Every company has assets, but employees are arguably your most valuable asset.
Without a smart, competent and dedicated workforce all other organizational assets will be used at a sub-optimal level.
Beyond remuneration and recognition, employers need to keep their employees happy and engaged if they want to retain their team members.
While you may not be able to offer employees a pension and 100 percent healthcare coverage, here are 10 low-cost benefits that virtually any company can afford to implement that employees will love.
1. Birthdays off.
Everybody has one, so consider giving employees a paid day off to celebrate their birthday or perhaps a floating holiday instead.
2. Flexible scheduling.
Inexpensive scheduling and time management software eliminates many of the headaches that used to accompany this particular benefit. Flex scheduling allows employees to time-shift their work hours around the core business day, enabling them to avoid rush hour traffic, run errands during the day or attend a child's sporting event after school. Employees place high value on this flexibility.
3. Transportation benefit.
This can be as easy as a parking garage subsidy, a monthly transit card for public transportation or even a gas card.
4. Free lunch.
On a monthly basis, the boss covers the cost of lunch for employees. Either ordering sheet pizzas or renting a room at a restaurant, this modest cash outlay goes a long way toward dispelling the myth that there's no free lunch.
5. Event tickets.
Every month, rotate among employees giving away a set of four tickets to a sporting event, Broadway-style show, a comedy club, an orchestra performance or a night at the movies for their families. This is a nice gesture that shows employees you care.
6. Casual dress code.
I embraced the trend of "casual Fridays" in the early 2000s after working years in corporate America where I was required to wear a suit. Depending on your business, you may even abandon a formal dress code altogether. Employees may welcome the indirect savings they realize from not having to buy business attire.
7. Summer hours.
This is when you let employees leave work two-or-three hours early every Friday from Memorial Day through Labor Day to enjoy nicer weather and longer hours of sunshine. This is a great, cheap benefit that every employee loves.
8. Bring-your-dog-to-work day.
This can be dicey if some employees have allergies to pet dander but the ASPCA estimates that more than a third of U.S. households have dogs. Letting those dog owners in your ranks bring their respective Fidos to work once a quarter will score big points. Allowing the non-dog lovers to work from home that day doubles the doggie delight!
9. Fitness subsidy.
Offer to pay a percentage of employees' gym or fitness center memberships. Not only does this benefit help reduce employee stress it also improves employee productivity and general wellness, which curbs absenteeism and sick days.
10. Massage chair.
Every month pay to have a masseuse and massage chair offering free stress-relieving back and shoulder rubs.
What employee would NOT want to work at a company that offered these niceties? En masse these low-cost benefits help create a culture that's fun, spurs goodwill while engages employees. Doesn't every employer want that?