Benefits & Compensation News

50 low-cost employee benefits

We’ve scoured the web to find the best ideas for low-cost employee benefits that will help you attract and retain top-notch talent without breaking the bank. Here are the top 50 cited by both HR experts and employees in the trenches:

  1. Flextime – Flexible work schedules are not only valued highly by workers, employers see positive results as well: improved retention, fewer stressed and burnt-out workers, and overall, happier employees who are more satisfied with their work/life balance.
  2. Telecommuting – Allowing employees to work from home offers many of the same advantages as flextime. In addition to improved productivity due to fewer interruptions, it offers the ability to work at the time of day the employee is most effective, and employees can work during the time they would normally spend commuting.
  3. Commuter benefits/transit passes for those who use public transportation.
  4. Summer hours – Who wouldn’t like to leave a little early on Fridays to enjoy the nice weather?
  5. Relaxed dress code/No dress code.
  6. Paid time off for parental leave – Maternity AND paternity leave.
  7. Negotiate discounts at area businesses such as gyms or fitness centers, the local Y, dry cleaners, day cares, dog day cares, car dealerships, etc.
  8. On-site wellness benefits such as a gym with showers, group fitness classes, nutrition workshops, flu shots, etc.
  9. Other wellness benefits like online health assessments, coaching, etc.
  10. Showers for those who bicycle to work.
  11. Employee sports such as softball, soccer, etc.
  12. Paid time off to volunteer at a local nonprofit.
  13. Games in the break room – Pool, foosball, air hockey, darts, etc.
  14. “Chill” area with couches and chairs – Sometimes, employees need a place to get away from their desk, chat with coworkers, rest their eyes, etc.
  15. Ice cream socials to celebrate big sales, a co-worker’s milestone, etc.
  16. Library – Set one up in a conference room lined with bookshelves and ask employees to send you lists of resources they want to have on hand for learning new skills, reference, etc.
  17. Family events – Holiday parties, summer picnic, etc.
  18. Company-sponsored group outings – Bowling, mini-golf tournament, golf outing, amusement park, etc.
  19. Fun days tailor-made to employees’ interests, like snowboarding, hiking, boating, etc.
  20. Invest in top-notch equipment and the latest technology – Don’t make your employees work on junk. Not to mention, younger workers place a lot of importance on the caliber of technology they are expected to use.
  21. Organize team building events – Holding them off-site during work hours makes them more of a perk.
  22. Give employees a free smartphone for business and personal use.
  23. Negotiate a discount for employees with company suppliers.
  24. Let employees use company equipment for personal use (i.e. copiers, postage machines, etc.).
  25. Paid time off – Let employees choose how to spend their personal allotment of vacation, sick days, holidays, etc. (or, don’t track paid time off at all).
  26. Generous vacation – Four weeks to start, and bump it up to five weeks after “X” number of years.
  27. Sabbaticals – One month after five years, two months after 10 years; have employees share their experiences with their coworkers.
  28. Free 15 minute chair massages once a week.
  29. Promote work/life balance – Encourage people to go home in time for dinner.
  30. Children – Let employees bring their kids to work when they need to and set aside an area just for them to hang out.
  31. Dogs – If everyone loves dogs, let the house-trained and well-socialized ones join you at the office.
  32. Rewards – Offer rewards like movie and concert tickets or restaurant gift certificates (and throw in babysitting money) for meeting goals.
  33. Free “brown bag” lunchtime seminars or workshops presented by local business people on financial topics or whatever employees say they want to learn more about.
  34. Offer employees interest-free loans to buy computers for home.
  35. Excess inventory giveaways – Give away excess company inventory or allow workers to purchase it at a deep discount.
  36. Charitable gift matching.
  37. Adoption assistance.
  38. Bonus money for employee referrals (new hires).
  39. Green perks – Set aside preferred parking spots for employees who drive hybrids or offer subsidies to employees who buy them.
  40. Tuition forgiveness – Offer tuition forgiveness for “X” years of service.
  41. New moms/dads – Organize meals for new moms and dads (see Mealbaby.com) or offer to cover up to $300 worth of take-out/delivery.
  42. Health insurance – Offer employees a choice of several different plans; one size doesn’t always fit all.
  43. Free coffee, drinks, and snacks – Offer healthy options and get suggestions from your employees.
  44. Provide meals – Make them free, subsidize the cost or have workers pay, but have them available on-site.
  45. Order lunch for everyone once a week, once a month, etc.
  46. Set up employee eligibility for credit union membership.
  47. Voluntary, supplemental insurance like vision, dental, disability, etc.
  48. Dry cleaning service to pick up and drop off at your location
  49. Laundry service to pick up and drop off at your location
  50. Contract with a local car care business to do oil changes or detailing in your parking lot.

Of course, you could always ask your employees what they’d like to see you implement. They might come up with some simple, inexpensive ideas you might never have thought of yourself. Plus, asking people’s opinions may even boost office morale.

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