When it comes to recruiting talented employees to join your company, it can definitely be a competitive market — especially for small businesses. How do you attract the best talent? And perhaps more importantly, how do you make sure they stick around?
While a lot of it certainly comes down to the type of work and the overall compensation, employee benefits and perks can help. Here, we've rounded up some ideas for perks that can help you attract and retain employees.
How to Win the Talent War
Learn how to attract and retain top-notch employees.
Offer the Basics: Health Insurance
While health insurance is technically a benefit and not a perk, it's worth mentioning first. Why? Because offering health insurance is a powerful way to both attract and retain top talent. One survey found that among Americans who access employer-sponsored health insurance, 46% said it was a deciding factor in choosing their current job, and 56% said it was a key factor in staying.
In other words, it's a good idea to provide health insurance at a minimum, and then think about additional benefits and perks. If budget is an issue, consider working with a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) like Justworks, who can help you offer access to health insurance and other benefits at rates you typically couldn't get on your own.
Work Perk 1: A Functional, Stocked Kitchen
This one is almost a given, but make sure that employees can get the basics, like a cup of coffee or something to eat, right in the office. It's a pretty affordable perk for you, and employees feel happier keeping those few bucks they'd spend on their morning coffee in their bank account.
Consider stocking coffee, tea, granola bars, chips, fruit, or candy. Even better, survey your team to find out what they'd like to have on hand. As your budget allows, splurge on team meals when you can — maybe a Taco Tuesday or a breakfast sandwich Wednesday, why not? Sure, food may not be the factor that makes a recruit take the job, but it can help build a picture of your company culture, which is key for many people.
Related Article: The Bottom Line: Employee Happiness is Good for Business
Work Perk 2: An Office that Fits your Culture
While it's true that most businesses can't offer the amenity-filled campuses of Google or Facebook, you can still think of your office space as an employee perk. Creating a productive and aesthetically pleasing workplace for your employees does not necessarily require millions (or even thousands) of dollars.
Aside from that stocked-up kitchen mentioned above, try to provide spaces for both collaboration and deep work, offer comfortable seating as well as standing desks, and add some art and potted plants. Experiment with what suits your company culture, and get feedback from your team so you can always keep improving. Making a space that people enjoy working in every day is one component of retaining talent.
Related Article: 5 Tips to Help Transform Your Workspace into an Employee Benefit
Work Perk 3: Remote Work Opportunities
No matter how great your office is, today's workers value flexibility and work-life balance. If it's not totally essential for your employees to be in the office to do their job, a flexible policy around remote work is a great perk to offer. One survey of millennials found that 75% of respondents would prefer to have more opportunities to work remotely. Providing those opportunities is a great way to attract top talent.
With technology like video calling and message apps, it can be easy to maintain normal productivity while working from home. In fact, many people find those days without office distractions to be especially productive. Consider starting out by designating one day per week as a remote work day, and see how people respond.
Work Perk 4: Generous Paid Time Off
Create a paid time off policy that works for your team. Offering your employees the chance to take the time they need to relax and refresh away from the office helps people to feel more focused when they are at work. It's also good for team morale and helps avoid burnout among your top talent.
Paid time off is an easy offering, and a lot of other small businesses and startups offer it, too. A "generous" policy might mean different things to different people, so it can be helpful to look at what other companies in your industry offer to set a benchmark and stay competitive. For tips on how to build a policy, check out our blog post on Crafting a PTO Policy for your Growing Business.
Work Perk 5: Education Assistance
This perk is a bit more aspirational (and typically more expensive), but providing education assistance can really help your business stand out when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. Americans owe more than $1.6 trillion in federal and private student loan debt, and this issue impacts Millennials and Gen Z in particular. If you're trying to recruit people in this age group, consider offering tuition reimbursement or student loan repayment as a perk.
For small- to medium-sized employers, offering tuition reimbursement may seem out of reach. But it may not be as expensive as you think. Tuition reimbursement programs are tax-deductible (up to a $5,250 maximum per employee). And while student loan repayment benefits are currently not tax-deductible at any level, you can customize your policy to accommodate your budget. Many companies offer a maximum reimbursement amount per year and/or over the course of an employee’s tenure.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.