Offering creative and inexpensive perks can attract the best recruits and keep current workers happy. These “extras” can also set a business apart from the competition and help establish their company’s reputation as employee-friendly—and they don’t have to break the bank.
Here are five creative perks that small businesses can use to attract and retain employees:
1. Flex-Time Schedules
Among the best inexpensive perks is flexibility—the freedom to take an hour off here or there for important personal business or obligations. A flex-time schedule lets employees choose their own hours—within reason, of course—and shows that the company cares about work-life balance. Similarly, the option to telecommute on occasion can provide relief to employees who have long commutes or who want to avoid interruptions in the office.
2. Spot Bonuses
Instead of a hiring bonus, a good record of creative spot bonuses can also attract new hires. “We make bonuses and incentives more personal,” says Jim Lurie, partner of o2kl, an ad agency in New York City. “Because we’re a boutique, we know about the individuals, so we’ve paid for honeymoons and helped people pay for closing on their houses.”
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3. Employee Discounts
Another easy perk is an employee discount on company products or services. This not only rewards the worker, but gives them a chance to test-drive product— allowing them to speak from experience when they talk to clients.
4. Professional Development
Companies that pay for employees’ memberships to industry trade or professional associations reap the benefits of workers who are even more professionally connected, up-to-date, and knowledgeable about the industry. “As a recruitment perk, our company offers each team member a special education budget for them to stay on top of industry trends and further their own professional development,” explains Margaret DeGennaro of Gregory FCA, a public relations firm just outside of Philadelphia. DeGennaro says that funds pay for employees to attend seminars, networking events, and conferences.
5. Travel and Activity
Businesses can join a site such as TicketsAtWork.com, which offers employees access to travel and activity-related discounts. Businesses can join for free, says Cynthia Inacio of K2 Krupp Kommunications Inc. in New York City. “It’s a free, password-protected website. Employees can log on for added discounts on hotel, travel, Cirque du Soleil, Disney World, anything like that,” Inacio says.
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