With open enrollment approaching and year-end planning, benefits are top of mind for employers and employees alike. In today’s workplace, more than ever before, benefits are big differentiators. They go a long way in recruiting and retaining top talent, as well as furthering employee satisfaction and company culture. However, companies don’t have to break the bank to offer perks their employees will value.
Below are a few examples of low-cost benefits that your organization should consider.
- Flexible work arrangements (FWAs): This is my favorite – a must do – and the most low-cost option for employers. Although many employers are still not open to providing flexible work arrangements, they can often be a huge retention and employee-satisfaction strategy. Employees find it invaluable to own their schedule and do not want to risk moving to a more rigid organization that would limit their flexibility. This is also important with employees entering the workforce, as it gives them the flexibility to still enjoy life, travel, etc., but also begin a career. For organizations that are worried about offering FWAs (assuming their industry is able to do so), there are many benefits to pushing through the obstacles to make it happen. When expectations are properly set and performance is regularly evaluated and addressed, FWAs can actually improve productivity in addition to the other benefits noted above. Many employees with FWAs say they get more work done at home due to limited interruptions, better focus, and additional time they would otherwise spend commuting. It’s a worthwhile measure for your company to consider.
- Dress code: In the office environment, “business casual” is becoming a thing of the past. Jeans are more acceptable than ever. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” can now mean being approachable, part of the team and a natural leader for the organization in, yes, blue jeans! If you are hesitant to make the change, start with business casual tops and jeans but avoid flip flops/sneakers. A great option could be to provide all employees with comfortable and attractive tops featuring the company logo. Not only will they want to wear them more, but you’d get free marketing when they run errands after work!
- Food: While not always the most affordable measure, the benefits of stepping up your food offerings can reap more rewards than you ever imagined! This doesn’t necessarily mean feeding everyone a catered meal. There are a variety of ways to feed your employees’ way to happiness. Try hosting summer picnics and providing hot dogs/hamburgers/salad. Or commit to identifying employees who you want to retain and develop, and take them to lunch on a regular basis. Try bringing every employee out for a meal one-on-one every six months. Consider random acts of food kindness, like McMuffin Monday, Taco Bell Tuesday, Watermelon Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday (milkshakes from Sonic during happy hour), and Fruity Friday.
The benefits covered in this post are just a sampling of low-cost options. Other areas include wellness programs, partnerships with local car washes, free snacks in the breakroom, office games, extra days off for recognition – the list goes on and on! With the cost effectiveness of such benefits, every organization – regardless of size, budget and other factors – can try them out to see what resonates best with their employees.