Since small businesses often don’t have big budgets to compete with bigger companies on salary, offering employee perks is one way to help bridge the gap, boost morale and improve employee retention rates.
So, we have asked the CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share what they think are the best perks that small businesses can offer employees. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
Here are 10 tips highlighting the full list:
1. Fur Family Days
One of the best perks a small business owner can offer their employees is the ability to bring a dog to the office. As crazy as it sounds, fur parents really appreciate this because they do not need to spend money on doggie day care or race home to their four-legged babies at the end of the day. It puts their minds at ease and can increase productivity in the office. Plus, who can have a bad day with their pup by their side?
Thanks to: Jen Teague of Jen Teague, LLC.
2. Best Small Business Perk
Roger West, a small marketing agency based in Tampa Fla., brings in a nail technician once a month for its employees. One day each month anyone who would like is allotted an hour time slot to enjoy a manicure during the work day. The nail technician provides gel manicures for those who want and even adds a design if desired. Something about getting a manicure at work just feels better than actually going to a salon, maybe it’s because I’m not paying for it.
Thanks to: Samantha Simon of Roger West.
3. Educate Them
There are many perks employers can offer, but one of my favorites is tuition reimbursement. I've found that not only does tuition reimbursement lead to happier employees, but it attracts higher-quality employees, as well, because you're attracting people who are serious about their education and self-improvement.
Thanks to: James Pollard of The Advisor Coach.
4. Listening to Employee Needs
Companies big and small need to listen to employee needs and understand what are the personal challenges they face to do their jobs well. In a world of single parents, having to take care of parents, long commutes & other things, employees are under stress.
The best thing employers can do is understand the individual challenges that employees have and work with them to develop solutions that benefit both employee and employer.
Creating individualized solutions is key to building employee loyalty.
Thanks to: Ben Baker of Your Brand Marketing.
5. Share Joy With Shared Bikes
As a small business, particularly in cities, many employees may want to enjoy the benefits of biking, but choose not to actually bike to work. Between bringing a lock, finding a place to keep it, and then being sweaty first thing in the morning - there's lots of reasons to not bring a bike. That being said, having a bike can make breaks or lunch a lot more enjoyable. So, we keep a shared bike in the office that staff can "check-out". It's a smaller, relatively low-cost benefit that all can enjoy.
Thanks to: Alexa DeKalb of NYC Search & Social.
6. Did Someone Say Vacation?
We provide our staff unlimited vacation time... Yes, UNLIMITED! BUT, with the caveat that they do not impede their fellow co-workers with a last minute trip to Buddha or a month-long trip on a day's notice; as long as they work with the team, we're good and want to help them to enjoy the work/life balance.
Thanks to: Christopher M. Carter of Approyo.
7. Play Away Some Work Stress
Put a video game console, such as a Xbox or PlayStation, in the conference room or where ever there is a TV in the office. This small yet exciting perk will help alleviate the office stress with some fun video game playing time. It's a small investment that changes the work environment from strict to friendly. It encourages the team to get together and have some fun while straying from fancy expenses.
Thanks to: Leo Friedman of iPromo.
8. Free Food
Although you don't need an in-house chef, a well-stocked snack pantry and quality coffee maker can go a lot farther than you think. Just be sure to consider all diets, allergies, and other restrictions before you buy a month’s supply of food. And, try to veer on the healthier side – you don’t want your whole team having a daily late afternoon sugar crash.
Thanks to: Zondra Wilson of Blu Skin Care, LLC.
9. Bagels for Breakfast
The office treat doesn't always have to be bagels, but any treat gives employees something to look forward to. It can become very routine and help boost office morale on a Monday morning. For small businesses, going above and beyond with this simple treat allows for employees to have a more relaxed morning. Employees can rely on this treat when they are running late in the morning and need a quick pick-me-up. Different departments can also be encouraged to bring in different treats to help offset costs.
Thanks to: Chris Eckstrum of Housecall Pro.
10. Build Their Skill Set
Building your employees' skill set is a perk for them and for you. This will increase the collective knowledge of your team and boost employee job satisfaction. Start hosting lunch-and-learns or go out as a team and attend a conference/class together.
Thanks to: Nathan Wade of WealthFit.
Carol Roth is a national media personality, "recovering" investment banker, dealmaker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation.
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