71a uses pay rises to motivate and reward employees

71a71a, a digital marketing agency that works with consumer finance brands, has not only given its eight full-time employees a pay rise this year to combat the increase of national insurance rates, but also upped wages by £1,500 in January in an attempt to help with increasing inflation.

According to the agency, the increases mean that employees do not have to adjust their lifestyles too drastically to compensate for things like rising inflation, national insurance rates, fuel, energy and food costs in an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.

Paying a workforce correctly and generously is essential to help them feel valued, rewarded and loyal, and does help to stop staff from moving to another organisation to chase a higher salary, say Edward Newman, founder and chief executive officer of 71a.

“It’s got to be a generous salary coupled with innovative, helpful benefits,” he says. “I don’t just give pay rises to retain the team. I do it because I believe it’s the right thing to do, to treat people with kindness, respect and humility. I don’t only offer benefits to keep my team loyal, I offer benefits because I know it’s how I would want to be treated.”

As part of its acknowledgement that pay rises do not motivate everyone to stay with an employer and that benefits can make a business stand out from the crowd, 71a offers an enterprise management incentive (EMI) share scheme. Staff are required to work for at least 25 hours a week, or spend 75% of their working time for the organisation in order to be eligible for the scheme, and need to be capable of exercising the shares within 10 years of working for the business. It also offers a four-day working week and flexi-time, which are both valued by the team.

Employers should give their staff regular pay rises to reward excellent performance, to demonstrate that the workforce is valued and to encourage loyalty, says Newman.

“Ultimately though, the number one reason employers should give their staff pay rises at the moment is simply because they need the money,” he says. “Even if [they] think a salary is generous, [they] must consider that individual’s circumstances. It’s also crucial to remember that not everyone is going to be comfortable asking for a pay rise and [employers] shouldn’t discriminate and give rises only to those that ask.”

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Not every employer will be able to give its employees a pay rise given the current cost-of-living crisis, so may want to work out other ways to reward them that will be genuinely helpful and beneficial, for example, offering more flexibility around working hours and even buying breakfast for everyone, says Newman.

“It removes a lot of time and stress out of morning routines and could encourage people back into the office too,” he concludes.