More Thoughtful Perks That Won’t Break the Bank

team meeting

A look at other ways to reward your staff.

When recruiting and retaining staff in a competitive market, you need to think beyond the financial package and think about the full employment experience. After all, staff spend the majority of their waking hours in their work environment. Big name companies know this and strive to expand their appeal with some pretty inventive perks. Continuing on from this post, here are more whittled-down manageable ideas to inspire you to do the same with your small business.

Space (and time) for fitness

Exercise is proven to help people think better by improving memory and attention. That’s why tech giants like Google are famous for providing amazing fitness perks. That sort of investment is costly and impractical for most small businesses, but there are other ways to help your staff stay fit. Have a large area in the office that isn’t in constant use? Turn it into a Pilates or yoga studio before work or during lunch one day each week. Hire an instructor or have participating staff pool together to pay for one. If yoga isn’t their thing, consider starting a running or walking club before, during, or after work. It’s great for team building.

Time to volunteer

Studies show younger members of the workforce want to be employed by companies that try to make a difference. Giving your employees what amounts to an extra couple of days away from the office each year to put towards a good cause could have a major impact on their morale. Perhaps even more importantly, it could serve as a deciding factor for talented, socially conscience recruits considering whether to apply to work for you.

Healthy life incentives

Healthy employees cost less money. That’s why companies like 3M and Campbell Soup invest in programs to help with staff wellness, from smoking cessation programs and stress management coaches to ensuring everyone has 100% health coverage. You can do the same thing for your staff, just on a smaller scale. Invite a local chef to come and teach your staff how to make and pack a healthy lunch. Set up a flu shot party to keep illness from taking a bite out of winter productivity. You could even offer to partially subsidize affordable weight loss programs like Weight Watchers, which can help your employees take a first step toward a healthier lifestyle.


Yahoo!’s Influential Speaker Series brings in famous and interesting people from across the globe to help encourage lateral thinking. While your business is unlikely to be able to afford world-renowned personalities, there’s nothing stopping you from trying the same idea on a smaller scale. Start by inviting someone from a client or partner to come in and share insights about their industry to let your team better understand how they operate and potentially arm them with the knowledge that will help earn new business. Make it an official presentation or keep it casual in a vacant room over a catered lunch. Bring in someone once every couple of months and you’ll have a cost-effective alternative to pricy seminars and courses.