Company budgets may not be stretching to merit increases, but when it comes to recruiting new employees and keeping existing ones, organizations are increasingly turning to alternative and incidental bonuses.

That's according to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management, which said that the bonuses don't even necessarily take the form of cash but can be in other forms, such as training or increased career development opportunities. Such bonuses are incident-based rewards, and are not the same as variable-pay incentive bonus programs that typically provide periodic annual, or even quarterly, payouts.

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