Providing Big Business Perks in your Small Business

Three things to keep in mind to get the biggest bang for your buck

Written by Deanna Hunter

Every business looks for ways to attract and keep great employees. The goal, of course, is to ensure your people are as productive as possible and providing great experiences for your customers.   Big employers and small employers alike know that it takes more than just a pay cheque.  Benefits and perks can help you stand out from other employers.  And they don’t have to break the bank.

There are many organizations that provide health and dental benefits targeted to small businesses.  And those can be very cost effective and valuable to employees if you can offer them.  But don’t think that a good teeth cleaning and a prescription medication a couple of times a year is all there is.  Here are 3 things small businesses should remember when deciding on what perks to offer:

  1. Make it about them. About what they like, not about what you like.  Heck, why not just ask them for ideas?
  2. Provide more than just one perk. You are never going to make everyone happy, all the time.   Your employees are individuals, after all.   But if you have a couple of perks that speak to the different demographics or tastes of your team, you’re bound to get it right more than you get it wrong.
  3. Be creative. The perks should match your culture and your people.   Beyond that, there really is no boundary.  Caution!  Just because it worked for one company, doesn’t mean its right for yours.

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Give Back days – paid time off to volunteer in the community a few times each year
  • Discounts – negotiate a discount for employees with company suppliers or other businesses in the community (think gyms, doggy daycares, car wash, cleaning services)
  • Referral incentive – provide a cash bonus when you hire someone they referred
  • Free food – maybe mid-week lunches when you know their lives are most hectic, or healthy coffee time snacks
  • Fitness bucks – a monthly amount to help pay for gym membership, yoga, running clubs
  • Free seminars – ask interesting people to come speak to your team (to promote themselves). Doesn’t have to be work related.  Sommelier?  Interior decorator?  Local sports hero?
  • Recess – yes, recess. Wasn’t that your favorite part of school?  Put some board games, puzzles, video games in the coffee room so they can have a quick bit of fun mid-day to de-stress.

Do the math. Figure out how it would work. Give it a try.


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