How to offer staff benefits when you don’t have a big budget to spend
Running a business of any size is hard work. If you’re running a reasonably small business, it can be even harder because very often everything is down to you – the owner.
You need a team behind you to lighten the load and increase your capacity – and that comes at a price.
The Salary Squeeze
Typically, larger companies are in the financial position to squeeze SME and micro-businesses out of the market when it comes to salary. Perhaps they can offer bonuses and overtime that would cripple a smaller organisation. Or they can offer the ‘bells and whistles’ that are attractive to potential employees – think gym memberships, healthcare or generous pension arrangements.
How can you compete?
The good news is lifestyle benefits mean that you can attract highly skilled and experienced staff to your business who, if the battle was purely salary based, might be too expensive for your budget.
This is often because they have personal needs that you will meet through a package of lifestyle benefits that cannot be met through a higher salary.
These days a key factor in attracting great talent to your business is the lifestyle benefits on offer.
It’s important to offer a reasonable and competitive salary for the job – after all, you want to be confident of engaging competent staff that will contribute to your business.
However, offering greater flexibility than your corporate competitors might be willing to offer can be a big selling point.
Flexible working can take many forms, from the ability to work contracted hours over a defined period to utilising technology to support remote and / or evening working patterns.
Of course, this depends on the type of business you are running but if you are prepared to approach flexibility in a creative manner, you’ll be surprised how attractive you become as an employer.
If you don’t have the budget to compete with employers offering free healthcare, perhaps you could offer holistic therapies instead. There is an almost endless choice of therapists who treat staff in the workplace. If footing the entire bill is too much, subsidising the cost will still be attractive – especially to workers who might never otherwise take any time for self-care.
Your staff often spend more waking hours at work than they do at home. Help reduce stress, improve staff engagement and encourage wellbeing by instilling a culture of good health.
A lunchtime running (or walking) club will get people moving and benefitting from time in the fresh air. Likewise, office fruit and veg boxes are a healthy alternative to the more commonplace cake and biscuit tins!
Think about the personalities in your business and create ‘perks’ that resonate with them. Examples include:
- Help reduce the guilt felt by parents and grandparents in your team by promoting time off to attend school shows.
- Show your staff you care by giving them a day off for their birthday.
- Giving them time off either paid or unpaid for volunteering
- Encourage the team to express themselves with relaxed dress codes when appropriate for your business.
Keep it fair and consistent
Being fair and consistent doesn’t mean offering everyone identical benefits. For benefits to be appealing to the individuals in your team, they must resonate on a personal level.
However, you do need to be confident that you are not unintentionally favouring some staff over others. This can be a bit of a balancing act but something we are very happy to help you with.
Why not take part in our survey to see how you stack up to other business and also get some great ideas !
You will receive the findings once they have been collated, but as well as that, you will be entered into a draw to win an afternoon tea for two at the Lime Wood Hotel!