As a small business owner, you can’t possibly compete with the big guys. Not on salary. Nor on benefits.
Then again, there is something about a small business that interests a lot of people: their input is valued and they may have more freedom to make decisions than if they worked for a large corporation.
Fortunately, there are ways you can compete with the big guys by offering perks. Those perks don’t have to cost you anything either, saving you a whole lot of money.
1. Institute Half-Day Fridays. Chances are your people would love to cut out of work early on Fridays. To do this you will need them to work extra hard Monday through Thursday. Have your team add an hour to their work days for the first four days of the week. Then, at lunch time on Fridays, they can simply go home.
2. Allow for Flexible Hours. For some employees, flexible hours are highly desirable. You, on the other hand, may need your people to work core hours, such as 9 to 3 each day. That means, your employees can come in as early as 7 and leave by 3, just in time to pick up the kids from school. This perk is big for some mothers.
3. Project Versus Project. If two employees are doing different projects, but they would be interested in swapping, then why not allow it? Sure, both may be operating in unfamiliar territory, but they can keep in touch with each other to assure that the work gets done correctly. The benefit to you is that you will have cross-trained employees.
4. Give Extra Time Off. Your team does a wonderful job or you want to reward one employee each month. To recognize excellent performance you can provide an extra day off with pay for one or more employees.
5. Provide Special Parking. Besides giving your employee of the month time off, why not provide a special parking space close to the building? This can be important if parking is hard to come by or if they must pay for parking at a garage. Find a valuable space and set it aside for your best employees.
6. Work From Home. Does your team absolutely need to be in the office day in and day out? If not, begin to provide some flexibility by allowing them to work from home one day a week. As long as your employees get the work done it shouldn’t matter if they commute or telecommute.
7. Host a Pot Luck Event. If work is too hectic you can lighten the burden a bit by suggesting pot luck meals, perhaps once a quarter. Your employees would bring in a favorite dish from home and share it with each other. You’ll provide the utensils and cups, and keep the coffee and tea flowing. Make it a morale booster for your employees!
8. Make Your Workplace Pet Friendly. Not every workplace can pull it off, but yours may: allow your employees to bring their pets with them to work. This option is more suitable for the office setting, but keep in mind that some employees may have allergies. If pets are allowed you can boost morale in a way that nothing else will.
9. Pass along corporate discounts. Are your employees enjoying the same discounts your business enjoys? That can include auto insurance, discounts at the theater, savings at the office supply store, you name it. Find a way to extend your corporate discounts to your team, saving them money without you spending a cent.
10. Just give it away. Does your business hold season tickets to the minor league baseball or basketball franchise? You use them to entertain clients, but why not award them to your employees too? Besides, you cannot get to every game — let your people in on the action too.
All 10 perks mentioned won’t cost you a cent. Certainly, you can add in a few other perks that will cost you money including a quarterly luncheon to recognize your employees, snacks on Fridays or some other treats such as flowers, balloons, and gift cards. By bringing perks in these changes will build morale, increase productivity and help reduce turn over, steps that any smart employer such as yourself can implement with ease.
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