Employee Perks Perfect for Building a Small Business

For small businesses looking to grow a loyal team your first instinct as an entrepreneur might be to offer a strong starting wage and lofty raises. Unfortunately that might not always be an option especially in the early days of any new company. Luckily a survey by Glassdoor shows that there are several other options when it comes to offering perks that employees will love.

Jeff Murphy at Business2Community recently analyzed the Glassdoor survey and highlighted several perks that employees say they value more than a raise. Overall 79% of those surveyed said they’d actually prefer receiving new and different benefits to getting a pay increase. For Millennial workers (aged 18 to 34) this figure went even higher with 89% saying they’d take perks over pay. As for what perks they’d like to see implemented, they can be broken down into a few different categories:


“Classic” benefits

At the top of the list were benefits that’s are mainstays in today’s culture and economy. Not surprisingly the top perk was one that’s been a hot topic over the past few years: health insurance. A whopping 40% of employees surveyed said that they’d take medical insurance over a pay raise.

Some other “classics” also made it into the some of the top spots. Coming in second with 37% was additional vacation days or paid time off. Similarly 32% would like more paid sick days available to them.

As much as employees may love their jobs many also think a lot about their retirement and how they can save for it. That’s why another traditional perk that still ranks highly for employees is a 401(k) plan. Nearly one-third (31%) of employees said they’d desire a contribution matching plan, other retirement plan, or pension as opposed to a raise.

Lifestyle perks

No two employees are the same, which also means that they won’t have the same needs. That’s likely why, although none of these lifestyle perks had a major consensus, they can all be effective at enticing certain team members. Topping this category with 30% was having a flexible schedule. This could mean allowing employees to come in later in the day to avoid traffic or even letting them work from home part or full time.

Some of the more specific perks dealt with the struggle parents face raising a child while balancing work. 13% of employees said they’d be in favor of receiving parental leave pay — both maternal and paternal —or adoption assistance to help with this issue. Another 13% said they’d like there to be on-site child care at their business.

Alignment plans

When your building a new business one of the most powerful ways to build a team is to align your goals with theirs. While there are a number of creative ways to do this, the survey shows that the most popular one is offering performance bonuses. 35% of employees said that they’d like to have such bonuses and would take them over a regular pay increase. Although not quite as popular as bonuses, stock options or equity were preferred by 16% of those surveyed. Both options are great ways to encourage your team to succeed and grow the business since they will own a part of it themselves.

Morale boosters

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make your employees happy and small gestures can go a long way. One example of this is offering office perks (such as free lunches or casual days) which 19% of employees said they appreciate more than a raise. For those in the retail space offering an employee discount is also something that team members love. Outside of work, 16% of respondents said they’d enjoy having a company-paid gym membership or for there to be a wellness program offered by their company.

Development assistance

If you’re hiring younger employees that are either in school or just graduated there are a special set of perks you might want to consider. A big one is tuition reimbursement which appealed to 18% of those surveyed. Surprisingly, beyond wanting to grow outside of their job, employees wanted to develop their skills at work. In fact 19% reported a desire for employee development programs such as on-the-job training or professional development.


Running a cash-strapped small business and trying to build a team can be difficult. However it’s good to know that many employees appreciate and ever prefer other perks (that aren’t necessarily monetary) to simply getting a raise in pay. By talking to your team and learning about their needs and desires you can find other ways to make them happy and build a better business together.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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