Small businesses need to constantly think outside-the-box. Fewer resources means finding unique ways to do regular things, whether it’s making payroll or dealing with bad credit. And for many small business owners, employee benefits represent another chance to get creative. There’s plenty of motivation too. Without the financial resources to offer much beyond health insurance, small businesses struggle to attract talent. But you don’t need a matching 401(k) plan to compete. As job markets shift, the “perks” employees find valuable is changing. Take advantage and look to where employee attitudes are moving. Here are eight employee benefits that will help you attract and keep talented folks.
On-site Chair Massages
As stress at work increases, soothing perks like corporate massages become part of workplace wellness plans. Typical on-site employee chair massages last from around 15 to 30 minutes. Some massage therapists charge by the hour or by the massage. And rates run between $50 to $80 per hour or $10 to $20 for a 15-minute massage, according to Angie’s List. But also consider other costs. For example, someone will need to spend time scheduling the massages every week, month, or quarter. Plus, you’ll need a room dedicated to an on-site massage. You can hire companies dedicated to on-site services yourself or strike up deals with local businesses to offer group discounts for your employees. But don’t skimp on doing your due diligence on vetting massage companies. Ensure they have qualified therapists, or your plan may backfire.
Yes, it may seem like a strange perk, but funeral insurance (also known as “burial insurance” or “final expense insurance”) saves an employee’s family serious financial stress should the inevitable happen. At an average cost of $8K, funerals are a major cost to most employees. Burial insurance plans are whole life insurance policies meant to pay for end-of-life expenses like burial or cremation. And they’re inexpensive perks too, especially when employees lock in their monthly rates early. For example, a 50-year-old female wanting a $5,000 to pay for cremation could lock in a monthly premium for the cost of a Netflix subscription. Your employees will appreciate the peace of mind that comes with having their family’s end-of-life expenses covered.
Free snacks at work have several benefits for employees. For one, they’re tangible rewards. Employees can see and immediately benefit from a free pack of peanut butter crackers. And snacks fuel employees who snack through lunch, making them more productive. And by offering an unending supply of health snacks (e.g., fruits and veggies), your company is promoting a healthy lifestyle. That translates into happier, more productive workers with lower stress and who take fewer sick days. In its Cost of Employee Happiness Calculation, Hubspot estimates that providing free snacks to employees cost companies around $650 per year. But small businesses can lower their snack costs by buying in bulk at wholesale markets.
Fuel Gift Cards for Carpoolers
Fuel cards and carpooling are a win-win for your company and employees. Help organize and sign up employees for carpooling. Help them take advantage of the HOV lane, which will get there to work quicker. And the group commute will help build personal bonds between your workers. If you already have a corporate fuel credit card, lend it to that week’s driver so they can fill up their personal vehicle. Estimate costs for an average commute and credit the account for that week. Then give the card to each employee in the driving rotation. Or hand out gas gift cards to carpooling commuters each month. This is also a “green” office perk that helps reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. You could also reward employees who use public transportation by providing free bus or train passes.
Flexibility in when employees work isn’t just a perk, it’s a way to future proof your business. More quality hires are looking for companies with flex hours. Working these hours will let them meet their goals while tending to their personal lives. Flex hours aren’t the same as remote work or working from home. Instead, give workers a choice of eight-hour shifts (e.g., 7 to 3, 8 to 4, or 9 to 5). And studies show that a properly managed flex work schedule improves productivity, job satisfaction, and retention. Flex hours let employees work when they’re the freshest and most energized. And flex time also makes morning commutes easier by shifting driving times to avoid rush hour traffic.
Give your employees the gift of the entire day off for their birthday. It’s a super simple, cheap perk that reaps big rewards. It’s an easy way to give every worker the same gift that makes them individually feel special. Plus, it eliminates planning and paying for monthly birthday parties, which can be real time drains. Not to mention, they’re filled with unhealthy sweets and deserts. If taking a birthday off doesn’t work for some employees, give them the option of swapping it for another day. Or consider simply giving them days off for other “special” events, like wedding anniversaries or family reunions.
On-site Health Screenings
Responsibilities at work and home leave little time for employees to tend to their physical health. Help them by scheduling on-site health screenings — mobile units that come to your place of business to serve employees. There are mobile units for everything from dental checks to mobile mammograms. Although hospitals and health organizations run many mobile units, some services are privately owned. So, costs will vary. Check with local hospitals or specialized health centers in your area to see if they have a special mobile unit for hire. And if you’re already required to run employee screenings for vaccinations, physicals, or drug testing, try rolling these services into the same mobile service to save money.
Mental Wellness Days
The fact that employees feel like “sick days” only refer to physical ailments reflects the misguided attitudes we have towards mental health in the workplace. We don’t treat mental health the same as physical health. Yet an employees’ mental well being affects their work performance just as much, if not more, as their physical health. But aside from simply offering days off, invest in your workers. Offer free on-site meditation or yoga classes. Hire professional therapists to provide workshops and training on stress management and mindfulness. And encourage your workers to take free mental health tests to locate problems before they get worse.