You’ve probably heard about the best employee perks the big Silicon Valley players offer—free gourmet lunches, on-site massages and huge common areas stocked with the latest video games—and may have thought smaller businesses can’t compete. Truth be told, most small organizations probably can’t. Let’s just be upfront about that.
But Google can’t compete with small businesses, either. They can offer things big companies just can’t. Here are several perks (most small businesses can afford) that just might make them more attractive than competing corporations.
This might not sound much like a perk at first, but it’s really the best perk there is. A manager who knows how to lead and guide their team well—and squashes bullying and gossip before it can take hold—is already winning. If the purpose of perks is to enhance employee retention, investing in great management is the best strategy. Hiring correctly and training managers properly can keep the best employees happy and engaged.
Delicious, Healthy Food
You don’t need a cutting-edge cafeteria with a gourmet chef to make food a good perk. Stocking healthy (and even unhealthy) snacks in the kitchen can go a long way with workers. Most businesses have coffee, but some also offer sparkling water, fruit, granola bars, candy and ingredients for sandwiches.
Providing lunch for everyone once a month, or giving people a weekly lunch budget to help with restaurant costs, is also beneficial. While these things may sound expensive, there are ways to reduce the cost. A bag of oranges only costs a couple of dollars and simply having something available to snack on can make people feel appreciated.
None of this might sound as “good” as a gourmet, free cafeteria—but remember, that would keep employees stuck at the office all day. A lunch break should truly be a break, where employees are able to do as they please.
Dry Cleaning and Laundry Delivery
There are likely lots of dry cleaners who would be happy to pick up and drop off select garments at your office once a week. Some will also do regular laundry. This is a perk that won’t cost the company anything more than the time it takes to set up the service, as employees will pay for their own cleaning. This not only saves the workforce a lot of time, it also supports another local small business.
How much of your shopping is done online? Given Amazon’s profitability, the answer to that question is probably a lot. But unless you live in a secluded area or have a spouse that is at home, you may occasionally worry about package theft. The ability to receive packages at the office saves time and worry. Larger businesses can easily get overwhelmed with such a perk, but a small business can typically handle employee packages with no problem.
Working from home from time to time, using sick days when your kids are ill and having the ability to set your own hours are all great perks—depending on the business. Some professional duties aren’t conducive to working from home, but some are. And some businesses need strict schedules while others can be more flexible. Offering flexibility as a perk can increase employee satisfaction without costing a dime, so if it’s at all possible, it’s worth considering.
The most important thing is that the business works for the employer and the employees alike. Ultimately, offering some the best employee perks, which breed convenience and creativity, can help make everyone’s lives better.