When you cannot give staff a raise, what other ways can you let them know you value them?

Assuming your company has frozen salary increases for all staffers, the first step is to ensure the mandate has been communicated and includes a clear message on why.

Assuming your company has frozen salary increases for all staffers, the first step is to ensure the mandate has been communicated and includes a clear message on why. When companies are transparent in their messages, there is a greater chance of gaining employee understanding and acceptance.

The second step in retaining your top performers during such periods is to learn more about what really motivates them. You can accomplish this through asking lots of questions and actively listening.

You might think employees are primarily motivated by compensation, when in reality, they are more motivated by challenging work and having a better work-life balance. With that information, you are now armed with your answer: Find a new and challenging work assignment and talk about a flexible work schedule.

Employees who feel appreciated by their managers are more likely to stay, even when pay increases stop. The organization might need to temporarily halt salary increases, but you can pay more attention to all the other needs of those staffers.

Laura Smith is MD of HR at Edelman.

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