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While you put a lot of energy into finding the ideal candidate for an open position, you might be missing something even more important: retaining and attracting top talent through the employee benefits that you offer.

Just like you’re interviewing qualified candidates to see if they’re a good fit for your company, they are also interviewing you to determine if you provide value for them as a long-term employee.

While the average employee stays less than five years at a company, that might be a lot shorter if there’s little reason to stay on.

Benefits are a huge part of the incentives that both attract professionals to a company, as well as compel them to stay. If you’re not offering these benefits, you may not be able to retain top talent.

1. Robust Health Insurance

While you’re required by law to provide employee-sponsored health insurance to any employee who works full-time, you aren’t required to adhere to any particular plan or policy.

And yet some policies (which are, naturally, more expensive) offer expanded perks like coverage for acupuncture and massages, as well as fitness programs and other preventive measures that can keep productivity high and employees happy.

Offering dental or even vision coverage can be appealing to potential hires. Even simply covering 100% of your employees’ health insurance premium can be reason enough to sway them to stay.

2. Flexible Work Options

These days, more and more employees are taking advantage of flexible work opportunities. That might mean they come in early and leave early to avoid rush hour or that they work from home.

Giving employees some control over when and how they work goes a long way to show you trust them, and it helps them maintain a better work/life balance.

While of course there’s much to love about a flexible schedule for employees, there are also perks for you as the employer like:

  • Less tardiness and absenteeism.
  • Lower turnover.
  • High employee morale.

3. Paid Parental Leave

While paid parental leave isn’t (yet) required by federal law, a handful of states are already requiring businesses to provide it, like California. Still, whether it’s required in your state or not, offering both mothers and fathers paid leave for when they have a child is a major draw for top talent.

Again, perks go beyond hiring; employees who have a newborn don’t struggle to go back to work too soon (because they need the income) when they’re sleep-deprived and anything but productive.

As an employer, you come off as caring, which is another reason for them to keep working at your company.

4. Professional Development

The fact that when 93% of Americans advance their careers, it’s outside of the company they’ve been with says that you run the risk of that happening at your organization too…unless you provide a clear career path that will continually engage your employees and nurture them for progressively higher promotions.

No one wants to stay in their current position forever, or even more than a year or two. Certainly, it’s disruptive to have someone leave a role, but you’re better off putting the energy into training that person for another role within the company than recruiting from the outside to fill it.

Make sure you offer training and mentor programs and encourage managers to check in regularly with their charges to understand both their short-term goals for their current position as well as long-term goals for their careers.

5. Retirement (+ Matching)

Having enough for retirement is no longer a given, and as an employer, you have the power to help an employee build a nest egg for later in life.

There are several different types of tax-friendly retirement plans, including 401(k) and IRAs, and some can even be used to roll over into a Rollover for Business Startups account, which employees can use down the road to start a business if they so choose.

Matching contributions, though, is the real perk. It shows that you care about your employees and their future, and helps them speed up their retirement savings.


6. Vacation and Sick Time

This is another benefit that, while state and federal law mandate somewhat, you can go above and beyond with. Many companies are testing out unlimited paid time off (PTO) to great success. Rather than tracking every hour taken off for a doctor’s appointment, or even separating vacation time from sick time, everything is lumped in one bucket…and not tracked at all.

Before you worry that your staff will take advantage of being able to take a giant year ‘round vacation, realize that most people don’t even take more time off. It’s the idea that they can. And you can set up checks and balances to ensure that an employee doesn’t leave for weeks during a mission-critical project without HR’s approval.

7. Fun Benefits

Once their health and wellbeing, professional goals, and work/life balance are addressed, what else can you offer?

Just look to some of today’s biggest brands for ideas. Silicon Valley is chock-full of tech companies that offer free massages, Beer Fridays (with music concerts), nap rooms, foosball tables, and espresso machines. While some of these perks may seem more on par with a college campus, look at how successful and productive brands like Google and Dropbox are.

Even if you can’t justify a budget for building out a nap room, consider how you can offer a little more incentive for people to want to work for you, as well as keep your current staff happy.

  • Could you convert the meeting room into a yoga studio at lunch every day?
  • Would employees enjoy a book club?
  • What about starting a rock climbing group that meets monthly?

What you offer employees is as important as what you get from them. Make sure that you’re competitive in your industry by making your work environment more appealing through the benefits and perks that you offer.

And remember the importance of showing your staff that you care about them. Sometimes it’s the little things, like matching retirement contributions, that show them that they’re not just a cog in the wheel of this machine.


Written By
Jay Egger is a digital marketing strategist at Fit Small Business. He has extensive experience in writing, journalism, marketing, public relations and more.

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