How small businesses can still afford employee benefits

Businesses of every size are paying ever greater attention to the bottom-line, trying to squeeze every pound they can from all their cost activities. In such a climate, it’s easy to forego employee perks or benefits as they seem an easily diminishable cost centre. This can also cause lasting damage to the ethos of a business. Small businesses can find this area even harder to justify, yet the good news is that much of what will be recognised as benefits by staff members can be delivered for little or no outlay. Here are a range of examples of such perks, starting with a few fun ideas and then becoming a tad more serious…

The occasional catered-for lunch

small budget employee benefits

It can be expensive to take a team out for a meal, but if you have in-house space to gather and eat, then anything from a platter of sandwiches to a selection of pizzas, perhaps maybe a dim sum selection or the like, can encourage a lunchtime “chat and scoff” attitude that always sends folk back to work with a slight spring in their step.! !

An out-of-the-building afternoon

small budget employee benefits

Once in a while, if it’s possible, everybody can take a couple of hours break and then head off together for a healthy country walk, ten-pin bowling alley, or games zone for a crack in the old routine. A reasonably small cost for a lot of staff morale-building!

A bring your kids, pets to work day

pets to work as an employee benefit

Many companies do already offer a chance for staff to bring their off-spring along, perhaps only for one day a year. Why not extend the remit as widely as you can (given space and other constraints)? Obviously, the visitors see the working environment, and gain a better understanding of what each team member does. But, you know, fresh eyes might even offer a different perspective, add original thought, to how you operate!

Discounts off memberships, services and purchases!

discount scheme as an employee benefit

Each business already interacts with its local community, using services and buying products, as well as servicing their customers, either in the intimate area or far and wide. A swift trawl through all of these connections might find you able to agree staff discounts off purchases of product or services, and reduced rate memberships at health and fitness clubs and the like. All of this is at no cost to you, apart from the investment of a little time, and yet perhaps will be of terrific value to your !workforce.

Make your rest area a fun place to be

office fun

Too many business “rest areas” seem designed to be as unwelcoming as possible. Yet folk do function better when refreshed. You might invite your team to decorate it themselves, and you could add a “wall of fame” where team members can post pictures of family achievements or personal milestones. The addition of a few silly skill games, such as Rubik’s Cube and others, can help bring life to even the shortest of breaks. Oh – and make sure any refreshments provided are actually worth drinking or eating!

More serious – and enduringly valuable

It also pays to give attention to the “important” benefits which a business of any size can offer to the people who work there. Recognition and rewards programmes are one such possibility, and should be seen to be fair to all and valuable to earn. The motivators should be in both financial and recognition areas – an Employee of the Month trophy on one side of the scales, balanced with such as cash or gift incentives! on the other.

How you decide to provide for both staff pensions and health are another couple of key benefit areas. For the latter, as insurance premiums spiral, many small business employers are looking to not-for-profit healthcare providers, such as Paycare, who offer both employer and employee plans which help cover key treatment costs without the weight of all-inclusive insurance premium policy options.

The benefits offered by a small business

People working for a smaller business are realistic enough not to expect all the bells-and-whistles incentives of major companies. However, through devoting just a little thought and attention, through areas such as these covered here, any size of business can find useful and welcome ways to let its people know that they are both important and treasured.

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