Ten Employee Perks that Won’t Break the Bank

Make your workplace the envy of others

By Daniel Abramson, HRSource

Look — if a job candidate is applying to multiple and similar jobs, you can make your store stand out by offering cool perks.  

Besides attracting applicants, in some cases offering uncommon work perks may also allow you to recruit candidates at a slightly lower base salary than what your competitors offer.

In addition, job perks are a great way to show your gratitude to your current employees. When workers feel appreciated and valued for their hard work, they’re more likely to stay with the business and speak highly of it to others. By choosing the right job perks for your store, you can create an environment where employees feel motivated to do their best work, which improves the company culture and in turn attracts new talent.

Here then are 10 cool and affordable ideas for your consideration:

1. Gym Membership
Some employers either pay for their employees’ gym memberships or provide an on-site gym to promote health and fitness. If you choose to build an on-site gym, also include a shower so workers can freshen up after enjoying a workout.

2. Stocked Fridge and Pantry
Who doesn’t like free water, coffee or snacks? Google is famous for its on-site amenities, such as cafes that serve a wide variety of foods.  Even if you don’t have Google’s financial might, you can still customize your food and drink offerings to incentivize your employees. For example, you can order lunch or surprise your team with coffee and bagels or donuts once a week. Alternatively, bring in pizza every other week or month.

Having free food available to employees is a great way to keep everyone fueled and satisfied throughout the day. Provide healthy food options for workers who are trying to eat better and stay healthy. With a more balanced diet, coupled with exercise, it’s easier for team members to stay energized throughout the day.

3. Employer-Subsidized Pet Insurance
Over 70% of American households own at least one pet.  Many millennials and Gen Zers in the workforce are forgoing the traditional route of having children. Instead, they’re embracing their adopted fur babies in a way that’s never been seen before. As such, they’re increasingly looking for pet-friendly workplaces and benefits plans that will insure their “children” in a fair and equal way.

4. “Bring Your Pet to Work Day”
Don’t forget about a “Bring Your Pet to Work Day” option. Including one on the company calendar is a great way to enhance employee happiness (not to mention the benefits for the pets themselves!). For the record, National Take Your Dog to Work Day is always observed on the Friday after Father’s Day, and this year falls on June 21.

5. Personalized Appreciation Notes 
Personal recognition by senior management is important to many staffers. In a recent employee survey by Robert Half, 37% of respondents said regular personalized recognition can help them improve their performance at work. Surprisingly, a recent Gallup poll discovered that 65% of employees had not received any recognition that whole year. Catch people doing things right!

Go beyond the customary gift card by regularly sending personalized appreciation notes to employees. You can also send shoutouts on social media or handwrite a thank-you note.  Personally, I love Dunkin or Starbucks gift cards with a note that says, “Thanks-a-Latte!”

6. Work Anniversary Recognition
Acknowledging employees who have been with the company for an extended period is a great way to boost morale. These celebrations might mark the one-year, five-year or even 10-year anniversaries of employment.  Set up a lunch or coffee date with the honoree so they can share their stories about how they’ve seen your business grow over time. 

7. Commuter Benefits
Gas isn’t cheap and frankly neither are cars. And in most cities public transportation is somewhat inconvenient. To help ease the grind, consider offering:
• Parking and toll reimbursements
• Public transit subsidies
• Fuel stipends
• Rideshare (Uber, Lyft) reimbursement

8. Employee Referral Bonuses
An employee referral program is a way to retain employees and find new ones who fit your team well. While sourcing a new candidate can cost thousands of dollars, a referral program can reduce your cost-per-hire to under $1,000. 

Employee turnover is another factor to consider. Referred candidates already have someone they know (and like) working for your company. That means there’s a greater chance they’ll onboard quickly and stay with you long term, thereby reducing turnover and increasing productivity.

Here’s how to structure it: Let your team know when you’re hiring, then offer $500 to $1,000 for submitted employees who accept the job offer and stay with the company for six months. 

9. Identify Theft Protection
In our increasingly digital world, identity theft is a major concern for most. Adding this type of coverage to your benefits plan can give your employees peace of mind and show that you’re invested in their well-being and security. [Note: In 2021, nearly 24 million Americans were victims of identity theft.]

10. Streaming Service Subscriptions
Offering free streaming service subscriptions is the hot new perk these days, particularly with internet and mobile service providers. At only $5 to $15 per month, providing your team with access to a Netflix business account, HBO/Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu is a cost-effective way to keep them happy away from work … and still thinking about the company.

Bottom line: When perks are offered at work, it can increase employee engagement, productivity, satisfaction and loyalty. When workers feel appreciated and valued for their efforts, they’re more likely to stay with the business and speak highly of it to others.

Plus, it’s a great recruitment tool!

Daniel Abramson is managing lead of HRSource, a comprehensive collection of customized employment tools and turnkey solutions exclusive to BrandSource members. Contact Daniel at (540) 535-8484 or dabramson84@gmail.com.

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