Employee benefits, for many, are an unspoken but important bonus in accepting a new position. Last week we discussed cost-effective benefits that small businesses can incorporate to remain competitive, but what if your budgetary restrictions are even leaner than that? We here at MD Andersen, CPA, PA encourage you to think even more creatively, and to consider the other areas of an employee’s life that could improve from a few adjustments at work. This week we return with more ideas on how to attract and maintain top talent with employee benefits – these in particular focusing on enriching your employees lives without requiring a significant investment.
Flexible Work Arrangements
Offering employees the flexibility to set their own schedule, or to take work from home days as needed, allows them to achieve a better work-life balance, be more productive, and feel less pressured by work. For employees with children, the right to come in an hour earlier or an hour later than the rest of the office can mean a life with less favor-swapping, schedule-juggling, and general mayhem. For employees with long commutes, it can mean skipping peak traffic times and having more productive hours in the day. Flex time is a great way to promote healthy work-life balance with little disruption to your office schedule, and in some cases, it can even lengthen the period of time in which work is being completed, making you more available to customers who may also be operating outside of regular business hours. By setting clear deliverables and deadlines, switching to a flexible work schedule can be easy to do without losing accountability or changing too many internal processes.
Individual Support from Management
One of the best ways to engage your employees and improve your work environment is to offer regular, one-on-one time with management. Schedule quarterly or biannual meetings for each employee where you can discuss their individual long and short-term goals. These meetings will make them feel valued and respected by your company and also provide you with key insights about each employee’s potential for growth within your company.
For hourly employees, particularly those working in service positions where work from home flexibility is not really an option, a good strategy is to set predictable schedules. Providing a consistent schedule for your workers will decrease turnover and lead to a lower rate of missed shifts. Not only is this less of a headache for you, it offers your employees more stability, and the ability to plan other responsibilities, such as child care or education, around their job.
Whether your business has a specific charity partner or you allow employees to select their own volunteer opportunity, giving back is known to boost quality of life and increase happiness. You could host a company-wide event that raises money for charity, hold a charity drive, or have an office competition as to who can raise the most money or volunteer the most hours for a charity. Whatever form your volunteering takes, the renewed sense of purpose and reduced stress employees experience through these opportunities can also have a positive impact on their workplace productivity.
Offering on-site daycare to employees with families is both affordable and beneficial to your business. For employees, this benefit saves them hundreds of dollars a month and eliminates the inconvenience of drop-offs and pickups before and after work. You can also deduct the costs of running the program from your taxes. Though this idea may take on a bit more of a financial investment in the outset, the long-term reward comes with the ability to hire employees who may be otherwise deterred by childcare needs.
You don’t need to bankrupt yourself to attract exceptional employees to your small business. In fact, many of these non-monetary benefits provide such a significant improvement to quality of life and work-life balance, that you’ll be much more likely to retain your top performers. And as an added bonus, you might even boost productivity and enjoy a few tax deductions yourself while you’re at it! When it comes to benefits, we encourage you to think outside of the box – what small change at work could significantly improve your employees lives?