Employees are your most important resource. It can be hard to court the good ones, and once you have them, you don’t want to lose them. Unfortunately, many business owners believe that the days of long-term employee loyalty are over. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Talented employees choose to stay at a company for many reasons. One, of course, is pay; another is feeling challenged and engaged by the work—with a clear path to moving up the ladder. But better pay and a higher job title are things they can seek with your competitors as well. Often, when employees stick around, it’s because they feel cared for. They feel that they have a home with your company, and that you treat them better than any other employer would. And a big part of that is the perks and benefits you give them.
These days, employee perks mean a lot more than health and dental benefits (though that matters). Adding “quality of life” benefits makes your company culture stand out, and makes you a part of your employees’ lives. These are benefits that aren’t essential to get by, but make life a whole lot more pleasant—and they build loyalty. Plus, they don’t have to cost much to implement.
Here are seven of the best low-cost perks you can offer, if you want your employees to love you.
- “Early Out” Fridays. This is a ridiculously popular benefit that few companies offer, even though it’s essentially free. Of course, time really is money, and managers worry about losing several hours a week from all their employees. But you’ll find that most employees work harder when they know they can leave early if their work is done, and they will truly appreciate and love the extra time. Give them the option to duck out Friday afternoon, and they will think twice about moving on.
- Flexible hours. Letting employees set their own hours costs literally nothing, yet it can make all the difference in the world. That flexibility allows employees to dodge rush hour, coordinate schedules with their spouses, be present at their kids’ events and still put in the full 40 hours at the office. This is something employees actively seek out when job hunting, and translated directly to better staff retention and higher productivity.
- If you’ve ever had to organize an event, you know there’s one key to maximizing attendance: free food. Working professionals value this perk as much as anybody else. It saves them time and money over getting their own lunch, and potentially brings them together with other employees. You don’t have to go as far as some tech companies do, with free gourmet meals on the daily, but you do need to provide more than a candy dish. This can mean anything from a well stocked fridge of healthy snacks to a once-a-week or once-a-month lunch on the house. Obviously, this does cost money, but it doesn’t have to be exorbitant—and it really does make a difference.
- A fitness program. Most employees (well, most everyone) would like to be more fit. But there are two problems with hitting the gym every day: time, and price. You can help your employees out with at least one of those factors by subsidizing their gym memberships. You don’t even have to pay 100% of their dues—try arranging a discount from a local gym, or offering to pay half. Your health benefits package might even underwrite part of it, since fit employees tend to have less health costs. Doing this doesn’t just boost employee morale, by the way; it also increases productivity.
- Allow them to work from home. This is the logical extension of the flexible hours mentioned above. While the details will depend on the kind of work your company does, remember that employees get more done from home (less distractions, less banter, no life-sucking commute before they dive in). They also appreciate it. Once employees are allowed to work from home, they find it much harder to leave you for another boss.
- Birthdays off. Want a basically-free perk that everyone will love? Give all your employees their birthday off (without burning a vacation day). They will literally brag about their job to their friends.
- Cost-saving benefits. Many of the ideas above require shifts in company culture. But don’t overlook the power of formal benefits, which are easier to implement and also carry real value. Go beyond the usual healthcare plan and offer your employees packages of perks that will save them money. This can be anything from a flex spending account for medical purchases, a set of discounts on travel, or ways to save energy around the home. Not all employees will use it, but those who do will love it.
At greencents™ we offer employee perks packages that give employees energy-saving LED light bulbs and home air filters—and the know how to shave down their energy bills through our interactive dashboard.