Small Business

Employee Perks for Small Business

Published on January 30, 2020


Although providing benefits that your employees care about can be a significant way to stay competitive as a small business, offering employee perks may also be an effective strategy for keeping your most valuable employees and attracting future hires.

Read on to learn how including employee perks as part of a strong employee benefits package may be a compelling retention and recruitment tool for small business owners.

What are employee perks?

Employee perks are optional, non-wage services or amenities that are offered by employers to workers and not part of salaries or compensation. By offering appealing and affordable employee perks to workers, a small business can help keep their employees engaged, motivated, and productive.

Note that, while similar in nature, employee perks are different from employee benefits. Employee benefits, such as group health insurance, dental insurance, vision coverage, and 401(k) or retirement account contributions, are not considered perks, since benefits are usually considered a form of compensation that augments an employee’s salary and provides coverage for more essential needs.

Examples of employee perks

Common examples of employee perks that may be offered by small businesses include:

  • Flexible schedules – Offering flexible work hours has become one of the most popular employee perks since it contributes to better work-life balance, allowing employees to better manage their schedules. Similar perks include telecommuting, parental leave, and caregiver leave.
  • Employee training – Supporting professional development among your employees adds value to your small business while helping your team advance in their careers and improve their skillset. Your company can provide in-house resources, or reimburse outside training or certifications.
  • Free food, snacks, and coffee – Providing healthy snacks and drinks for the workplace can help employees keep their energy and focus throughout the day. Having food available may also reduce lost productivity from employees having to venture outside of work for snacks.
  • Volunteering time – Allowing employees to set aside a portion of their time to help charitable causes through volunteering, without drawing from their paid time off days, could be a worthwhile perk that supports recruitment and retention while serving the local community.
  • Wellness and fitness options – A formal or informal workplace wellness program can help employees to lead a healthier lifestyle and promote a positive company culture. Offering gym memberships, fitness classes, or sports activities may also be appreciated by your workforce.
  • Employee discounts – Being able to offer your workers company discounts on daily expenses, such as transit passes, as well as larger purchases, may be another compelling employee perk.
  • Pets – Having a pet-friendly workplace (or a bring-your-pet-to-work day) could be an appealing perk for pet owners. If there are no employees with pet-related allergy concerns, having well-behaved pets in the office may help with reducing stress and creating a positive environment.
  • Dress code – Implementing a casual work dress code has become an increasingly common trend, and may be able to help with hiring and retaining employees in a multigenerational workforce.

While there are many employee perks for a small business to potentially consider and choose from, a company should focus on the perks that are most likely to be useful and valuable to their workforce.

Should a small business offer employee perks?

If you are a small business owner, offering employee perks that are both within your budget and relevant for your workers may be an impactful way to enhance your overall employee rewards program.

Providing popular perks may also help a small business stand out as an employer of choice during its hiring and onboarding process:

  • Only 42 percent of small businesses offer any form of company perks, according to a Clutch survey, which means that there are ample opportunities for small businesses to offer more competitive options.
  • According to a Zenefits survey of small businesses, 68 percent of employees said that work perks are just as important as health insurance coverage, retirement, life insurance, and other traditional benefits.

By selecting affordable perks that can be offered at little to no additional cost, such as flexible work hours, a business may help boost employee satisfaction and productivity while also being mindful of their bottom line.

Ask your employees what their preferences are for particular perks and services that they would find helpful or beneficial for their typical work day. By taking their perspective into account, you can maximize the effectiveness of the workplace perks that you do decide to offer.

Plus, when employees know that the business owner values their point of view regarding perks and benefits, they are more likely to be happy, productive, and loyal to their company for the long term.

For a small business owner, offering employee perks may help reduce employer turnover, contribute to the retention of your most valuable employees, and assist in the recruitment of future hires.

Ultimately, the importance of employee perks goes beyond any specific offering by representing how a small business cares for and supports the daily well-being of its employees.

To learn more about offering group health insurance coverage as a benefit for your employees, visit today.

This article is for general information and may not be updated after publication. Consult your own tax, accounting, or legal advisor instead of relying on this article as tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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