Attracting good talent is difficult, especially for smaller businesses. Candidates tend to seek big names for their resumes in the hopes of better career opportunities in the future, as well as for some very cool perks offered by big companies.
The truth is, small businesses offer just as many, if not more, opportunities to learn, grow and advance. But how can small businesses compete with perks offered by corporate giants? The steadily increasing minimum wages make staying competitive all the more difficult.
Below are some ideas of employee perks that are free (or almost free). Some of these perks are proudly offered at Farnham , and others are ideas we got from our clients. These will certainly not replace the basics, such as health insurance plans, but will help set your business aside from the competition in the fight for talent retention.
Time is money. So why not reward your people with time? If some of your salaried employees are asked to put in extra time to complete a project or meet a deadline, why not allow them to bank that time to be used as time off in the future, when things are not busy? We have found that it really changes people’s attitude about overtime hours and helps with morale during busy times. It would be a good idea to require that this time off is approved, much like regular vacation, to ensure you can manage your staffing.
How many times have you looked around the office and noticed that people are just acting busy because they have to sit at their desk for a certain number of hours? What if all the work is done and chaining your valued employees to their workstations provides little or no benefit to the company. Could expectations be shifted from focusing on the number of hours worked to a number of completed tasks? If all the work is done, why not allow your team to leave early? Rely on your management team to decide whether the work meets your quality standards before permission to leave early is given.
We are often so busy, that we forget to stop and smell the roses. Ask for employees to form a social committee to take charge of getting the team together to celebrate birthdays, hold a potluck, dress up for Halloween, form a sports team, celebrate important company milestones, etc. The cost is minimal, but the payoff is great. The workplace starts resembling a family environment, which makes it that much harder for your top talent to leave.
If casual Fridays are not yet a policy, make it one. If Fridays are already casual, consider if more casual days should be allowed. Employees often comment that they feel more productive when they are wearing more comfortable attire.
No gym on-site? No problem! Organize a daily walking group, hold a yoga class in your boardroom or run a stair-climbing competition. These activities are great for team building and help your team de-stress.
If your company offers extended health benefits, your employees likely already have coverage for massages. Why not have an RMT come to your office every week? This perk seems luxurious, but in actuality costs very little to the company.
It is amazing what a bowl of fruit and snacks and a free pot of coffee in the kitchen does for productivity. We find that employees really appreciate this small gesture, and with on-line grocery delivery services, it is very easy to execute.
This list is not all inclusive. To help narrow it down, consider the company’s core values. Are you passionate about health and wellness, community involvement, professional development, or something else? Make employees aware of the benefits available to them, then send regular surveys asking for feedback and to get new ideas. You might be surprised to find that some staff will take a keen interest in helping facilitate/champion some of these perks. And that is the biggest perk of all – a sense of ownership in the company you work for.