Perks are short for perquisites, which Merriam-Webster defines as “a privilege, gain, or profit incidental to regular salary or wages.”
According to Clutch, “perks increase workers’ efficiency, decrease turnover, and improve company culture overall.” Consider these statistics from Clutch:
- Over 42% of full-time employees have no employee perks at all.
- 66% of employees who do receive perks are satisfied with them.
Reluctance to offer perks
While the survey doesn’t address the reason why so many businesses fail to offer perks, I can come up with a couple of them:
- Cost. Many small business owners view perks as a costly endeavor. When they think of perks, health care, retirement plan contributions, and paid leave may come to mind. These are all costly to companies, but there are other perks that aren’t.
- Lack of understanding the options. Some small business owners may think about perks as meaning stock options, sabbaticals, athletic club memberships, and company cafeterias (some of the perks offered by some large employers). This perception ignores the low- or no-cost options that can be given by smaller companies.
Types of perks to consider
There are an unlimited number of options that you can offer to your staff. Most of them are fully tax deductible by you and don’t entail any payroll tax costs. Some are no-cost options for you. Here are some to consider:
- Flexible work hours. This may be working longer hours for fewer days (e.g., 9 or 10 hours for 4 days a week).
- Working remotely. Allowing employees to work from home—some or all of the time—may be highly prized even though it may actually save the company money (e.g., needing to rent less space because of remote workers).
- Wellness programs. These support employees’ healthy living choices and, hopefully, contribute to less absenteeism, greater productivity, and lower health care costs.
- Professional development. Supporting employee education and professional development may cost you dollars but contributes to employee satisfaction. For example, a recent Accountemps survey of job candidates found that professional development and training was especially important to younger workers (ages 18 to 34).
- Little things on site. Fruit in the breakroom, birthday remembrances, and other small details show you care about your employees.
Of course, it’s a good idea to address health coverage, retirement plan contributions, and paid leave options, all of which can be pricey. But don’t ignore the opportunity to offer other prized but less costly perks to keep your workforce satisfied.