Recently, two big companies announced monumental changes to their parental leave policies: Virgin announced it would offer one year of paid parental leave, and Nestle announced that it would be allowing employees to take 14 weeks of paid parental leave. These are big benefits offered by big companies. So as a small business, how do you offer employee benefits that can attract big talent?
According to the most recent U.S. Census, 11 percent of the American workforce is employed by small businesses with less than 10 employees. This puts these small businesses at a huge advantage when looking to attract and hire talented employees. Small businesses have a set of unique benefits they can offer to get and keep dedicated employees. Here's a look at just a few:
We’re not just discussing profit-sharing, although that is clearly one method to attract a talented employee. Focus less on material benefits for an expert manager, analyst or designer, and more on making them a vital a part of the business. Someone who’s making $80,000 a year but feels as if they are replaceable, can never really be satisfied with the job. Someone who’s making two-thirds that wage but knows they will earn more as the company grows -- and that they have a say in how the company grows -- will be a whole lot happier.
Some of the heavy-hitters, like Google, have a fully-loaded employee cafeteria where employees can get their three squares a day, plus unlimited snacks and beverages. Other companies have on-site medical clinics or rooms for napping. All of these perks are really cool, but your small business doesn't need to offer the same ones to attract top talent. Try a stocked fridge in the break room with healthy snacks and beverages, or offer a stipend for employee gym memberships. You can keep employees motivated and feeling valuable to the company by giving them a gift card for a job well-done. Instead of offering stock options, give a quarterly or year-end bonus. Help your employees feel protected and secure by offering identity-theft protection as a voluntary employee benefit.
3. More flexibility with work-life balance
Although your business may not be able to offer employees a year, or even 14 weeks, of paid parental leave, there is room for more flexibility in employee work schedules. Allow employees to work from home a few times a week. Small businesses also have more flexibility in when people work, since the business may be seasonal. Give employees two weeks of paid vacation during the off-season, and be generous with personal days throughout the year. And if you go all out, follow Bart Lorang’s policy at FullContact, where he gives employees $7,500 as a "Paid, Paid Vacation." If possible, allow employees to work from a different geographical location than where the business is based. With technology, a virtual office can be set up almost anywhere. That way, if you find great talent in a city different from your own, you can still feel comfortable hiring the individual without requiring a life-changing move out-of-state.
4. Competitive wages and health benefits
As mentioned before, you may be able to offer a slightly smaller salary in exchange for the unique opportunity to be more valued in the company. But don't offer too low of a salary. Remain competitive by offering a similar wage. Obviously, a more educated and experienced candidate will need to be compensated accordingly. You should also offer your employees full health benefits. Don't be stingy in this area. Many a job offer has been declined because of a lack of full health benefits. You can join a small business insurance marketplace so you can offer employees full benefits at a reduced cost to your business.
Competing with the large corporations for top talent doesn't have to be all that hard. Using the above suggestions, you're armed and prepared to attract dedicated and capable employees who can help your company grow and maybe even catch up with the big corporations.