Get Creative With Compensation

When paying employees, consider incentives other than cash

Emphasize the vision. If you are passionate about your company and can articulate your plan for the future, whether it’s to make a difference in the community or to become the biggest company in your field, you may be able to convince someone to get in on the ground floor. Some people like small businesses and “get turned on by that kind of challenge,” says Dresdene Flynn-White, a business coach based in Alpharetta, Georgia. After all, with small businesses there is often plenty of room for growth and the opportunity to effect change.

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Explore benifits. While you may not be able to pay for extensive benefits packages, you may be able to offer more than you think. Many companies have programs in which they share the costs of benefits with employees, or “the employee bears the total cost, but they’re able to get into a [lower-priced] group plan because they’re working under the umbrella of a company,” Flynn-White says. An employee benefits broker can explain your options.

Get creative. Structure the compensation you offer in a way that works for your business. For example, a low salary could be coupled with an incentive program or a commission-based system that rewards employees financially when the business does well. Flynn-White stresses that the ultimate goal in luring experienced employees is creating a win-win for all involved.

This story originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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