Your employees know the advantages of working for a small company or start-up — the feeling of being part of a friendly close-knit team and less like a tiny cog in a huge machine. But do their friends’ tales of big corporation benefits like the on-site fully-equipped gym and subsidized restaurant, or free travel and expensive days out leave them feeling short-changed? Your staff love working for a small company — that’s why they’re there — but how do you retain top talent when there’s so much on offer elsewhere?
There’s plenty you can offer your employees to keep them happy and show them you care. You know the benefit of benefits — they’re good for morale and a happy, engaged workforce is good for productivity which in turn is good for business. Appealing perks also attract the best talent and develop loyalty.
But what if you just can’t afford to give your employees the perks they deserve? Fear not! There are plenty of wallet-friendly perks for even the smallest of companies to show your staff your appreciation.
Give your employees some freedom by allowing them to set (to a certain extent) their own hours. If you have people who struggle to get up in the morning or just simply aren’t standard 9-5 people, let them start later and finish later. Conversely, let the early-birds start earlier and finish earlier. For total freedom, let them work their allotted hours whenever they like over the week – as long as they get the work done, everyone’s happy. Some companies have core hours where they need everyone to be working but allowing your team to schedule around this will give them a greater work/life balance and feeling of contentment. Although the whole point of flexi-time is to be flexible, you will need systems to keep track of who’s doing what and where.
The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly shone a light on remote working and shown that not everyone needs to be in the office all of the time. Today’s technology allows people to be totally connected so, if your employees are mostly desk-based, there’s no reason why that desk shouldn’t be in their own homes (or elsewhere, social-distancing permitting). As an added bonus, fewer staff in the office using the electricity and facilities will bring down your overheads, too. Just remember to take into consideration the remote working pitfalls that can arise.
Paid birthdays off
This is one of the simplest but most appreciated perks you can offer your staff. No matter how much your employees love their jobs and colleagues, they love being able to spend their birthday wherever and with whomever they like even more. Knowing they’ll be able to have their birthday off each year without worrying about handing in holiday forms only to find out it clashes with a co-worker who wants the same day off and got in there first (a consideration those who have birthdays at popular times such as Christmas and school holidays, etc. will be all too familiar with) is a perk they will adore.
You may already offer an attractive holiday allowance, but you can improve on this by offering extra days off for each year of service. Additionally, you could offer month-long sabbaticals after a certain number of years. Who wouldn’t be interested in a paid month off work?
While not sustainable for every business, a four-day week is a highly desirable perk for many workers. There are different ways of implementing this: some companies have teams who all have the same day off at the same time; other companies allow their staff to choose their weekly day off and that remains consistent; while other companies allow complete flexibility and allow their staff to swap their day off around, depending on what commitments they have that week.
Food and more food
You may not be able to treat your staff to full meals each day or even blow-out meal once a month, but you’re probably providing free tea and coffee, so why not keep the kitchen stocked with fresh fruit, nuts (assuming no one has a nut allergy of course!) and other healthy snacks to show your appreciation? It won’t break the bank but they’ll go down really well with your workforce. Another consideration that adds a nice touch to what you can offer your staff is stocking dairy alternatives to milk such as soya, oat and rice, to save those with dietary needs having to bring their own in each day – they’ll appreciate being catered for and the money it’ll save them.
Relaxed dress code
If your team is usually suited and booted, just relax: let them wear what they want. Allowing them to come to work casually will create a more relaxed atmosphere, but this doesn’t mean productivity will suffer – quite the opposite in fact. If your team is client- or public-facing, you may want to retain a certain dress code or guidelines: no beachwear or rude slogans, for example, but adopting a more relaxed policy – will create a happy workforce.
Bring your pet days
This is self-explanatory and you’ll have to check for allergies and phobias among your employees, but allowing your employees to have their furry friends around will make most people happy. To be honest, this should probably be restricted to ‘bring your dog to work day’, unless you want total carnage in your office with dogs chasing cats around and cats eating the rats their colleagues have brought in. Allowing dogs in the office will cheer everyone up and, not only will the owners have their faithful friends with them all day, they’ll save money on dog walkers and careers.
These are just a few of the ways you can show your appreciation to your staff and keep them loyal, even if you haven’t got the cash to throw around like the mega-corporations do.
Need more information?
Join training and guidance expert Michelle Coussens for our in-depth workshop, Managing Change in the Workplace: How to Cultivate an Agile Team, live on July 30, then available on-demand.
In this 60-minute workshop, you’ll learn how to use strategic incremental sprints and micro goals to develop adaptable employees. You’ll learn:
- How to identify and rid your workplace of fear-based thinking
- Steps to map and realign roles and responsibilities in real time
- Tools to assess organizational health and status in line with evolving internal and external changes
- Tips to optimize momentum while avoiding excessive stress