Low-Cost Perks to Help You Stay Competitive

Posted by Matt Schwartz on Mon, Jun 15, 2020 @ 09:06 AM

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It’s a fact that small companies need to compete for talented workers just like the big ones do – but they don’t have the necessary funds to provide employees with lavish benefits. However, if you own a small business, you don’t have to break the bank to offer worthy options.

This Workforce.com article (via Talent Economy) lists four less expensive perks and benefits small companies can use to attract talent:

1. Highlight company culture.

Company cultures at small firms are often less bureaucratic than large companies, so employees have a closer relationship with the work they put in and the results of their efforts.

It’s less likely that a small company can pay the same wages as a large one or offer the same benefits, but small firms could also offer different growth opportunities than large companies. By increasing the responsibility of high-potential employees, they gain experience and could rise in ranks faster than they would at a major corporation. Highlighting these sorts of perks could attract entrepreneurial job candidates that can make a big difference quickly.

And people can be less narrow in their roles than they would be at a large company. This developmental opportunity is one that hiring managers should communicate up front with job candidates.

2. Recognize employees for great work.

People enjoy recognition for their hard work, of course. While this doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive, a small bonus or token of appreciation like a gift card is meaningful. Aside from monetary rewards, applause at a team meeting or being made employee of the month could also go a long way in boosting morale.

3. Consider parental leave programs.

Offering paid parental leave can feel expensive, and they can certainly put strain on workers who are filling in for new parents that are out of the office. However, employers should consider how not offering parental leave impacts their ability to attract and hire certain talent. To do this, leaders can examine the reasons for rejections of job offers. Especially among young workers who are considering starting families, not having parental leave could be a deterrent. Employers need to think through what the trade-offs are and what they are willing to do to support their company being a more attractive place to work.

Providing paid parental leave could also cost a lot less than it used to. Employers that provide at least two weeks of paid parental leave to workers earning less than $72,000 per year can receive a tax credit. The amount of the credit depends on the percentage of pay during parental leave, but it could be up to 25 percent of the workers’ earnings, according to NPR.

4. Negotiate discounts at local businesses.

If gyms, child care centers or other services are close to the office of a small business, there could be an opportunity for additional perks. If a handful of employees are interested in such services, leadership could directly negotiate a discounted rate for employees. There would be no cost in doing this, as employees would still be footing the bill.

If unsure of what employees would like in benefits offerings, business owners could consider surveying them. This should help in discovering what they find meaningful.

Presenting Perks

While having benefits is important in a talent strategy, communicating the perks available is of equal importance. Business leaders need to cater to their audience of employees by sharing the perks they want in a way that will easily reach them and be easy for them to sign up for.

Leaders should also educate workers about how the benefits are helpful. For instance, creating short videos in which employees that use certain perks share how the offerings help them could be quite effective.

Communication about the benefits should appear on the employer’s website or with materials sent to applicants ahead of interviews. If hiring through a recruiter, it’s also important candidates know about the perks of working for the company; this will help the recruiter sell the role to prospective applicants/employees.

This communication of benefits should all be part of integrated employer branding efforts. Business leaders should consider what sets their company apart from competition and then push that messaging into communications with the talent the company aims to attract.  

Topics: Employee Benefits, Company Culture, Employee Engagement