Show your employees your appreciation with a little something extra this Christmas. After all, it's the season of giving! And why not offer them a gift that gives back to you: improved retention, a boost in morale and a competitive advantage for your company.
"Fringe benefits are the extras. The gravy. The icing on the cake," explain the experts at the National Federation of Independent Business. The following are the number of meaningful incentives and benefits that NFIB.com suggests offering your staff:
1. Gym memberships. "Many gyms and health clubs across the country are willing to work with you on discounted rates for your employees and possibly their families. Whether you pay for half or all of a gym membership for your employees, they are sure to appreciate the nudge toward a healthier lifestyle. Having a healthy and active staff may also reduce the number of claims on your health insurance policy."
2. Flexible hours. Retail work is all over the board. You have 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday people, but also evening and weekend staff. Even so, you might see if any of your employees would like to switch it up. Keep this option open to them at all times.
3. Continuing education. "All small business owners want their employees to know the latest and greatest ways to work in your specific industry. Encourage employees to attend conferences and seminars that would benefit your business. Allowing (and paying for) employees to attend one outside educational event each year will keep your staff informed and excited about learning."
4. Shopping clubs. "Have you ever considered paying for memberships to shopping clubs such as Sam's, BJ's or Costco for your employees? At about $50 a year per employee, the ability to shop at these discount clubs could be a great benefit to employees with large families or those who shop with a specific budget in mind."
5. A stocked breakroom. "Creative and productive employees need to fuel their minds and bodies throughout the day. Instead of letting them run to the (food court) or vending machine down the hall for high-fat and high-calorie goodies, keep healthy snacks and beverages stocked in your breakroom. Fresh fruit, trail mix and juice will energize working minds and bodies much better than caffeine and nougat."
6. Tickets to local sporting events. "There is a small business owner near Dallas, Texas, with season tickets to home games for the Cowboys. Several times a year, he puts all of the employees' names into a hat (a cowboy hat, of course), and draws out a name to receive two tickets to a game. Everyone has an equal chance to go, and once an employee has received tickets, his or her name doesn't go back into the hat until next year."
7. Time to volunteer. "Your small business gives back to the community, and your employees would probably appreciate the opportunity to do the same. You might consider offering employees a couple of ‘off' hours each month to volunteer for a charity close to their hearts. Employees would appreciate the time, and so would the dogs they walk, the students they tutor or the elderly they spend time with."
8. Financial management assistance. "Especially in today's world, personal budgets can take a beating from high gas prices, increasing grocery costs and just handling day-to-day expenses. Consider paying for each employee to meet with a financial planner once a year."
Fringe benefits that employees truly value are more than just a demonstration of your appreciation. They create a culture for your company. Consider what activities or extras best suit the image of your company. They could be things you value personally, as a business owner – positive things from your own life that you choose to share with your employees. Of course, these benefits need to work within your budget. But don't forget: They're an investment in good people.