Your best tips on rewarding staff in ways other than monetary

Tell us your best business tip and you could WIN one of five HP LaserJet P1006 printers! We’re giving one away every day this week.


On Wednesday we suggested that while times are tight, most people would love a pay rise. Is there something else you can give instead? What have you offered staff in lieu of a payrise? What worked? What bombed?


The best tip came from Andrew Foote, who has won an HP LaserJet P1006 printer.


Special mention also goes to two anonymous entries – our second listed tip (the hilarious story about the turkey) and third entry (a poetic response). These readers will each receive Tom McKaskill’s book The Ultimate Deal.


At lunchtime Friday we will announce the winner of Thursday’s prize of an HP LaserJet P1006 printer.


To go in the competition to win Friday’s printer, tell us of someone who made a huge difference to your business this year? How? Send in their name and tell us the story. If we judge yours to be the best, you’ll be enjoying superior print quality with the HP LaserJet P1006 printer. (Competition now closed).



Here are all the tips from our readers on Wednesday on how to reward staff in ways other than monetary.




Tip to reward your staff: I heard about this last year so don’t take personal credit for it (from Brian Eccles who runs a successful company with specialised software to help farmers manage, monitor and analyse their business). The Thursday prior to Christmas, tell your staff that they will be knocking off at 3.00pm and that you have a surprise for them and they won’t be getting home till 6.00pm. At 3.00pm over a cuppa, give each of them a crisp $100 (or $50) note, with instructions that they have until 5.00pm to spend it on themselves – not their families – and that you’ll require back any unspent $$$s. When they return at 5.00pm have a show-and-tell of what each of them had bought.
– Andrew Foote 


Tip to reward your staff: I was the recipient of what was meant to be a great gift in lieu of a pay rise. So instead of my usual bonus, I received an enormous frozen turkey – yes turkey. It was delivered to the office where I had to find room in a small office fridge for this impossibly large turkey. Then at the end of the day, I had to transport a large, very heavy and now dripping wet turkey (in the middle of summer) down the main street of North Sydney and on to a train for my one hour trip home. My humungous, dripping turkey was sitting on my lap as I was squeezed between two people on my ride home. The airconditioning was broken and the windows were sealed on the train – I couldn’t move and I was getting wetter and wetter as the big bird was defrosting on my lap. I did eventually get home, albeit a broken woman. Hauling this enormous bird from North Sydney to Penrith had taken it’s toll. I was so ticked off with my employer that no consideration was taken into how I was going to get home with this “surprise”. So this was a complete bomb of an idea that no employer should ever consider.


Tip to reward your staff:
Like most businesses, excess money is rare.
But of our staff, we do really care;
So for a thank you to those we employ,
Here’s something we found they do enjoy;
A book of coupons for them to use,
To take time off without an excuse;
Offering an hour or two, and even a day,
To spend as they wish without losing pay;
Just cash in their coupon whenever they need,
Establishing good staff relations, yes indeed!!!


Tip to reward your staff: A tatts ticket in the hope of winning it big along with a shopping voucher.


Tip to reward your staff: A thoughtful way to convey appreciation to our hard working (predominantly female) staff was a day of pampering at an exotic day spa, with the team selecting their own full day treatments. An extremely relaxed and vibrant team emerged at the end of the day ready for holidays and the new business year. We’ve found that annual dinner and drinks in the city is easily forgotten with little benefit to the team or the business. A relaxed day in an open environment helps the team unwind, take time to chat about future ambitions and provides a chance for management to make small yet memorable comments about each team members’ contribution to the business. We want to keep our staff happy and relaxed, not intoxicated and ambivalent.
– Dr Fern Trinh


Tip to reward your staff: Common sense as a business owner will guide you to make sure what ever you give as a gift will be tax deductible! Therefore, it must relate to your business! A perfect example is a printer 😉
– Lee


Tip to reward your staff: Warm fuzzy feelings! Print everyone out some cute Chrissie cards and hold a little Christmas lunch. At the lunch, draw names out of a hat to win a great Xmas present. That way, you only have to fork out for 1 big present, and everybody’s happy because everyone has a chance to win!
– Kristy Fields


Tip to reward your staff: Pay a few credits on a credit card and use your business credit card points to redeem department store vouchers for your staff to use.


Tip to reward your staff: Often the most effective and cheapest way to deliver reward to your staff is simply to say “thank you”. Do not just do this at Christmas, but all year round, and you will have staff that feel important and valued.


