Adding benefits and perks to your compensation packages can feel like an excessive expense—especially when you’re operating on a tight budget. That being said, some benefits are worth the cost to your company. Think of them as an investment in the future of your business.
Certain benefits can help you create a more productive, satisfied, and stable workforce. In fact, you’ll need fantastic employee benefits if you want to attract top talent. You don’t want a candidate to pass you over, after all, or have a longtime employee leave because your benefits aren’t up to snuff.
So while you absolutely have options for cheaper perks that don’t cost the earth, sometimes pricier benefits are worth the cost.
Here are five benefits your company should offer if you want to attract and retain the best possible employees:
Generous paid time off
When it comes to benefits that attract and retain employees, paid time off is at the top of the list. There’s a good reason most workplaces offer some kind of paid time off. Some even go a step further by offering things like unlimited paid time off, vacation stipends, and mandatory time off.
Now, you don’t necessarily need to jump on those bandwagons (though it might not hurt to do so), but paid time off will more than pay for itself. It makes you a more competitive employer so you can hire and keep talent.
PTO will also help prevent employee burnout, which will help you maintain higher productivity. You might even find workers return from their absences with fresh ideas and solutions for longstanding problems.
As you develop your time off policy, make sure you include generous time for sick leave. Letting employees stay home and recover from illnesses will help them heal faster, which means they’ll return to full productivity sooner.
Just as importantly, paid sick leave will keep anyone who’s sick from coming into work and infecting the whole office. But be sure you don’t require employees to get a doctor’s note when they use sick leave. That kind of policy will make your employees feel like you don’t trust them. They, in turn, won’t trust you.
So while paying your employees to be out of the office might feel counterproductive, the benefits of a generous PTO policy make it well worth the expense.
401(k) retirement plans
There are many reasons you should offer a 401(k) program at your company. First and foremost, a 401(k) can help you build a better team. Many businesses now have robust 401(k) plans, often with matching, as a part of their compensation packages. To compete with them, you need one too.
Aside from helping you hire quality workers, a 401(k) plan can help you keep the good employees you already have. You won’t have workers jumping ship for the sake of getting retirement benefits.
They’ll be able to imagine your company as one they can grow old with, rather than worrying about what kind of job they need to get if they want to save enough for retirement. As your 401(k) program helps your employees stress less about their own futures, it will give them more energy and executive functioning to get work done.
Likewise, a retirement plan will give your employees confidence in your business’s future. After all, it shows you care about planning for the future—an important quality in any growing company. They’ll be more likely to assume your business has a strong strategic direction that will help it weather any bumps in the road.
With that kind of optimism, workers will be more likely to encourage others to join your team, and they’ll be more likely to stay themselves.
In other words, if you want a staff that’s invested in your business’s future, investing in your people’s futures with a 401(k) is a great way to start.
Onsite wellness programs
You may already offer health insurance to your employees (and if you don’t, that’s another benefit well worth the cost). But what if you could make it easier for your employees to get healthcare—and save some money by doing so?
Thanks to onsite health clinics, you can do exactly that. There are a variety of healthcare services you can bring right to your office, from dental checkups to counseling to vaccinations. These types of on-site clinics have proven benefits.
Your workforce will have an easier time getting preventive healthcare, which means you’ll have fewer employee absences due to acute health problems. You may even lower your long-term healthcare costs.
Imagine, for example, you choose to hold an in-office flu shot clinic. You’ll be making it easier for employees to get their flu shots, which makes them more likely to do so. The result? Workers are less likely to fall ill and less likely to share diseases. That translates to fewer employees out sick—and fewer insurance claims driving up healthcare costs.
You might also consider something like onsite dental care. Rather than make employees go through the effort of finding a dentist that works with your insurance, scheduling an appointment (potentially months out), and taking time off to get their teeth cleaned, you can bring the dentist to your employees.
With any luck, a little preventative care at the office will mean fewer emergency absences to take care of urgent root canals or other serious dental needs.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—and with onsite wellness programs, you can bring the prevention to your employees as one of our fantastic employee benefits.
Team building events
The best team building events help your employees learn to communicate and collaborate more effectively, making the cost worth the investment. While you do have options for virtually free team building events (such as office scavenger hunts), don’t be afraid to provide a healthy budget for these activities. The rewards may be well worth the cost, after all.
You might, for example, pay for a team to go to an escape room. In order to successfully complete the challenge, teams will have to coordinate their efforts, divvy up tasks, and overcome roadblocks—but without the stress, pressure, and burnout that sometimes makes those things difficult during day-to-day work. They can then take those skills and apply them back in the workplace.
In addition to the skills listed above, team building events can build trust and friendships between workers. Those kinds of personal relationships will help your employees stay invested in their teams, and therefore be more likely to stick around.
As you add team building activities to your calendar, consider making them recur on a regular basis. It can give your employees something to look forward to during difficult projects. Plus, having team activities on the schedule will make it clear you value your teams and the people on them—leading those people to value you and your company in return.
Paid volunteer time
In addition to paid time off and sick leave, try offering paid volunteer days. Giving employees dedicated days for volunteer work can help your workers feel more connected to your company and your mission. They might even speak more highly of your company to outsiders, helping you attract top-notch hires.
Depending on the type of volunteer work, these paid volunteer days are fantastic employee benefits that can also help employees flex and even grow their skills. Some types of renovation projects, for example, require people to practice project management skills; others, like volunteering with children, could help workers cultivate clearer communication practices.
You might even coordinate group volunteer opportunities, rather than sending employees off to volunteer individually. Group volunteer days can double as a type of team building event, with all the benefits.
Regardless, volunteer time offers many of the same benefits as other types of time off. It gives workers a chance to step away from their work and clear their heads so they can go back to work refreshed and ready to go. Plus, you get newly invigorated employees with good things to say about your business. Sounds like a win-win.
While you might feel tempted to offer bare-bones benefits and perks to save money, that isn’t always the best choice. Some fantastic employee benefits are worth the cost. They help you hire and keep great employees, give your workers a chance to learn and practice new skills, and build confidence and trust in your company.
If you don’t already, try offering benefits and perks like 401(k) retirement plans, generous paid time off, onsite wellness programs, team building activities, and paid volunteer time. These investments in your people will pay for themselves as they, in turn, lead your people to invest in you.
About the Author
Chloe Gawrych is a business expert at Business.org. She’s worked with many small businesses over the years. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.