employee benefits

employee benefitsOne of the strategic ways to retain top talent at your company is to offer great employee benefits and perks (in addition to a competitive salary, of course). While large companies, such as Google and Facebook, have the financial means to offer great benefits such as paid maternity/paternity leave and endless gourmet food, smaller companies often have to be more creative in coming up with ways to show employee appreciation while not overextending their budgets.

Here are 5 low-cost employee benefits that small companies can offer:

Sliding Bonus Scale

While giving out bonuses certainly sounds expensive, you can create a sliding bonus scale which rewards employees who bring in new customers and otherwise generate new revenue. This means that you only need to shell out bonuses relative to revenue. It’s also a successful incentive for employees to work hard, and it shows them that their hard work is appreciated.

Caveat: The sliding bonus scale needs to be available to all employees – otherwise, it can backfire and create an environment of tension and resentment. Make sure your company is set up in such a way that everyone can vie for these bonuses.

Flex Time

Employees love having the option to work from home if necessary, or having a set schedule that allows them to work from home 1-2 days a week. Not only is working from home a perk that gets employees excited, but it also a perk that doesn’t cost money. As a matter of fact, the work-from-home option might actually save the company on rental space, utilities, office food, and parking spaces.

Allowing the option to work from home also allows employees to work even when they are sick – without the risk of infecting fellow employees.

Commuter Benefits

Companies can offer a stipend to employees who commute to work via public transportation. It doesn’t need to cover the entire cost, but even a small amount can go a long way toward winning employee loyalty. Plus, many cities have tax-free transit fare programs, which can help companies save on taxes. (You can check out Florida’s extensive list of programs here.)

Employees who drive to work can also be offered a gas stipend, or a company car, if that’s in the budget.

A Good Health Plan

According to Monster.com, as well as numerous recent surveys, the benefit that employees care most about is health insurance. Therefore, while offering a good health care plan will cost more than offering the bare minimum, it will also help in attracting and retaining top talent. Plus, when employees don’t need to worry about paying large out-of-pocket sums for their medical bills, they are free to be more productive at work.

Monthly Company Lunch

If you don’t have the budget to offer your employees lunch every day (because frankly, the costs can really add up), offering lunch once a month is a more-affordable perk that shows your employees you care, and moreover, it is an event that employees look forward to every month.

Most Important: Create a Positive Work Culture

You can offer the best benefits in the world, but if managers denigrate employees or foster an atmosphere of competition and negativity, workers won’t want to stay. So bear in mind that even if you offer great, low-cost employee benefits, you still need to work on creating a positive work environment.