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Employee benefit plans that small firms can afford

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Employee benefit plans that small firms can affordEmployee benefit plans often scare away small businesses. But employee benefit plans don’t have to be expensive. Although offering medical, dental, vision, disability and retirement plans can help you recruit and retain talent, small firms can stay competitive with a host of inexpensive benefits.

10 tips for offering low cost employee benefit plans

1. Work from home days. If your work suits it, allow your staff the occasional opportunity to avoid a commute, stay home with a sick child, or wait around for the plumber.

2. Family and personal use days. Some companies grant employees a few days for family reasons, such as the birth of a child, a spouse’s hospital stay or a school awards ceremony.

3. Massage therapy. Arrange for a local massage therapist to use a meeting room for chair massage once a week. If employees pay for their own treatments, your only “cost” is the use of a spare room.

4. Flex time. Allow employees to sometimes arrive late or leave early, in exchange for making up the hours. This can help accommodate everything from a newborn baby to an interest in the local film festival.

5. Appreciation awards. Allow your employees to thank one another with company-provided awards. One company calls these “ovations” and allows staff to send coffee shop beverage coupons to those who go out of their way to help.

6. Laser eye surgery and optometry discounts. Ask a local laser eye surgery company or optician to offer your employees discounts on products and services. The companies will be thankful for the leads, your employees will appreciate the perk and you won’t need to pay a cent.

7. Games room. Set up Foosball or billiards in the lunchroom. It gives employees a chance to unwind without straying far from the office.

8. Gym and sports store discounts. Encourage your staff on the path to wellness and stress reduction. Ask a local gym or sporting goods store to offer discounts to your employees – in exchange, you’ll put their names in front of your employees.

9. Book reimbursement. Encourage employees to keep pace with developments in their fields. Offer full or partial reimbursement of business and technical books.

10. Company barbecues. Have your executives flip burgers at a grill while employees mix and mingle over lunch. It’s a chance to say thank you in a low-key setting.

In developing your own employee retention ideas, be sure to survey your staff members. By identifying what motivates your employees, you’ll be in a better position to develop benefit plans that deliver real value – for you and your staff.

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