retain them. When you let your employees know they matter, their place of employment will matter more to them, too.