Small Businesses NEED Small Perks – Because It DOES Matter

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Having worked in the small business arena for so many years, I am accustomed to hearing the “we can’t afford that” or “only the big companies can offer benefits like that.”  Sadly, the little things you can add to a benefits package really don’t cost all that much in the long run.

Let’s start with the simple: Health Benefits

Yes, medical insurance is an on-going demon that all companies have to deal with and you can usually expect at least a 9% increase in cost over the past year.  Most small companies will already being using some sort of Insurance Broker to help them go to market on the best costs and handle the negotiating for them.  Then there’s the playing with deductions and prescription costs that can help keep the cost down.  But most companies will stop at just that.  They see the HUGE cost of medical insurance and think their employees will be happy just with the fact that they provide it.  But…don’t overlook dental and – even though there is a “version” tied in with most medical insurance policies – a separate vision insurance.

When employees look at a health benefit package, they look for two things:

1)      What is offered? Medical, dental, vision…

2)      What type of insurance company is used for those in #1.

Yep, employees first look to see “what” you offer and then critique it.  And considering dental can cost as little as $10/mo and vision $5/mo, go that extra step and offer it!  It will go a long way in making your company look more employee-friendly and help in recruiting efforts compared to your competition.

Now, what about additional “perks” to the job?

Inc. ran a great article on March 25, 2013 called “10 Perks Your Small Business Can Afford.”  They listed the following as the perks that small businesses CAN actually afford to offer:

–         Catered lunches

–         Nap room

–         Recess

–         Dog-friendly environment (not just a “Bring your dog to work” day)

–         Massages

–         Yoga classes

–         Volunteer day off

–         Fitness bootcamp

–         No vacation policy

–         Gym membership reimbursement

–         Video and board game meeting spaces

I did a quick survey of some of my employees, friends and other colleagues and was surprised at what their “top 3” choices were:

– Recess

– Volunteer day off

– Combination of Fitness bootcamp and yoga classes

I personally would add “dog-friendly environment” since I’m a mom to two rescues.  But here’s my spin on the top 3 and why small businesses should add them…right now!

Recess – Its just another name for a “break”…which companies already provide to their employees.  So you aren’t recreating the wheel, so to speak, you are just giving those breaks a different purpose.  Some will jump in, others will hold back until they “see” what its all about and still others just won’t care…but if those that did jump in let off some stress and went back to their jobs with a little more energy, how happier would they be and how much more productivity would you start to see come out of that group?

Volunteer day off – Yes, its an additional “paid day off” you are adding to the bottom line but encouraging your employees to give back to your community can serve two purposes: 1) gets them out of their daily routine into doing something that gives them a sense of fulfillment – which can lift their spirits – and a chance to network with others they wouldn’t typically meet, and 2) gives the company a marketing angle to use for branding and recruiting.  Win-win in my opinion!

Fitness bootcamp/Yoga classes – Not all companies have access to a gym, or the space to set one up, but I’ll bet there’s some “space” in your office to set aside for a small group to workout.  This can be something that occurs before work or after work and not only can help employees work on their personal fitness goals (which should lead to less sick time and doctor visits – which then leads to lower insurance rate renewals) but can build a different sense of teamwork getting these employees together outside of their normal duties to socialize.  While a gym membership reimbursement may be great for the “dedicated” that like to go workout, keeping something on-site helps those that really want to but need the motivation or know that once they get home, they’ll get distracted with family issues and never make it out to the gym.  Especially with the weather starting to get nicer, this can be as simple as a “walking club.”

Not everything has to come with a price tag – but even those that do can “cost” the company a minimal amount but have maximum results.  Give one or two a try if you don’t believe me and see how employee morale starts to pick up!

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