Thu 22 Sep 2011
Just because you own and operate a small business doesn't mean you can't compete with giant corporations for qualified staff. Sure, the right salary is important, but there are several other factors that help a potential employee choose your small business over an internationally recognized brand name. And part of that attraction is in the form of employee benefits and company perks.
In this article, we assume you already offer the list of usual employee benefits such as paid vacation, health/dental, 401(k), etc. What really can solidify a long-term relationship with employees are the additional employee perks not found elsewhere, even in the corporations.
Here is a potential list of employee perks and additional company benefits you could integrate into your total compensation package.
Whether employees work a full-time schedule or part time, one very attractive employee perk is the ability to be flexible in scheduling those hours. Flextime means that you and the employee agree on a schedule that fits both your business needs and the employee's needs. For instance, in many small companies, the accountant is not required to be at the job during all business hours. She may prefer a 6am to 3pm schedule to accommodate her children getting home from school. As long as the work gets done, the time could be flexible.
In some cases, employees may not even have to be on-site. Many people would enjoy an employee benefit of staying home to work, or telecommuting. It would require a remote computer network set up and telephone. However, in most cases, an employee could get the same work done at home as at the office. Ultimately, this could save you money on the size of space you rent.
Instant Monetary Rewards
Workers love monetary employee benefits. You could issue $5 or $10 gift cards to employees who accomplish certain tasks. Or even a larger $250 cash bonus reward for suggesting a new and more efficient process.
Other uncommon employee perks is actually having on-site child or pet care. Child care is an absolute necessity for young parents, and this service on-site could really help attract and retain your best employees. Even on-site doggy day care has been adopted by many small businesses to help employees stay in touch with their pets while at work.
Interest-Free Computer Loan
This employee benefit has been adopted by many companies, including small businesses. Though the cost of personal computers has dropped considerably since the beginning of the 21st century, they can still be difficult to purchase as an initial cash outlay. Consider an employee perk where you offer to pay for the computer and then take small installments out of regular paychecks for 6 months until the loan is paid off.
Free or Discount Products/Services
Many small business owners have no problem giving steep discounts or even free products or services as an employee benefit. For instance, if you are a CPA, you could offer free tax preparation service to your five employees. Or offer "employee prices" on your retail products.
Most workers must commute. And free or reduced prices on parking or transit fees are always a welcome employee benefit. If you're in the 'burbs and have plenty of parking, this may not be an issue. However, if you are located in a central business district or downtown in a major metropolis, this employee perk will be attractive to current and potential employees.
Paid Community Volunteer Hours
Some people like to give back. Consider an employee benefit where you will pay up to 3 to 5 hours a week/month to volunteer. This would allow employees to volunteer for SMART reading programs or to help with their local charity.
It's difficult to complete errands while at work. Consider hiring a local "errand" concierge service that your employees can use once or twice a week for picking up dry cleaning, getting the dog to the grooming service, etc.