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  • Ethan Hirschberg

7 Perks You Can Offer Your Employees That Won’t Break The Bank

As an employer, hiring manager, or recruiter, you've most likely noticed that attracting and retaining good talent is getting harder and harder as time goes on. The job market is fierce, and businesses of all sizes are competing to scoop up the best workers before the next opportunity arises. With costs rising every year, companies are struggling to provide good perks to employees that won't break the bank.


Company perks affect employee motivation, and it's clear that the cost of having unmotivated employees is more expensive than providing adequate benefits. According to a 2019 Forbes article, a disengaged employee costs 34% of his/her annual salary to the employer. For example, the cost of having a disengaged worker on a $75,000 salary is $25,500, which is reflected in lower productivity rates, more time off of work, etc.


Whether full-time or part-time, salary or hourly, in-person or remote, here are seven different perks that create value for employees that won't affect your bottom line:


1. Flexible Schedules


Flexible schedules are one of the top perks that a company can provide to its employees. Allowing employees to create the majority of their schedules allows individuals to maintain a healthy work-life balance and work during their "peak" times. Offering this perk shows that the management trusts its workforce to be disciplined and complete assigned tasks, however, managers may find it more difficult to schedule all-staff meetings or events with differing schedules.


2. Fifth Friday Fun Days


This perk is one of the most fun yet unique ideas that I have seen during my time as a consultant, and it really works! The idea of a Fifth Friday Fun Day is that during the year, there are only a few months that have five Fridays. Whenever there is a fifth Friday, on that day, employees either get to leave an hour or two early, get free lunch from the boss,

or participate in a fun activity that boosts morale. There are plenty of inexpensive ways to kick off the weekend a few times a year!


3. Corporate Social Outings


Corporate social outings have been around for decades, but many wonder how you can make it relate to work while still having fun. That's where managers often find themselves thinking about it the wrong way - don't make it about work. Go out for dinner and drinks, a sports game, or other outing. There's no need to spend thousands of dollars on a corporate bonding weekend retreat when causal food and conversation encourages employees to connect outside of work and builds positive relationships. You guessed it: both of these translate to a more fun, productive, and efficient workplace.



4. SIMPLE IRA Retirement Plans


A SIMPLE IRA is a type of retirement plan that is somewhat similar to a 401k or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. Generally, employers have the option to match an employee's pre-tax contribution up to 3% of annual salary. For example, if John Doe from Company ABC contributes 7% of his $60,000 annual salary ($4,200), Company ABC can also contribute 3% of the annual salary ($1,800), making the total contribution equal to $6,000. This is a great way to provide a perk while encouraging employees to plan and save for their financial future.


5. Peer Mentoring Services


New employees or seasoned employees in a new position can greatly benefit from peer mentoring, which allows an experienced employee of the same position or of one slightly higher to teach the mentee about job duties, expectations, culture, etc. This is a valuable offering for both the mentor and mentee and builds motivation and morale.


6. Continuing Education Reimbursements


Tuition assistance programs can get quite expensive, however, there are many occupations that require continuing education (CE) credits to maintain an active license/certification. These occupations include, but are not limited to, attorneys, accountants, physicians, teachers, project managers, and safety professionals. Paying for an employee's CE credits (or for other professional trainings that are not mandatory) increases motivation and in turn allows employees to stay up to date and trained in their respective fields.


7. Free Gym Memberships


Sponsoring gym memberships or other fitness classes shows employees that you care about their physical and mental well-being. According to RunRepeat, the average monthly gym membership cost in 2021 is between the range of $31.00 and $44.42. This is a low cost option that allows employees to spend their time off in a productive, enjoyable, and healthy manner.


There's truly an exhaustive list of employee perks that an employer could choose from, however, it's important to not offer too many. Just like it's better to specialize in three skills than to be mediocre in thirty, employers need to strategically choose which perks they offer their workforce to increase engagement and motivation, retention, and positive associations, all without breaking the bank. If you're ever needing assistance in picking out perks for your staff, contact me and I would be happy to set you up with a consultation.


Ethan Hirschberg is an author, speaker, and business consultant from San Diego, CA. He specializes in strategic management and human resources consulting and publishes content about professional management, company strategy, and HR practices.