So your company is growing and you’ve hired a few employees, but now it’s time to start thinking about benefits. It can be daunting for a small business owner, especially when you consider all the costs involved. However, there are a lot of ways to offer some great benefits for your staff without totally breaking the bank. Of course, a great insurance plan, 401k and other similar benefits are important too, but here are a few suggestions of other ideas to help you show your staff how much you value their hard work.

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Understand your staff’s needs

As you’re planning benefits for your staff, it’s important to consider who your staff really is and to understand their needs. For example, if your staff doesn’t have any children, then providing better orthodontic care in the benefits is probably not going to be that helpful. If you do have younger staff, then some educational reimbursement would be a bigger draw. Taking the time to actually think about your staff can help cut costs and eliminate unnecessary benefits that your employees won’t take advantage of anyway.


Flex time

Here’s a simple benefit that is really of very little cost to you. With many small businesses, especially startups, you’ll have employees that find themselves working nearly around the clock on various projects. You can easily compensate them for those hours worked at home by being flexible with the actual work hours. Some companies will have staff work specific hours with a few hours of flex around those, while others make the entire schedule flexible, as long as work is done on time.


Gym memberships

You may think that adding an expensive gym membership to your employee’s benefit plan would be too expensive, however, it may actually lower your insurance cost and prevent sick days. If you can install a gym in your building, even better. If not however, you can easily provide a membership or monthly stipend designed for gym memberships, fitness classes or other healthy choices.

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Food and beverages

Another small cost that can really add value for your employees is to provide them with food and drinks during the work day. The simple addition of a fridge stocked with soda, juices, tea and water is a relatively small cost that will pay back by improving workers’ moral and keep them motivated throughout the day. Add a few snack options, and you don’t have to offer huge catered lunches all the time. Just a few snacks and drinks is all you need to help show your employees that you care about the workplace moral.


Break room

Create a space in the break room that truly allows your employees to relax. Instead of a cold-harsh room with a few tables and a microwave, try bringing in a couch or two for added comfort. Add some board games or table top games like foosball and air hockey. Decorate the room well and provide a space that actually is fun for a break. It will encourage your staff to take breaks, which results in more productivity throughout the work day. It’s amazing to see how few employees actually take their daily breaks, so by providing them with a break-worthy space, you’ll find you have happier, healthier and more productive employees.



This article was written by Deborah Flomberg of for CBS Small Business Pulse.

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