Choosing the right benefits for your small business employees

They may seem trivial as an employer, but even small employee benefits can have a big impact on your business. Employees receiving them will show more loyalty, as a study found that 71% of small business employees satisfied with their benefits were less likely to leave for another company, while benefits are the primary factor for more than 50% of millennials in deciding where to work.

Benefits therefore have a role to play in attracting and retaining the top talent for your business, as well as the more obvious effects of keeping them happy and healthy in the long term.

In this article we’ll look at how to decide what benefits you should provide for your employees.

Check what benefits you are legally required to provide

Laws vary widely from place to place, but wherever your business is, there are likely some benefits that you are legally bound to provide for your employees.

Most often, these will be fairly basic considerations like rest breaks, minimum holiday allowances, and statutory sick pay. But there may also be requirements like retirement savings, longer job-protected unpaid leave, or the right to make a flexible working request.

It’s definitely worth starting your own employee benefits selection process by reading up on what the relevant regulations for your business or consulting either an attorney or local government body.

For example, comprehensive guides have been written for UK regulations, just make sure you check for any recent changes.

Consider what could set you apart or provide added value

Once you’ve covered the fundamentals, it’s time to think about the fun stuff! Use additional perks that differentiate your businesses from others out there and make the prospect of working there inherently more interesting.

Choosing employee benefits that tie into your company culture is often a good way to get started here. If you’re a relaxed, fun-loving office, then a retro arcade break-room is more likely to be a hit than if you oversee a team of smart and serious professional consultants.

If you’re big on working hard together and then rewarding success, why not consider incentivised perks and ones that will bring your team closer? If you’re all about a specific lifestyle choice - anything from yoga to veganism to bodybuilding - then perks that fit that theme could work well too.

Plenty of big businesses have perks that mesh well with their image. Cosmetics brand Lush has a celebratory feel to it and it’s no surprise to learn that they give employees an extra day off on their birthday. They also instill and reward brand advocacy by offering employees 50% discounts on their products.

When you’re planning benefits financially, you should also check which ones are tax-deductible, as you’ve the potential to save without drawbacks just by choosing tax-deductible options among similar benefits.

Ask your employees what benefits they want

With a list of potential benefits drafted, your next source of information should be your own employees. They may not feel the same way as you do about the value of certain benefits or may have ideas that you hadn’t considered.

If you’re in this consultation stage, it’s important to be open-minded and to encourage honest dialogue. Don’t shoot down ideas just yet—hear employees out, listen to their reasoning, and take any and all suggestions away to consider. Even if you know that certain benefits may not be possible, it’s important for morale to give everyone a fair chance to have their opinion considered.

If you have trouble deciding between certain benefits, or are looking to narrow down a list, talk to your employees again. Present some potential benefits and ask for their open-ended opinion or for them to rank the benefits they feel would be most important to them. You may be surprised by what comes out on top.

Your aim throughout the conversation should be to demonstrate your investment in your employees, and how you are looking to help in every aspect of their lives, from professional development and workplace environment to their health and work/life balance.

If you can choose employee benefits that keep people happy and healthy at work and at home, you’ll be on the right track.

About the author

Jake Waller is a wordsmith who plies his trade here at Findmyshift. He uses his background in engineering to simplify complex topics for a variety of tech firms. When not writing for Findmyshift he blogs under a pseudonym at My Name is Skylance and has a passion for creative writing and editing, about which he's always talking on Twitter.