Benefit Hacks

By Jennifer E. Goldman, President of Resonance, LLC  

Most small businesses are not required, or financially equipped, to provide certain benefits to their employees. With an overwhelming number of the U.S. population being employed by small businesses (seriously, it’s nearly 100%), that means that a huge percentage of people aren’t being offered benefits like health insurance or 401(k)s by their bosses.

Just because your company may be in this same boat doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to differentiate your business and show your employees the appreciation they’re due. All you need is a little creativity and the willingness to invest some amount of money and time into giving back to your team.

By recognizing that your business would be nowhere without your employees and showing your gratitude, even in small ways, everyone wins: your crew will experience higher job satisfaction, increased company loyalty and accelerated engagement, which leads to better turnover rates, higher productivity and increased customer satisfaction.

Here are a few examples:

  • Lunch and Learn: everyone gathers once a week to spend the lunch hour together and one employee is responsible for giving a presentation. That person can talk about anything: new training experiences and what they learned, the project they’re working on, or perhaps challenges they’re facing and asking for suggested solutions. This is great for team building.
  • Fitness: hiring a fitness instructor to come in at least once a week to lead an aerobics or yoga class that’s free for all employees to participate in. If it’s affordable, another great idea is to purchase a gym membership for all employees (make sure you ask for a volume discount, though!) Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and promote healthy living.
  • Company Picnics: Take a field trip to a local park and fire up the grill! Employers provide the main dishes and employees bring a side dish to share. Several companies have found that this becomes a beloved tradition and plan one every spring and fall. What a great way to bring the team together and include their families.
  • Small Packages: you know what they say – good things come in small packages. A few times a year purchase novelty items, wrap them up and leave them on everyone’s desk. It can be as simple as a coffee mug filled with chocolates or as nice as a bottle or wine or crystal paperweight. It won’t really matter what it is, that unexpected surprise will start everyone’s day on a good note.
  • The Getaway: you can really start some excitement by having a free getaway that one random employee can win. Have gift bags filled with tissue paper and maybe some goodies (this way at least everyone gets something) and ask all the employees to pick a bag. The employee whose bag has a sticker on the inside bottom wins an overnight stay somewhere awesome, and the day off to go. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip, you can purchase a one-night stay at a local bed and breakfast or a nice hotel at the nearest beach.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated; it’s just human nature. By finding simple ways to show your employees that you appreciate them, you’ll find the benefits are immeasurable.