Start-ups and small businesses can struggle with high costs of keeping talented employees. The best team members often want a significant benefits package including things such as substantial health insurance plans, sophisticated retirement plans and extended time off, but these things can have a price tag that is too big for small organizations to afford. Attracting and keeping quality team members is critical, and there are ways to keep them excited and feeling supported that won’t overextend your company’s budget.
Health and wellness
Heath insurance coverage is more standard in larger organizations. If your company has under 50 people, offering health coverage is not required, and many small businesses opt out because of the expense. If offering heath insurance coverage is important to you, there are plans specifically tailored for small organizations with financial constraints. Doing research into coverage for small businesses can open up good options for your team. If your company cannot afford to offer any health coverage, you can still help your team by talking to them and giving them resources about individual health plans. Finally, look around for brokers in your area that can work with employees on finding the right individual plans. Brokers do not charge the company and can be a helpful resource in navigating the heath insurance maze.
An office culture promoting health is not only considered a valuable perk (that doesn’t cost much), but can also reduce illness (eliminating more sick days) and increase productivity in your organization. Supporting a healthy work environment can be done in simple ways such as offering a snack selection to keep energy up and encouraging outdoor breaks or group activities to keep people active.
Thinking about retirement is critical, and a 401(k) plan illustrates that you are concerned about your team’s future and well-being. In the past these plans were too expensive for many smaller organizations, but now there are affordable 401(k) options set up for small companies that utilize automated services, enabling them to reduce costs.
Offering employees the opportunity for growth has real value and can take many forms. Advancements to new positions, the opportunity to learn new skills and a higher level of responsibility are ways to keep employees engaged and excited about their careers within your organization. Find out if employees would be interested in learning new skills in a different department, and offering cross training to expand their skills. This straightforward opportunity can help inspire your team, and alleviate potential boredom in a position.
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Potential is a big selling tool when trying to keep good employees. Offering a stake in the organization is another perk that won’t take up front costs, and can lead to real excitement and motivation about company growth. Every organization is different, and the method to offering ownership will depend on how your organization is set up. A percent of profits (profit sharing) is a great way to incentivize and give back to employees without getting into the legalities of ownership.
Time off is an important piece of an employee’s package. Your team spends a large part of their lives in the office, and proving that your organization values home life and time off is inspiring. Don’t offer limitless and unmanaged vacation programs, as they tend not to work. Instead, make it clear that paid vacation is a privilege, and create a fair and competitive vacation and sick day policy, and openly support your team to enjoy those earned days off.
Recognition and appreciation
Benefits and perks are important, but just as effective in keeping qualified employees is creating a culture where your staff feels respected. Giving employees recognition and appreciation for their work is worth a lot. Instead of offering an employee of the month award, try regular recognition for employees that are doing outstanding work. Mention their accomplishments in a staff meeting, or put something up on your website when a task has been completed demonstrating effort that went above and beyond.
Another strategy to showing appreciation is to simply listen. Getting input is an easy way to make your staff feel heard. Don’t make the mistake of listening and not utilizing ideas. Be sure to try some suggestions, and if the ideas work, recognize the employee for their successful contribution.
One option is to allow your employees to chose which benefits they want or need the most. Some may chose heath care, while others may already be covered by a spouse and want to have additional vacation or paid training. Putting a maximum total value on all the per employee benefits can control the expense for the company, and allow flexibility for the staff members.
Even with tight budgets, the need to keep a quality team is still essential. Creating an environment that is made up of opportunity, recognition and the right incentives will help to keep your employees engaged and committed to the company. Being generous to your staff does not have to have a high price tag, and can bring enormous rewards to your bottom line.