Today’s competitive job market has employees sitting in the driver’s seat. Since there are currently more jobs out there to be filled than people to fill them, employers are being pushed to compete for the attention and services of each industry’s top talent.

Traditionally, this meant offering higher salaries. Nowadays employees are placing more and more value on things other than salary when it comes time for searching a job. This means that in order to stay relevant when hiring, you need to offer a benefits package that is comparable if not better than that of your competitors.

If you’re a small business, this can be really hard to do. There are many challenges to running a small business and trying to keep up with industry leaders can quickly put you in a hole, so it’s important that you think a little more creatively and offer something different, or at least market it in a way that’s more appealing to job seekers.

Here are some ways to incentivize current and prospective employees without breaking the bank.

Get Flexible

Being able to build a healthy work-life balance is one of the top desires of today’s workers. Practically no one wants a job that consumes them, and with digital technologies now fully integrated into the ways we live and do business, it’s easy for modern employees to feel as though they are “always on,” which has caused people to push back against an increasingly-demanding work culture.

Giving people the opportunity to find this balance is an easy and cheap way for you to please your employees and attract top talent. Offering flexible working hours, or the opportunity for people to telecommute will allow them to better organize their personal and professional lives, which leads to greater balance, improved wellness, better engagement and, ultimately, higher productivity. It’s a little-known fact that remote workers are actually more engaged and productive than in-office employees, offering more support for making this a workplace perk.

And doing this costs you nothing or next to nothing. You may need to make some small infrastructure investments, such as getting people key fobs so that they can securely access company networks from home, or subscriptions to productivity suites such as Slack, but these really aren’t going to break the bank. Yet employees will love having this job benefit, making everyone happier and more productive.

Trust People to Do What’s Best

This one might feel a bit controversial, but offering unlimited time off is a benefit you can offer that people love and that won’t cost you too much.

At first, this might not seem like an inexpensive option. After all, the whole concept of paid time off is to pay people not to work. But unlimited leave doesn’t mean people don’t do their jobs. Instead, you can structure this program so that people earn days off based on the amount of time they work. Many companies already do this, but they put a cap on how much time one can accrue. In an unlimited scenario, you simply remove this cap, meaning people can theoretically amass huge amounts of time off.

This doesn’t need to be a free-for-all. You can put some limits on the program, such as requiring people to work a certain amount of time before they start earning paid leave, or limiting the amount of time someone can take off at once. It also doesn’t have to be an admin nightmare. There are plenty of agencies and advisors who can help with your HR admin to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Giving your people the freedom to collect as much leave as possible is liberating, and it helps position you as a laid back, well-meaning company, something highly-desired by labor today.

Free Desktop Music, Food and Coffee

People love free stuff. This is a fact of life. And things are no different when it comes to your employees. Stocking the office with food and coffee that people can take freely is a small benefit that will go a long way, since nothing says stuffy corporate culture like vending machines. And because this is such a popular thing to do these days, you can easily find an affordable way to bring food into the office and give it away (snack box services and coffee subscriptions are huge these days!).

small business budget


The free desktop music perk, though, is somewhat new. Streaming services such as Spotify will allow you to sign your company up, giving your employees access to their music. Since most people listen to music while they’re working anyway, this is a great way to address people’s needs and give them something they want without having to spend a fortune.

Create a Fun Workplace Culture

Company culture is rapidly becoming one of the most important things people consider when looking for a job. And while you may never match the prestige of some of the champions of corporate culture such as Google and Facebook, you can take some steps to make your office a more enjoyable place to work.

Opening up the office to natural light, setting up comfortable furniture and organizing events for people to have fun and get to know each other are all inexpensive ways to make your workplace culture more exciting and inviting. And this will help your company establish a reputation as a good place to work, which will keep your best employees around while also helping you attract top talent.

Show People You Care

In the end, many people choose to work at small businesses because they like the environment. It’s easier to feel like an important piece of the puzzle in a small company, and it’s also easier to get to know people. As a result, focus on offering perks and benefits that show people you care. This will endear them to you and increase the chances they keep working and keep working hard.

About Jock

Jock is a successful entrepreneur and business owner. He has been an entrepreneur for nearly his entire career, and he enjoys contributing to online discussions taking place between small business owners.