According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate at which small businesses offer certain benefits to employees is much lower than they offer them in larger businesses. For instance, the labor statistics report states that only 50 percent of small business employers offer retirement benefits compared to 79 percent of medium sized employers and 86 percent of larger employers offering the same benefits.
What this means is that smaller businesses, those that can’t compete with the larger businesses with traditional benefits packages, need to find innovative perks that will give them an edge over their competitors for the same talented pool of employees.
Follow Leaders of Work Perk Innovations
Until you have the hang of coming up with creative game-changing perks to offer top-tier employees, it’s best to understand the thinking of true work perk giants such as Google or Zappos.com. Both companies have a few impressive perks worth mentioning that businesses large and small would do well to study.
Google offers an impressive range of perks that include gourmet food, physicians on-site, and even death benefits to surviving spouses. The death benefits package is somewhat unique and extremely rare in that it provides the surviving partner or spouse a check amounting to 50 percent of the deceased employee’s salary every year for the next ten years. Beyond that children will receive a $1,000 payment each month until they reach the ages of 19 or 23 if the child is a full-time student. Zappos.com is reported to having a program where each employee is allocated $50 monthly to give to another employee performing above and beyond. The thinking here is this ups the game of the workforce as a whole.
While you don’t have to keep up with Google or Zappos.com in order to be competitive in most locations, it’s important to understand a little bit of the philosophy behind some of Google’s perk offerings. They believe that people who are happy with their employment situation will work harder in order to keep their positions. In turn, this results not only in higher productivity and project commitment, but overall talent retention.
But many companies, particularly start-ups, don’t have the budget for deep-pocket perks, like an elaborate death benefits program, but there are other more affordable, innovative perks worth a look. Here are just a few ideas to consider:
- Onsite haircuts
- Prepaid legal services
- Pet insurance
- Movie gift certificates
- Birthdays off
- On-site massages
- Mentoring programs
- Pets allowed on worksite
Figure Out What’s Really Important
Different things matter more to some employees than others. That said, there are some benefits that are popular with job seekers across the board. For example, career development and online conveniences are often at the top of the list of things employees want from their jobs.These are some of the more popular work perks you might want to consider offering to employees who have served you well over the years as well as to the young blood you’re trying to recruit in order to bring new life to your organization.
Popular traditional perks
- Subsidized education or career training
- Flexible work hours
- On-site child care
- On-site cafeterias
- Gym memberships/on-site fitness centers
- Telecommuting options
- Relocation assistance
- Wellness programs
- Subsidized transportation
- Retirement plans
Whether you go the traditional popular perk route or the less traditional, ultimately, your goal as an employer is to keep top-tier employees working for you rather than seeking out greener pastures. The only way to do that is to make sure that you have the perks required to make your pastures look greener than all the others.
Keep your employees engaged, make them feel appreciated, and give them the perks they need to have that healthy work-life balance that so many have dismissed as mythical. Do these things and you’ll have a work force that’s dedicated to your success as much as you are.