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5 Ways to Give Your Team a Pay Raise Without Paying Them More

pay raise

How do you retain your best team members when you can’t pay them more? Is it possible to give them a pay raise that doesn’t involve actual dollars?

That’s an easier question to answer than you might imagine.

First, I believe every employer should pay their team members well. I’ve always tried to pay my staff a living wage—well enough that your team doesn’t have to worry about whether they can make rent or the mortgage payment, can eat well and provide for at least a normal standard of living.

Not only is that the right thing to do, but being cheap is more expensive in the long run.

Stressing out your employees by paying them poorly not only makes their life hard, but it dramatically increases turnover and makes it hard to attract and keep great people.

But that said, is pay the only want to motivate people?

When I was starting out in leadership, I thought it was. Apparently not. As studies increasingly show, money isn’t the motivator most of us think it is. Once you have your needs met, and especially if you make $75,000 a year or more, money stops being a powerful incentive.

So what really motivates people?

There are at least five other ways you can and should motivate your team that don’t involve money. Here are 5 things that can increase motivation and deepen engagement.

Here’s how to give someone on your team a pay raise without paying them more.


You know what most workers want more than anything? Freedom and autonomy.

Talk to most workers under 40 and what they deeply desire is freedom.

Freedom from the 9-5.

The autonomy to set their own work hours and locations (coffee shop, home, the back porch, a beach).

The desire to be evaluated not on the process (did you stay till 5?) but on the outcome (did you crush that project?).

Guess what? It’s 2019. You can give that kind of freedom.

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.