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14 Perks to Offer Your Employees That Won't Break the Bank

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Small business owners operating on a bootstrap budget sometimes face real challenges when it comes to attracting employees. Big corporations may have a lot more money to lure in potential workers, but that doesn't mean small businesses can't compete.

So what do small businesses have that large businesses don't do? The big guys usually can't compete when it comes to flexibility and a relaxed work environment -- two huge perks that a fat salary just can't buy.

If you're looking for some ideas to entice new hires and reward your current staff, these 14 perks should give you a little inspiration.

4 Tangible Perks

  1. Employee Recognition: Reserve a spot in the parking lot for your employee of the month or highlight personal and business accomplishments in the company's newsletter.
  2. Greater Responsibilities: Believe it or not, many employees enjoy being trusted to work on more challenging projects. Offer them ways to grow and learn on the job.
  3. Increased Flexibility: Give employees the option to adjust their work schedules or work remotely.
  4. Business Travel: For some employees, being given the opportunity to represent the business at a trade show or small business conference is a great perk.

4 Intangible Perks

  1. Greater Job Satisfaction: Ask employees what skills or tools they need to do their jobs well, and help them get those things. This could mean new software or the opportunity to participate in a relevant continuing education course.
  2. Respect from Supervisors: Respect and care for employees is something that small businesses can do better than big businesses.
  3. Clear Communication: Remember that the lines of communication run both ways. Listen to your employees and don't be dismissive of new ideas or complaints.
  4. Relaxed Work Environment: A laid-back work environment is another perk that employees are looking for. Casual dress is a great incentive, and not micromanaging employees can go a long way in creating a highly desired work environment.

6 More Fun and Affordable Employee Perks

  1. Break Room Games: Got room for a ping-pong or foosball table in the break room? Games are a great way to build relationships among employees and help them de-stress after a hard day.
  2. Food: Bring in breakfast or lunch once a week or once a month to show your appreciation for a job well done.
  3. Gift Cards: You don't have to spend a lot of money, but getting an employee a gift card to a favorite restaurant or store shows that you appreciate them as employees and as individuals. Picking the right gift card sends the message that you care and are paying attention.
  4. Schedule a Day Out Together: If your office hours are flexible enough to allow it, buy everyone tickets and let all of your employees play hooky for a few hours. Catch the latest blockbuster movie or play a few holes at the local putt-putt golf course.
  5. Negotiate Perks with Local Businesses: Work to get your employees great discounts with other small businesses in your network. This could include things like an employee discount day at the local car wash or a percentage off of lunch prices at the nearby deli.
  6. Pamper Your Employees: Does your small business cycle with times of high-demand and high-stress? Reward employees with a massage or spa treatment when things slow down again.

The kinds of perks that you offer at your small business will be affected by things like the nature of work and the location of the business. But as you can see, you don't have to spend a lot of money to attract and reward your employees. The possibilities are endless.

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