Small Business Tips: 7 Creative Ways to Compensate Employees

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By David Crary  

Sometimes doing something surprising for an employee will go a long way toward improving their loyalty. I know of a large company that has the president send a birthday card through the intercompany mail to all employees. It often includes a nice note and is personally signed. Not necessary and certainly not expected, but a very nice touch. 

Reward them with days off:
Hitting goals is a big milestone for many companies, so why not reward the employees with a bonus day off? Perhaps it can tie into a major holiday that falls on a Tuesday and you give Monday off for the extra-long weekend. Or simply surprise everyone on Thursday that tomorrow is a day off. That would go a long way to boosting morale next Monday!We have compiled seven of our favorite ways to recognize and compensate employees below.

  1. Set a profit goal and implement profit sharing: Getting everyone involved and working towards the same profit goals and disclosing the goals is a very big employee motivator companies. Offer profit sharing plans or create a bonus structure that will pay based on the profits earned. Companies that offer this often pay after the financial year has ended. This helps with employee retention.
  2. Cash for innovative ideas: Often the employees that are closest to the customers come up with the best ideas for productivity gains or a growth idea. Be sure to recognize them through special compensation. Cash is always a big motivator so gather the team and make a big deal out of the specific contribution.
  3. Flexible schedules: Some employees would like to put in 10 hour days in the summer and then take off early on Friday. This is especially achievable by dispatching them to the job site first thing in the morning. Many of our customers use our work order software to dispatch their employees directly to their first job so they don't have to come into the office. The end of the day can be wrapped up at the last appointment and then they can be done with their work. This allows employees to be more productive and it will give them flexibility which is a great compensation tool. 
  4. Implement a discount with a local business: Many local businesses want your business and will offer discounts on food and or services to your employees. Simply ask. Our friend worked at a restaurant near a trolley stop. The drivers came in for free coffee and the employees could ride the trolley for free. A simple idea that went a long way for both. 
  5. Refer a friend to work: For many field services businesses, it is difficult to find great employees that will be with you for the long haul. One of the best ways to find great people is to get your current employees to refer their friends and family. There should be a referral fee that is attractive and can be paid out after “x” months on the job. Sometimes people just aren’t the right fit so you want to be sure that this is a fair situation for you.
  6. Company parties: At Hindsite, we have our company party on St. Patrick’s Day. This is our way of giving back to our employees in a great, fun atmosphere by enjoying the festivities in our downtown St. Paul, MN location. Some companies enjoy Holiday parties in December, or summer picnics in July. One of my friends enjoyed a department boat party every year with her company. Beautiful summer day, checked out at noon, and headed to the lake for lunch and cruising. Company parties are a great way to enjoy your employees on a personal level.

Get creative and start with one or two of these ideas and see how well received it is by your team. What are some of the ways that you have creatively compensated your employees beyond the traditional ways? Let us know by commenting below.


Looking for more tips on how to improve your business? Check out our free eBook, 33 Stupid Things Contractors Do (And How to Fix Them)!



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