How Small Business Owners Can Provide Benefits/Perks to Employees

One of the most important parts of a business is its people. When employees feel valued, cared for, and part of a big mission beyond making a profit, they will feel seen and more likely to be loyal and committed.

Investing in their success and well-being through perks is essential to achieving better outcomes for the company. Plus, it will make time spent in the workplace more fun.

Employee benefits matter more now than ever.

This point has been significantly underscored by the “Great Resignation” climate, where a record 4.4 million employees were reported to have quit their jobs in 2021. Nearly every industry was hit hard, including the small business community. Yet, Harvard Business Review says that companies that have capitalized on creating a culture where employees feel supported and embraced flexibility were able to retain their talents and maintain smooth business operations

Offering competitive benefits to your employees is vital to attract and retain the best people. Also, it stirs productivity and engagement.

According to the Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report by the Society for Human Resource Management, benefits are among the top drivers of job satisfaction.

For full-time workers, benefits like worker’s compensation, social security, and unemployment insurance are mandated by law. Employees also appreciate healthcare, parental leaves paid time off, and financial and retirement benefits.

The big question is—what if my small business can’t afford it?

Providing supportive benefits may seem daunting and financially challenging for some small business owners. Don’t fret. You don’t need to be a giant company to offer benefits. It goes beyond insurance! Strategy, coupled with creativity, goes a long way.

Here are some strategic ideas to afford perks for your employees:

  1. Create a tailored incentives offering. It doesn’t necessarily need to be high-cost benefits. Thoughtfully chosen perks can make your company stand out.

One important step to remember is to conduct a poll among your staff to find out what they care about the most before you develop a list of personalized employee benefits. This will also help ensure that the company culture and the benefits you provide reflect what they value. Not to mention, letting employees pick the perks they want can help keep costs down.

As Gary Kushner, President and CEO of Kushner & Co., says, “Benefits have to be based on your goals and objectives, who your workforce is, and who you want it to be.”

2. Set a budget. Knowing how much you can work around can help you determine the benefits you can afford initially. Later on, as your business grows, you can expand your budget for benefits and offer more.

3. Consider splitting the cost with employees. Another suggestion is to share the cost of certain benefits with employees.

This means examining benefits that employees would be willing to pay a portion of in exchange for receiving more benefits overall. By doing this, the employees may find contributing some money to gain additional benefits worthwhile.

4. Offer wellness discounts. Wellness programs can help prevent costly healthcare expenses by promoting healthy behaviors among employees. You can offer discounts to gyms or healthy eating initiatives.

5. Work-life balance. Allowing a limited amount of paid time off or leaves for childcare or eldercare assistance, parental obligations, or a mental health break can mean a lot to your employees. It will help them lean towards a work-life balance and take a break from work to prioritize their families and themselves.

6. Offer non-monetary benefits. Not every benefit needs to be financial.

There are other ways to help employees feel that their job is more than eight-to-five. For example, you can delegate a “dogs/cats are welcome day” so your staff can feel free to bring their pets to work and bring spontaneous joy to the workplace. Provide free rides to work. Allocate a pantry and fill your fridge with food. Give access to training and education resources. Embrace flexible work arrangements or set a day off a year to give employees time to volunteer at their chosen non-profit and imbibe within them a sense of deeper purpose in their work.

Providing benefits boils down to showing employees that you value them more than just their work output and making them feel that their job is more than a nine-to-five. It is all about creating a culture that makes employees feel they belong.


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