Tip to reward your staff: It would be four double tickets to see any Hoyts movie Gold Class screening as these days a movie outing is a rare treat due to the cost factor. Staff have been offered a Christmas party and that worked as no-one got drunk or sexually amorous. Nothing has bombed.
– Phillip Cunningham


Tip to reward your staff: In April this year we had a record year but rather than paying our four (female) staff a bonus or payrise we gave them an award each and a $100 beauty voucher. For example, one received the Persistance Award, another received the Initiative Award. Each included an ornament/trophy that symbolised their quality like the Calm Award was a small Buddha, the Persistance Award was a small elephant. These were presented at the end of our off-site conference and were very well received.
– Nicola Rutzou


Tip to reward your staff: I have always believed that a cash gift of anything up to the equivalent of a week’s pay is highly valued, particularly if given to each person by the boss – no one else and the confirmation that the recipient had made a great contribution to the success of the business. Too many small business owners are relectant to tell thier employees that they are working in a successful business. Telling your people does not mean they want more; they do want to tell others of the success.
– Ron Courtney


Tip to reward your staff: Scratchy, because it gives them an opportunity to win money!
– Jana Jaros


Tip to reward your staff: This is where partnering arrangements are great. I have offered my services/products to one of my own service providers (accountant, financial planner) to a specific value and they in turn have agreed to provide a free service to my personnel (a financial planning session, tax advice etc) to the same value. I strengthen a relationship; a service provider gets to see our work first hand (potential new client); my people get a valuable service that they may not have gone out to look for and the service provider gets the opportunity to market to new potential clientele. Everyone wins!
– Andrew Graham


Tip to reward your staff: Three days paid holiday extra, when they like to take it.
– Barbara Fehmel


Tip to reward your staff: Given that you have created a workplace that your team (not staff) enjoy coming into each day, pay rises are not an issue. First, your team should fit with your culture, you should be able to interact with them comfortably and they with you. If they need time to visit their child at school or a doctor’s appointment this should be allowed as it creates a sense of obligation that comes with a close knit group. The occaisional function or if the budget can stretch it weekend away (including partners) further solidifies this bond between team and captain. Wages and salaries are not the most important issue to employees, security and flexibility are more sought after, and creating the right environment reduces the need to be deliberating constantly over wage increase requests.
– John Heagney


Tip to reward your staff: A bonus afternoon to buy themselves a Christmas present – at our cost! $100 cash, two hours and a follow up show-and-tell at a company “high tea”. The staff get a chance to indulge themselves, without the guilt of spending their time or money on themselves!!


Tip to reward your staff: We always have a Christmas party weekend getaway with staff where we go hire a bungalow up the coast and stay there for the weekend. It always worked. Not only did we get the chance to know each other better, we always ended up having more collaborative environment afterwards.


Tip to reward your staff: Give a gift that is greater than the sum total and acknowledges that people you work with have a life and inner life outside of work. My favourite is a magazine subscription to “Dumbo Feather . . pass it on”. Actually it’s a “mook” – half magazine half book. Each issue tells five individual stories. It explores their passions and inspirations. Full of refreshing life lessons… easy to relax and bliss out. Printed on 100% recycled paper too.
– Penny Liddington


Tip to reward your staff: The best one I have head of was a shopping event. Staff were all given cash, driven to the Richmond factory outlet area and told they had to return all unspent cash at the end of one hour (with receipts). The result was staff had a fun time and were reminded all year round how much their boss cared.
– Brendan Lewis


Tip to reward your staff: Christmas hampers – they contain goodies which we purchase at warehouse prices, meaning that the average hamper is worth $50 to each staff member, but cost us around $30.


Tip to reward your staff: Taking them to Germany for a white Christmas.


Tip to reward your staff: Give them paid leave. So they can have a break and still get paid.


