9 Competitive Benefits for Small Businesses

June 14, 2017 Pete Jansons

You can’t always offer the competitive salaries that bigger companies can; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t compensate with benefits. Investing in employee benefits can provide a huge return. There are plenty of low-cost benefits you can offer employees that will keep them healthy, happy and engaged in their work, which will benefit your business in the long-term. Not only that, the better the benefits, the more you will be able to attract top talent. Below are just some of the many benefits to consider.

Health care. Deciding on the right health care plan for your small business can be complicated; however, most employees want and expect a health plan as part of their benefits package. Therefore, offering health insurance, even if it’s not required for your small business, can be a competitive differentiator in a tight labor market. For help figuring out how to navigate the laws and regulation that apply to your business under various health plans, check out the Department of Labor’s Health Benefits Advisor interactive website, Health Care and Health Care Reform page and An Employer’s Guide to Group Health Continuation Coverage Under COBRA.

Flex time. Giving employees more flexibility with their work schedules can help them achieve a better work-life balance. Giving employees the resources necessary to create a healthy work-life balance can result in higher levels of job satisfaction, productivity and retention, among other advantages.

Corporate discounts. Gone are the days when only large companies could get corporate discounts for products and services. Companies like PerkSpot, Fond and Corporate Perks help small businesses provide discounts for employees on everything from gym memberships to dining and entertainment to travel services.

Casual Fridays: In a 2015 CareerBuilder survey, the ability to wear jeans to work was among the top five most-wanted perks among employees. Even allowing employees to wear jeans or more casual attire on Fridays can have numerous benefits. Not only can it boost morale, but some believe it can increase creativity and productivity among employees as well.

Free food: Providing free office snacks (or lunch) can be a huge competitive advantage when it comes to attracting top talent. Not only is free food at the office a desirable office perk (catered lunches ranked among the top three most-wanted office perks in the same CareerBuilder study), research has linked it to higher levels of happiness at work, which can lead to higher levels of productivity and retention. But don’t think any snack will do. Healthy snacks (fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, yogurt, etc.) are better to keep employees focused and energized (prevent those 2 pm sugar crashes).

Pet-friendly offices: This is another benefit that will cost you next to nothing but could reap huge rewards in terms of higher productivity and retention. Not only does letting employees bring their cats or dogs to work relieve them of the stress of finding a dog-sitter, having animals around can also decrease stress levels among all employees.

Unlimited vacation: Offering unlimited vacation time to employees certainly comes with risks. What if employees abuse the policy? But more and more companies are offering this option as a way to retain top employees and attract in-demand talent. Not only are employees responsible with the freedom, but they tend to work harder before and after their absences. Moreover, trusting employees with this freedom can promote feelings of loyalty and boost morale.

Volunteering days off: More companies are supporting employees’ philanthropic efforts by providing time off to volunteer. Others are organizing company-wide volunteer days, which is almost as good for your business as it is for the community. Not to mention that being a socially responsible company is an attractive feature for millennial workers who want to make a difference.

Game rooms. Game rooms may seem like a productivity-killing distraction, but they might do just the opposite. Not only can they provide a much-needed break from the daily grind, enabling employees to go back to their desk revitalized and ready to work, but they also promote cross-team interactions, which makes for better collaboration.

Looking for more ways to keep employees happy? Check out 6 Ways to Stop Employee Turnover In Its Tracks



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