Mainstream media tends to gravitate toward large companies for HR benefits and trends. Netflix’s year-long parental leave, Google’s new workspace, Facebook’s hovercrafts and teleporting (wait, they don’t have that yet?) These large companies are successful for a variety of reasons, and their benefits play a part in that.

With all the bells and whistles these and other large companies offer, it’s easy to see where small businesses could have a hard time keeping up. Without an army of HR professionals, big data or droids that deliver lunch, what’s a small business to do?

Fear not. Small businesses have a few cards up their sleeve. With nearly half 1 of Americans working at a small- or medium-sized business, they must be doing something right.

They can gather input from everyone

If you employ 20 people, it’s realistic to assume you can ask every single employee what matters to them as it relates to benefits, education or work perks. Delivering on what’s important to your employees is a huge factor in employee retention.

Fishbowl, one of this year’s 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security, is a great example of a company that’s committed to giving its employees a voice in choosing the coverages that best meet their individual needs. For example, Fishbowl’s default comprehensive health plan is a high-deductible plan with an HSA option, but it recently decided to also offer an alternative plan that provides a richer benefit than the default plan. “Our goal is to reassure our employees that they have great options that align with their personal needs, which we hope will help persuade them to continue growing with Fishbowl long-term,” said Fishbowl CEO David Williams. They currently enjoy 1 percent voluntary turnover, which is much lower than the 11 percent national average.

You can be agile

Another huge advantage of smaller companies is less corporate red tape. Decisions are streamlined, and changes are often times easier to implement.

Two of this year’s winning companies, Fishbowl and WE Insure Group, Inc., have pet-friendly workplaces. When you employ 103 and 45 employees, respectively, you can assess how animal-loving your workforce is and make those kinds of decisions. It might seem small, but the little things can add up to a big difference when it comes to employee morale.

You know more about your employees - without investing in big data

Every benefits expert agrees that your personal situation should influence how you insure and save for the future. When you own and run a small business, you simply know more about your team. 

For Atrion Inc.’s CEO, the discovery that an employee deployed to Afghanistan had been taking loans against his 401(k) plan to provide for his family, despite the fact that Atrion’s program followed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requirements, was an eye-opener. They quickly adjusted their active-duty deployment policy and paid the difference between his active-duty and Atrion compensation, and made the policy retroactive to his deployment date. Now that is knowing what’s important to your employees.

When you know what your employees value in their benefits, you shift from cookie cutter to customized. Customized benefits that help employees gain financial security can be a game changer for businesses. When employees’ benefits are personally relevant for them, they do great work, and that’s great for business.