How to reward employees when pay rises aren’t an option

In a cost-pressured environment, HR leaders are still expected to get results. Here's how to support your staff through a strong benefits program

How to reward employees when pay rises aren’t an option

The end-of-financial-year (EOFY) is approaching, but with a tight labour market, a rising cost of living and ongoing economic uncertainty, many companies aren’t in a position to offer significant pay rises or bonuses. However, making employees feel supported and valued is at the top of the list.

A recent report from Mercer shows that more than a third (38%) of HR leaders say their top priority is improving their total rewards package. In a cost-restricted environment, HR leaders are still expected to drive tangible results - however, the “budget reality” is an ongoing challenge for them.

According to Kylie Terrell, director of consultancy at Reward Gateway, HR leaders should “shift their focus to a wider goal.” That means driving engagement and strengthening their Employee Value Proposition (EVP), and thinking about how an enhanced benefits package could help employees get the most out of their salary.

“For most companies, significant salary increases are not feasible. That’s the bottom line,” Terrell says.

“But with a little bit of creativity, employers can enhance their total rewards strategy and still provide meaningfully support to their people.

“For example, you can take a very small portion of your employees’ post-tax wage increase and reappropriate it to an investment in your employer brand, re-investing in your employees, and facilitating disposable income growth.”

Other creative ways of enhancing employee income could include employee benefit or discount programs, which are increasingly becoming part of a baseline package for many companies across Australia and New Zealand. Financial wellbeing support could also go a long way to helping employees manage costs and feel more in control of their finances.

“We've seen that financial wellbeing support is an extremely effective antidote to financial stresses creeping into the workplace for a fraction of the cost of a bulk payout,” Terrell explains.

“Reward Gateway is seeing this value directly, with more than $2.5 million saved from our Australian and New Zealand clients in December 2022 alone, and a nearly 25% increase on grocery spending year-over-year during the same period.”

Ultimately, there’s no escaping the fact that cost of living pressures are tough. But when it comes to improving a rewards package, there are many things that employers can do to help.

In partnership with HRD, Reward Gateway will be presenting a webinar focused on enhancing rewards strategies, and providing meaningful support to staff this EOFY.

Kylie Terrell will be joined by Emma Jenkins and Silvana Avramovski from Beak & Johnston (B&J), who will discuss how you can build a culture of appreciation that will engage your top performers, and how B&J are providing impactful financial support for their employees during the current cost of living challenges.

“True job satisfaction is about more than salary for the majority of people,” Terrell conludes.

“And though it might not seem like it at first, the perfect opportunity to improve and strengthen your EVP, while still hitting your numbers, is right in front of you.”

How to Enhance your Total Rewards Strategy & Provide Meaningful Support to your People this EOFY will be running on 7th June 2023. To register, click here.

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