Top 10 Tips To Keeping Employees Happy Without A Raise

Are you looking for ways to retain your valuable employees without having to give a raise? Here are 10 tips for you!

August 8, 2022
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Employee happiness is a difficult concept to measure, but most employers need to realize the importance of a happy employee.  We could share a dozen employee stats related to workplace happiness with you, and all of them will say the same thing - happy employees are more productive. 

We know that a raise is a definite way of keeping employees incentivized, as it's in the employer's best interests to ensure their current employee pool is happy.

But, in today's economic climate, many employers are hesitant to give pay raises to their employees for fear of slowing their profit margin. The good news is that you don't have to break the bank.

In this article, we'll discuss the correlation between happy employees and productivity at work. And how employees can experience job satisfaction without a pay raise.

Let’s jump right in!

Why is it important to keep employees happy?

Research by Survey Monkey shows that happier employees are more engaged. And engaged employees show increased productivity and a lower rate of absenteeism.  Happy employees equal better efficiency and greater output. In turn, it translates to more satisfied customers and business growth for the company.

Therefore, while your customer's happiness is a priority, it’s also priority to ensure you have happy employees.

Here are three main reasons to keep your employees happy:

  1. Improved Company Image

Keeping your employees happy and engaged is a great way to boost company morale, building a better public image. Your employers have direct access to clients and represent the company in many ways. The company risks losing its clients if anything goes wrong with that representation. 

When people see that you care about your employees, they're more likely to want to work for you or buy from you. 

  1. Increased Profit

Happy employees are more productive than disgruntled ones. So, having happier employees means more efficiency at their jobs. You can get more done with fewer resources and make more money.

      3. Increased Employee Retention Rates

 Dissatisfied employees are more likely to look for other opportunities elsewhere. Keeping your employees happy and engaged will allow them to stick around longer. 

What is more important - higher salary or job satisfaction?

The simple answer is that, it depends. It depends on personal circumstances, goals, and reality. However, job satisfaction, in the long run, creates sustainable happiness.

Let's explain!

Although financial security is essential for employee satisfaction, a study by SHRM shows that it’s not the most important. A person can earn well and be unhappy at work because they don't feel appreciated or satisfied with their work. 

Employees working in an environment where they feel valued opens up room for personal and professional development. And these two things are often worth more than a higher raise. 

So, how else can you improve employee satisfaction without a raise? Here are ten ways to get you started:

10 effective ways you can keep employees happy without a raise

Keeping employees happy is a top priority, and if you cannot offer raises at the moment, there are other ways to create a happier workplace.

  1. Prioritize employee appreciation and recognition

A general rule of thumb is that people like being told they have done a good job after a good one. A work environment that rewards hard work, even the little efforts, will make its workers happier. 

Instead of waiting for one big yearly or monthly event to show appreciation to workers, incorporate it into your day-to-day. Workers will be motivated to put their best foot forward daily, knowing that it will be appreciated and rewarded. 

Assembly makes it easy for companies to incorporate employee appreciation and recognition into their daily workflow. 

  1. Give perks

Asides from health insurance, dental insurance, etc., you could offer employees certain perks that improve the quality of life of your workers. 

Some of those perks include;

  • Gadget allowance
  • Vacation Budget
  • Home office set-up
  • Paid time off for volunteering, etc.

When picking the perks employees will enjoy, the goal is to make them happy while improving their quality of life. 

  1. Resist the desire to micromanage

If your approach to leadership is the helicopter type, it’s probably time to land that helicopter. If you are constantly hovering, employees won't feel trusted enough to do their job. You must trust that you hired the right people for the job and let them do their job.

Employees are happier when they feel their inputs matter and can grow in their roles. And creating a working environment that accommodates mistakes is essential. 

  1. Listen to them

Your employees have a voice; don't make them feel like whatever they have to say is unimportant. If you have to make decisions about certain things in the company, ask the employees involved for their opinion.

The collective sense of asking for their advice and deliberating on them openly makes employees happier and more committed to the company.If you choose to set survey questions to get their opinions or opt for one-on-one meetings, Assembly can help you streamline the process and make it easier to follow.

  1. Focus on work-life balance

A healthy work environment is not just about perks and benefits. It also ensures that employees have a good work-life balance. 

When employees spend all their waking hours working and very little resting, it could affect their physical and mental health. And may eventually cause burnout after an extended period. 

All of these can be avoided by:

  • Offering flexible work options
  • Ensuring that workers take breaks 
  • Reviewing employee workload
  • Providing support for employees facing any problems from workplace stress
  1. Opportunities for progress

Stagnancy gets boring no matter how much you enjoy the task. A part of making your workers happy is creating a system for promoting workers who deserve it. There will always be something challenging to work towards when they know they won't be stuck in the same position as long as they put in the work.

For example, when a new position opens, consider your employees first and give them a chance to apply before considering an outside hire.

  1. Create opportunities for personal and professional growth

Personal and professional development comes with a level of satisfaction that makes workplace happiness possible. Some tips include:

  • Create opportunities for workers to gain new skills or brush up on old ones
  • Pay for training - physical or online training for employees
  • Try not to focus on only work-related skills

Employees who are satisfied in their personal and professional lives are happier.

  1. Refine your company culture

Overall, employees need to feel safe where they work. Bullying, sexual harassment, racism, homophobia, and other forms of intolerance should not be allowed. There should be strict rules to prevent employees from experiencing these things. And measures for disciplinary actions to be implemented when people derail. 

It’s also important to establish a culture of employee appreciation. This culture creates an environment of mutual respect and understanding. 

  1. More vacation days

Vacation days are essentially a company's way of saying, "We see everything you've been doing for the company, and we think you should take a few days off to relax." 

Now, that's bound to make anyone happy!

More vacation days will help butter your employees up if you cannot offer a pay raise.

10. Remote or hybrid work options

The Covid pandemic made it clear that work can happen just as effectively outside the office as in the office. If workers don't necessarily have to come to the office to get work done, give them the option to work remotely or hybrid.

The flexibility this will afford them will make them happy and, therefore, more productive.

The great news is that it is now easier to keep track of your remote team and ensure a well-defined workflow with Assembly.

Financial Security is Important, But Satisfaction is More Important

No matter what you offer as financial compensation, creating an environment that supports workplace satisfaction is imperative. There are numerous employee incentive programs to motivate workplace happiness.

With happy workers, you'll have fewer people resigning, more output, and increased growth in your business. It's an investment that will keep paying.

Schedule a time to learn more about how Assembly can help you build an environment for happy workers.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered