12 Low-cost but Super-Awesome Employee Perks your Small Business Can Offer
For small businesses, what you pay people is not always as important as what benefits you provide them. Employees look not just for salary but for what other benefits they can gain from a company. Aside from the quintessential health insurance or dental insurance, there are key benefits that top performing employees look for in a new job. For example, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that people are attracted to positions where there is room to grow, so they know that they won't be stagnant, stuck in the same job with the same responsibilities until they retire. People also want companies that care about employees and about employee health - and show it through their employee benefits and perk offers. There are many ways that you can show you care and keep the best team members on staff. Here’s 12 for you to consider…
Have pet day once every quarter. With Pet Day people can bring their dog to work or their cat and the office will be a furry friendly place. If you offer pet day it doesn't have to be something you do regularly this can't simply be a perk that you do want a recorder or once every year, even once every month if you feel so inclined. But make a big deal out of it by having water bowls and a few extra pet snacks on hand.
When you see that people are starting to get burned out, create special job titles for them so that a promotion is in hand. The promotions don't have to come with huge benefits. Even a simple increase in income of $20 per month and a new job title can go a long way toward showing an individual that they are valued. Plus, it shows that you and your company are willing to grow along with your most valued employees.
Give your employees more flexibility for their paid time off. Don't force them to only use it only a specific time of the year or to use it all at once. Consider allowing people to save up their time off if they feel so inclined rather than forcing them to use it within a certain amount of time. You may also consider starting an open vacation PTO plan, where employees can take off as many days as they’d like to in a year (within your specified limits and approval).
Recycling and Eco Initiatives
Recycling and eco-friendly initiatives are always important. People want to see that the company for which they work gives back to the community. By offering recycling initiatives you can show your investment in but only the environment but in the community in which you operate.
On-Demand, Self-Serve Drink Machines
Most people are familiar with the Keurigs, Sodastreams and self serve espresso machines that have taken the market by storm lately. But did you know there are self serve drink machines that are made with businesses in mind? Contingent upon the rate you pay your employees, a drink machine in the break room can be cost-effective for you. Lavit, for example, is an in-office, self-serve drink machine that creates delicious beverages (still or sparkling) using filtered water. This type of system brings with it a variety of drinks that simply aren't found elsewhere and focus heavily on the overall healthiness of what employees consum. With 25+ low-calorie drinks, low sugar, and no sugar options, using a machine like Lavit can show your employess that you not only care about their health, but are happy to provide them with choices when it comes to how they snack and hydrate throughout the day.
If you have a small business you can offer commuter benefits for those you know are coming from out of town. Add in the cost of a train pass for those who take a commuter train. Simple things like this will help companies retain the skills of people who might live out of town.
Reward people in the office with birthday gifts. You may also consider celebrating birthdays with a company-wide event! For example, each month you could go to lunch as a company on the company's tab to account for all of the birthdays that take place that month.
Offer personalized gifts for work anniversaries. This could be the anniversary of someone who has only been with the company for 1 year or the anniversary of someone who has been with the company for 10 years. Small gifts can be something as simple as a new office mug, that blue light machine that your employee has been talking about buying for the winter months, or new office stationery. Even small gestures will go a very long way toward reminding employees that you care about them and that you don't see them as just another faceless member in the machine.
Work from Home Days
Plenty of companies try to liven things up in the workplace by offering a casual dress day but you can take things one step further by offering work-from-home days. This can be a specific day each week where everyone works from home or you can allow employees to pick the date they work from home. If you opt for the latter, you might find that employees are significantly more grateful because that will allow them the opportunity to randomly pick Tuesday as the day they stay home one week because Tuesday happens to be the day that one of their children needs to be picked up early and they can use their lunch break to pick up their child. This type of flexibility shows that you care about your employees and their personal life more than just the profits they bring to your office.
Having gym benefits or access to work out classes will improve the overall health and energy of your employees. If, for example, you have the space to do it, you could hire professionals to offer workout classes once or twice per week, so that all employees have to stop what they're doing and get the blood flowing a little bit. Regularly taking breaks and allowing for improved blood flow encourages creativity and focus. Cognitive skills decline when employees sit for too long and stay otherwise sedentary. There is a gym nearby you could offer a company gym membership so that employees can take breaks when they need to or reap the benefits after work.
Studies have found that unstructured social time in the office and outside of the office are not only a great way for people to blow off some steam, but to collaborate and come up with creative ideas. Happy hours might allow one employee to express a complaint or frustration with sum function within the office at which point other employees time in that they have also experienced that same frustration. This allows for everyone to feel as though their voice has been heard, the issue is one that multiple people face not just one person, and even throws out different ideas for how to fix it in the future.
Continual training is imperative for long-term company growth. Continuing education whether it is by way of a single class taken online, a physical course offered for a few hours each week during the work day, or anything else, will improve skills and knowledge. Allowing employees the time and money doesn't have to break the bank. Consider that long-term you can offer a stipend of just a few hundred dollars for certifications. A $500 voucher for IT certifications forces employees to do the studying on their own especially if you offer all of the study materials through an educational library on-site, and then take the test without spending as much of their hard-earned money. This gives employees the opportunity to improve their efficiency in the workplace, learn new skills, and improve their chances for promotions. Offering annual stipends, for example, will encourage people to learn a new skill at least once per year so that they are always improving and therefore always bringing more to the company table.
We went over 12 low-cost employee perks you can offer, but incorporating even one of these perks will go a long way toward improving employee satisfaction in their current positions and provide you with the opportunity to increase long-term loyalty. If you want to improve your employee benefits package, but can only swing one or two of these perks, you could try taking a poll in the office to see what your employees value most!