Tip to reward your staff: It’s simple, it’s cheap, it’s effective – talk to your staff. Ask: “What would make a difference in your career/life instead of a pay rise?” You’ll be surprised at how “do-able” most responses to this quiestion are!
– Victoria Furrer-Brown


Tip to reward your staff: Once a fortnight every employee has a two hour lunch if they have not been away. Because it is so much fun, the staff don’t want to miss it and I have had less sick days. I also shout the first round of non-alcoholic drinks and four bowls of chips. Nothing like a bit of fun and a freebie to excite the staff.
– Sharon Thompson


Tip to reward your staff: If a pay rise is not on the cards, then maybe show your staff how important the company values family at Christmas and give the staff members time off between Christmas and new year at the company’s expense and not taken from their leave entitlements.
– Julie Turner


Tip to reward your staff: The gift of time. Depending on how big your organisation is, one day off for a small orgaisation and two days for a large organisation. This is at a mutually agreeable time but very useful if staff want to celebrate something like a birthday and it happens to fall during the week or staff with children can have that time with them.
– Julie Hall


Tip to reward your staff: By empowering and listening to staff gives them a real sense of engagement. Always do what you say. If $$ can’t be found ask them what they want as a substitute to the same value.


Tip to reward your staff: A Christmas dinner with their spouse, a significant David Jones gift card, a hamper to share with their household and a day off of their choice in the new year to live more of their life.


Tip to reward your staff: Have a masseuse visit once per week and set aside a small area for a midweek rejuvination. Staff will feel the benefits, and so will your productivity levels.


Tip to reward your staff: Good health – many companies are providing onsite/in the office medical assessments. This is great to demonstrate that the organisation cares and as most males don’t have a GP this might actually save their life. It can cost as much as $1000 or as little as $65 – but the value of good health is priceless.
– Scott Gaffney


Tip to reward your staff: Time is a precious commodity, so to be able to take time off over the Christmas break without these days coming out of the annual leave is a bonus that cannot be replaced. It allows for time to travel back to the home town and back again without having to make the journey in peak times.


Tip to reward your staff: Appreciation on a regular basis is the best gift you can give staff but don’t leave it unitl Christams to say thanks! And it’s always nice to recognise them in other ways so if you can’t afford a pay rise or bonus, then give them a day off to enjoy with their family or friends. It doesn’t cost that much but it says you have a heart and soul.


Tip to reward your staff: One of my team is studying a part-time degree – I offered her a notebook in place of her desktop computer for next year, allowing her more flexibility to study and work from home. The extension of trust was a hit. Also, gave her five additional days paid study.


Tip to reward your staff: Enlist the services of consultants to nurture your staff members about nutrition and diet, work life balance, grooming etc.


Tip to reward your staff: Salary-sacrifice for something they need that can be seen to have a business purpose, such as a laptop, wireless set-up, colour laser printer, BlackBerry, etc.


Tip to reward your staff: A bonus is tax inefficient and the staffer gets very little of what it costs you. Make a contribution to their super and explain clearly why and what the tax benefit is to them.
– M Dennis Polivnick


Tip to reward your staff: Gym membership – everyone feels better after a workout!
– Linda Fairbairn


Tip to reward your staff: Let the staff build up flexi days. They probably work extra anyway. Let them cash in this time for a long weekend each month.
– Simon Paton


Tip to reward your staff: Advise staff that on their birthdays this will be a paid leave day and if their birthday falls on the weekend they can take the next business day off.


Tip to reward your staff: An interior decorator for their office or work space. Never tried it, but it’d sure make work easier and more organised if it was pleasant to work in and things could be found easier.
– James


Tip to reward your staff: As a young business, creating incentive for staff via pay rises has always been a danger, because there are always larger firms that can offer more. Instead, we have focused on the working environment, and really getting the staff to be a part of the business. The clincher during salary reviews or Christmas bonuses has been buffing up our profit-share arrangements with key staff. Profit-share has helped us retain great people, who are otherwise not getting what they could elsewhere in terms of salary. It also frees up cash that would otherwise go towards bonuses or full increases, as well as easing the financial burden during Christmas, and creating a win-win situation between the staff and business.


Tip to reward your staff: I would love to have a longer lunch break at least once a week. At the moment I get half an hour. One or one-and-a-half hours would allow me to have a good look around the shops and feel like I am not rushing every lunch time. Perhaps if your staff already get an hour, an extra half hour to one hour a week would be appreciated.
– Amanda Broadbridge


Tip to reward your staff: Time off or flex-time… it allows people to work hard, but get rewarded with three day weekends, etc.


Tip to reward your staff: Extra holidays with loved ones, time in leiu, a meal out, massage vouchers and how about a THANK YOU (it’s not the same as cash but certainly assists). There are thousands of things to do daily.
– Steph Rawnsley


For more Tips and Ideas see our Business Information Section.



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