The HR Compass

Be a Magnet for Top Talent

Aug 2, 2021

12 Benefit Ideas to Help Small Businesses Attract and Retain Employees

Part 2 in a Series on Benefits

As we move to the other side of the pandemic, one dynamic is crystal clear: employee expectations are higher than ever. Our last blog post (the first in this series) noted that benefits can make a big difference for small businesses and can serve as the deal maker for both attracting and retaining star talent.

When small businesses are considering which benefits to offer, my advice is to think outside the box. There are so many offerings that can help companies stand out in today’s competitive landscape…and many of them don’t have to break the bank.

Below are 12 benefit ideas sure to give you bargaining power when hiring employees or working to retain your top performers. These range from traditional benefits like health insurance (typically offered by larger companies), to more creative perks like sponsoring volunteer days. These benefits hold the power to transform your company’s culture, giving your business the boost it needs to become a desirable destination for today’s workforce.

3 “Big Company” Benefits

  • Health insurance – While health insurance can be one of the most expensive benefits, it can be a worthwhile investment for small businesses seeking to attract big talent and retain their star performers.
  • Long- and Short-term Disability and Life Insurance – This is another big company benefit that can help smaller companies stand out in today’s competitive labor market.
  • Employer Provided Student Loan Repayments – Another attractive benefit is to help employees pay off their student loans. Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, employers can make contributions of up to $5,250 to help employees pay for education expenses, including tuition and student loans through 2025. More on that can be found here.

3 Wellness Benefits

  • Rejuvenation days or gift cards – After the completion of a big project, give employees opportunities to rejuvenate. This can be in the form of a day off or a gift card to a local spa or restaurant. If employees are back in the office, order lunch in so they can spend time together and celebrate their hard work.
  • Wellness apps – Offer your employees some of today’s best wellness apps like Headspace, Calm or Welltok.
  • Gym memberships/exercise classes – Many insurance plans offer discounts or reimbursements for gym memberships. Remind staff of fitness rewards if they are part of your plan. If not, offer benefits in this realm to enable employees to join a gym or take classes, such as yoga, Pilates or boxing.

3 Life Balance Benefits

  • Paid volunteer day – Give employees a day off (once a year or even once a quarter) to volunteer for the charity of their choice. Timberland Path of Service™ is a great example of an employee volunteer program.
  • Stipends for ongoing education – Offer an annual stipend to encourage employees to take classes that help them build a new skill, whether it’s planning for retirement, learning about investing, or art/photography class, writing class, or public speaking, etc.
  • Hybrid work model – As mentioned in my recent post, offer a hybrid work model. Our recommendation is to create a work schedule based how often each role needs to be physically present in the office.

3 In-Office Morale Boosters (For those companies with employees heading back to the office)

  • Dog days – Many people got a dog during the pandemic and miss their furry friends now that they’re headed back to the office. Set aside a day (once a month or even once a week!) when people can bring their beloved pooches to work.
  • Fri-yay bagels or lunch – Make the last day of the work the week a little more special by bringing in breakfast bagels or lunches.
  • A well-stocked kitchen – Rather than just offer the usual coffee and tea, load up your kitchen with today’s in-demand beverages and snacks (e.g., kombucha, energy drinks, flavored water, and interesting/healthy snacks such as dried fruit, protein bars, popcorn, etc.)

Taylor HR Group: Benefits Can Make a Big Difference

An appealing benefits package is often an overlooked strategy to retain existing employees and attract new talent, especially in a challenging labor market. Today, companies emphasize compensation, including raises and sign-on bonuses, driving up labor costs. As the above highlights, not all benefits are expensive.

At Taylor HR Group, we help clients with creative ways to identify, prioritize and implement benefit programs that manage expenses and achieve your goals. Contact us to develop a benefits package as part of an overall plan for effective and efficient HR policies.