How to increase employee happiness (without a raise)

A higher wage rate is easily the best way to keep your employees motivated to work for you. Otherwise, you may experience low morale and high turnover due to a lack of employee happiness. 

But while higher pay is important to job satisfaction, increasing your labor costs isn’t always affordable. Luckily there are plenty of ways to improve the work environment for your team members and boost employee happiness.

Fancier job title

An improved job title costs you nothing, except new business cards if you use them. A different designation can put skills under a brighter spotlight. They’ll look good on a resume, and provide you with a great avenue for employee recognition.

For example, re-titling a position from senior manager to director could make a big difference in how others perceive that employee’s career and importance to your company, leading to increased happiness at work. 

Flexible working

Flexible work structures the job hours of your staff around their home responsibilities rather than the other way around. This is an excellent way to improve their work-life balance, increase employee engagement and raise job satisfaction. 

You can allow them to come in at any time as long as they worked their full eight hours. A more popular option is to structure their day around their tasks. As long as they get their jobs done, they can come to work and leave when they want to.

You can also allow employees to do most, if not all of their work at home, which has become popular since the pandemic. Modern technology, such as webcams and virtual meeting rooms, makes working remotely more practical now than it’s ever been. And the impact on employee happiness can be extremely valuable. 

Studies have shown that employees get more done because they don’t have to waste time traveling to and from work. If you are uncomfortable with this concept, you can start by allowing at home, work one or two days a week, and gradually increase that schedule.

Volunteer time

Many employees like to work for businesses that include a sense of community in their company culture. A good way to show that you care about your area is by encouraging your workers to volunteer for local organizations on company time. 

This can also increase visibility for your company to others who rely on that charity for support. You can also go a step further by offering to match employee donations to those groups.

Time off

Giving your employees more time off costs you nothing and allows them to recharge, so they’re eager to get back to work. If you can’t afford for them to take a long stretch of time off at once, you can offer half days, one Friday a month off, or an extra day after a three-day weekend.

Shorter spurts of free time also make it more likely that employees will take advantage because such quickies don’t require much planning and your employees won’t have to worry how their work is going to get done.

Professional development

Many of your workers dream of advancing their careers. One way of helping them achieve their goals is by offering in-house professional development and training opportunities for free. You can conduct training programs either at your location or a place that is nearby on topics that are relevant to their jobs. 

You may even be able to ask some of your senior employees to lead these classes to save more money. Otherwise, you may have to hire outside instructors.

Another possibility is to pay for training at a local community college or business institute. You won’t have to give up space at your facility for sessions and will reward employees with a wider variety of courses to choose from.

Casual dress

Many companies offer casual Fridays, which allow employees to relax their attire at the end of the working week. You could extend this concession to every day of the week as long as you specify what is and is not acceptable in the office. 

Relaxed clothing increases happiness in the workplace because employees can feel comfortable and express themselves. This benefit is more achievable for those who work out of the public eye in the back office or in warehouses.

Transportation help

It’s no secret that commuting can take its toll on employee productivity, not only because longer distances increase tardiness but having to deal with traffic or late public transportation is stressful. 

You can ease employee satisfaction by offering help with transportation. A stipend for monthly transportation can ease the emotional and financial burden. If you don’t have sufficient parking for everyone to drive to work, free space in a nearby lot will be welcomed.

You can also encourage workers to use public transportation by offering bus passes or train tickets.

Free childcare

Many of your employees may be members of families where both parents work. Having to worry about how to take care of children can impact work time negatively. Some may have even bent the truth to you about their family life in order to maintain their work conditions.

You can alleviate this stress and retain employees by providing free childcare at work or at a nearby location. Your employees will feel better knowing that their children are close by and will be able to focus more on their job. Depending on how many kids need care, you may only need to hire one or two individuals to provide babysitting for several children at the same time.

Parent consideration

Many of your employees may be taking care of aging parents, which provides worries that are similar to having responsibility for a child. But such stresses add a layer of having to deal with chronic long-care problems, such as dementia or cancer.

Offering assistance with parent care can be as simple as giving having referrals and resources that help caregivers deal with lifestyle changes and emotions involved. Or it can be as complex as negotiating contracts or hiring services that assist with finding legal representation or long-term-care facilities.

Pet-friendly benefits

Your employees may own pets that they treat and worry about as children. You could offer discounts on pet-related purchases or veterinary services. Free doggie daycare will alleviate the worry of what their four-legged charges are doing at home. 

You can also allow your workers to have their furry friends at work as long as they are of a certain size and meet a standard of behavior.

Free or reduced prices on products and services

It’s almost a given that if you’re in the business of selling products or services to customers, you will also offer them to your employees at a discount offer free. In fact, many of your employees may have signed up specifically to obtain what you produce at little to no cost.

But you don’t have to limit these freebies to your inventory.

  • Free ice cream is welcomed as a delightful treat and a way to relieve stress. You can also buy the suites at a discount if you have a wholesale license. A free lunch once a month is something everyone will look forward to.
  • You can hire a professional masseur to come in one or two days a week to get free massages during work hours to employees who book them in advance. Other useful perks for improving physical health include yoga classes or gym memberships. You could also put an exercise hour in the middle of the day that encourages employees to take a walk, play a basketball game, or engage in exercise.
  • Team up with local businesses who can offer their goods and services at a discount to your employees as long as you give their workers the same concession.

Paying down student loans

If your workforce consists of college students, they’ll be thrilled to have a little help with loans. While you probably can’t afford to pay off entire obligations, you can offer a set amount each month. 

If you contribute $100 a month, your employee gets $1,200 at year-end, and $6,000 after five years. These contributions can go a long way in dealing with student loan debt.

Need more help increasing employee happiness? Homebase HR Pro provides live access to certified advisors who can review your existing policies and assist you in creating new ones. Get started today.

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