A happy employee is a loyal employee. At one time, yearly raises were enough to keep employees satisfied and productive. Today, it takes more than just money to keep an employee on your payroll. Workers want to feel valued and appreciated. They also value work-life balance more than a higher paycheck. Here are seven ways to improve employee satisfaction without giving raises. 1. Make Work-Life Balance a Priority Today’s workers are concerned about maintaining a healthy work-life balance. There are several ways to support employees in achieving this goal of a more fulfilled, balanced life. One way to make work-life balance a priority is embrace the concept of “flextime,” which allows workers to have flexible work hours or days. There are several ways to go about doing this: Offer an hour range (30-40 hours per week) Weekly hour requirements, spread out however the employee chooses No requirements as long as the work gets done Flextime allows employees to enjoy life outside of the workplace. They are able to get the work done, but still attend their child’s soccer game or pursue hobbies. In addition to or instead of flextime, you can support telecommuting. Many employers today are allowing employees to work from home at least one day per week. Studies have shown that workers are up to 13% more productive when working from home compared to the office. Giving employees the option of telecommuting allows them to take care of important things, like caring for a sick child or taking care of personal needs, without having to sacrifice a work day. 2. Offer More Vacation Time To further encourage a healthy work-life balance, offer employees more vacation time. One option is to reward your top performers with incremental vacation days. Of course, you can offer your employees more vacation time as whole. If you currently offer three weeks paid vacation, maybe you can up it to four weeks of vacation time. Vacation time gives employees the opportunity to rest and recharge. In addition to more vacation time, you might consider offering more time off for maternity/paternity leave. Benefits like this attract young, talented employees and will keep them around. 3. Foster a Positive, Safe Work Environment Rarely do employees leave because they aren’t paid enough. In many cases, employees quit because they don’t get along with their boss or they no longer find the work to be rewarding. Fostering a positive, safe work environment can help keep employees around. Make employees feel appreciated. Acknowledge their accomplishments. Encourage creativity and friendships among workers. Buy groups lunch. Hire the right people to manage. If managers are upbeat and positive, the rest of the staff will follow their example. To further encourage positivity in the workplace and promote communication, create common areas where employees can share ideas. A casual conversation in a break area can quickly turn into a collaborative one. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that workers feel safe. Make sure that your equipment is in good repair and offer safety training in languages your employees understand. A positive, safe work environment will improve retention rates, as workers will look forward to going to work each day. 4. Recognize and Reward Employees Build employees up. Recognized – publicly – and reward their achievements. Employees are motivated by the prospect of being recognized for their achievements. Reward risk and achievement. Give the employee a day off or pay for dinner. Small rewards add up to employees feeling valued and respected in the workplace. Thank or acknowledge an employee during a meeting for an achievement. These are small and simple acts, but they add up to employees feeling appreciated. 5. Offer Learning and Development Opportunities Some employees leave because they are bored with their work and feel there is no way forward in their current position. Offer employees more opportunities for learning and development. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center Survey, 87% of respondents believed that ongoing training and development was critical throughout their working life. They feared falling behind in the ever-changing workplace. Allow employees to learn and explore to discover hidden talents and learn new skills. Afford these employees opportunities to put these new discoveries and skills to use. 6. Offer Unique Benefits and Perks Another way to keep employees happy is to offer unique benefits and perks. These can include: A dog-friendly policy. Allowing workers to bring their dogs to work can help decrease stress, encourage employees to engage with one another and help foster a more positive work environment. Offer free, healthy lunches. If your budget allows, serve employees a healthy lunch on the house. Nutrient-dense food will also help keep employees focused throughout the rest of the day. Processed or fast food, on the other hand, can leave employees feeling sluggish and tired. Offer gym memberships. Encourage employees to lead active lifestyles. Offer company bikes to encourage employees to bike to work. Promoting healthy, active lifestyles can help keep employees happy while potentially reducing sick days. Provide child care or child care assistance to employees. Some companies offer a daycare program on-site, so parents are never too far from their kids. Other companies offer childcare reimbursement. This is one perk that employees will appreciate, as childcare costs are high – $972 a month on average. Provide education reimbursement. Another way to encourage development and learning is to offer education, or tuition, reimbursement. This provides employees with the opportunity to further their education without going bankrupt. Offering unique perks and benefits can help attract top talent and keep them around. Find benefits that fit into your budget, and focus on ones that employees will truly value. 7. Treat Employees Like Family Make employees feel like family. Listen to what they have to say, pay attention to their lives, remember important things. Acknowledge employee birthdays and important life milestones. Celebrate achievements and special occasions as a team; as a work family. Treating employees like family goes back to making your staff feel valued and appreciated. If management doesn’t even know the names of those working in their department, how can employees feel that they matter?