Besides being exciting to work at because it places employees at the cutting edge of an industry, giants across all industries also have incredible benefits packages that help attract and retain the best employees.

This puts smaller companies at a considerable disadvantage. They usually do not have the financial means to offer a year’s worth of parental leave (Netflix) or egg freezing (Apple) to their employees.

Not being able to attract and retain high-quality employees can seriously hinder a company’s growth. Luckily, though, there are perks you can offer your employees that won’t break the bank.

It will require a bit of creativity and invention but will eventually pay off significantly.

Flexible hours

Running a workplace with flexible hours is one of the most affordable perks you can offer your employees.

Even if your business requires typical working hours, there is a way to get around it.

Try to organize your operations in such a way that allows for some flexibility or consider remote work as an option.

Work from home has been imposed somewhat harshly on many employees, but it showed promising results across industries.

It saves your employees’ time and allows them to better organize their private duties.

Moreover, it allows companies to redirect funds to other, more critical areas. If there’s no need for a big office anymore, a smaller one with lower rent will do perfectly.

Also, not having to adhere to the classic 9-to-5 will be highly beneficial for your employees.

Firstly, it allows for easier maintenance of the work-life balance.

This, in turn, makes your employees more efficient and motivated to do their best while they are at work.

Your employees who are raising young children or taking care of an elderly parent or relative will be particularly appreciative.

Another inexpensive perk that is quickly gaining popularity is Summer Fridays. By targeting Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you’re providing your employees with a paid day off when it matters the most.

However, flexible summer hours are not the only way to prevent burnout and make your workers happier and more productive.

North European countries such as Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands have adopted a 4-day 8-hour workweek, and the results are expectedly positive.

Until that becomes a worldwide practice, you can consider following their example and become a leader in your respective industry.

Commuter benefits

Long commutes to and from work feel like a necessary evil of modern life. There is not much employers can do to eliminate this nuisance, but there are ways to alleviate it.

Perhaps, many employees wouldn’t even mind it as much if the travel expenses didn’t end up eating a large chunk of their monthly earnings. This is where commuter benefits would come in.

Employers can consider several options and see what might be feasible. Yearly train tickets or organizing a company-wide carpool system are among the top choices.

Commuter benefits don’t just help with the expenses. They also signal to employees that their comfort and well-being are important to the employer.

Employers should try to signal this to their employees as often as possible. If any changes need to be made, consider including your entire team in the decision-making process.

For example, moving offices can be quite stressful for the entire company. If you are moving further away, it could be the first time you ever had to consider commuter benefits. Before you pick new offices and find relocation assistance with ease, make sure to canvas your employees about the move to be able to predict any adjustments that will have to be made.

Wellness programs

In 2018, the Integrated Benefits Institute came out with a report which stated that employees’ poor health costs American businesses $530 billion per year for lost productivity.

Companies pay nearly $880 billion in health care benefits for employees and their dependents.

This is all to say that the staff’s poor health can cost your business much more than any perks you can offer your employees that would keep them in better shape.

Wellness programs are varied and provide an opportunity to help your employees take better care of their health. Besides boosting their physical well-being, it can also increase their productivity and office morale.

Many employers opt for social-based wellness programs with gamification. These programs help create a sense of community while simultaneously nurturing a culture of health.

It all depends on what you can afford. You can even opt for an on-site gym or give away a subsidized gym membership.

When deciding on the wellness program, think outside the box.

Pizza and snacks are popular treats but don’t go well with a mostly sedentary lifestyle.

You can opt for healthy chef-cooked meals that can be delivered to your office and offer your employees to choose their weekly menu.

This perk won’t break your bank if you subscribe for a larger number of meals in the long-term.

Bereavement leave

Most of these perks have two goals – showing employees they are cared for and appreciated and ensuring they are in the best possible position and state of mind to be efficient and productive in the workplace.

Bereavement leave is something that is talked about more and more. Having a clear company policy for this issue will achieve the goals mentioned above.

The loss of a family member, close friend, or partner is an earthshattering experience. It is no wonder that the Grief Recovery Institute reports that 85 percent of surveyed employees described their decision-making as very poor or fair in the time following the loss of a loved one.

Providing time for employees to deal with such a colossal event in their lives shows you care for their mental well-being as much as you do for physical.

It also ensures that they are their best, most stable self once they come back to work, eliminating any possibility of errors and poor decision-making.

A more casual workplace

According to inc.com, millennials comprise about half of the American workforce in 2020.

Certain workplace trends come with this generation of employees. While some might lament the casualization of the workplace, there is no denying the fact that it makes for more comfortable and pleasurable surroundings.

It is also one of the perks you can offer your employees that won’t break the bank.

One of the ways you can go about it is clothes. Many offices have designated casual-wear days, usually Fridays.

This allows the employees to feel a bit more relaxed and express their personal preferences through their clothes.

These individual choices can be great conversation-starters within the office. They can allow both the employer and employees to learn a bit more about one another.

Another option is making the offices pet-friendly. Studies have shown that having pets around has a calming effect – not just on their owners but everyone around them.

Pets have also been known to help reduce stress and increase productivity within the workplace. Finally, they introduce an element of fun and a welcome respite from the stress of doing business.

When you think about employee perks, also think about rewards. The first come as guaranteed benefits and are often taken for granted.

On the other hand, a well-conceived reward plan will continually motivate your employees and make them look at everyday duties from a different perspective.

This is simply because salary and benefits are predictable results of one’s professional engagement. Frequent, achievable competitions will allow your employees to express their creative side and discover how to be more efficient.

Moreover, it will help reduce their stress. If you shift their perception of work toward healthy competition, it will break the monotony of a workweek.

Rewards can be anything like a shorter shift, longer breaks, or a day off.

Bottom line

Employee benefits package matters; that much is clear to entrepreneurs and big companies alike.

Worker retention has become a contest between HRs. Who’s going to come up with the most favorable perks?

While big players can afford it, small businesses drop out of the competition. And yet, there is a way for minor players to remain in the game.

The solution is in a creative approach and, most importantly, giving employees what they need.

Not two businesses are the same, which implies that two identical sets of benefits will not achieve the same results.

Knowing who makes the majority of your employees will make it easier to discern which perks will be the most appreciated and look for the affordable ones.

Employers shouldn’t shy from asking their employees directly what they expect. After all, listening to your workforce and solving their work-related problems will not only increase their productivity and job satisfaction but increase company loyalty.

You do want your employees to resist other offers, don’t you?

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