Many people leave their jobs for higher pay or better positions with the possibility of advancements they do not have with their current employer. However, the potential of earning a higher income is often a secondary reason for leaving a company. Most employees want to feel valued.

To incentivize a highly valued employee with a big salary only to lose them to a competitor due to workplace toxicity or feelings of disconnection can be upsetting. Creating an environment where people want to work is not only more valuable than what monetary inducements provide, it also increases the company’s attractiveness to talented employees.

They say the grass is greener on the other side, but it just might be spray-paint covering a dead lawn. To be more competitive and keep employees from seeking fresher pastures, think about what benefits can be provided from within the company.


What benefits can my small business offer?

–       Develop ways to make employees feel valued and appreciated.

The core of this benefit is about building self-esteem and trust which translates into happier, more productive workers. Doing this through communication is key. Listen and act on feedback. Develop a rapport of mutual respect where employees get the sense that you care about them. Entrust them with key responsibilities and nurture when necessary to see that they successfully achieve the tasks assigned.

–       Incentivize with a generous work-life balance.

The result can create a less stressful work environment, prevent burnout, and create a respectful culture. Work-life incentives can be:

  • Additional wellness days and flexible work hours.
  • Promote autonomy and independence.
  • Promote health and wellness.
  • Grant remote work days where possible.

–       Education with a focus on time management and efficiency.

–       Develop employee recognition programs and celebrate achievements.

–       Professional career development and continued educations programs with:

  • One on one mentorships.
  • Peer learning groups.
  • Career guidance
  • Compensation for continued education courses.


–       Performance pay and bonus structures:

Giving merit raises as opposed to a longevity raise aligns with the self-esteem factors. This reward comes because of achieving or reaching goals and not time spent at the company.

–        Socializing and hosting company events.

Anything from a small lunch, and learn, volunteer work at a community outreach event, to a company retreat offers opportunities to socialize and team build.

–       Memorializing birthdays and milestone events.

Something as simple as a card, cupcakes or providing lunch can go a long way.

Companies in the United States are required to provide the following benefits for employees:

–       Social security, Medicare, and federal insurance contributions act (FICA). Both employers and employees must contribute to funds used to underwrite social security and Medicare.

–       Workers Compensation. This insurance is required for illness or injury.

–       Five states are required to provide disability insurance. (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island)

–       Companies with larger than fifty employees must provide family and medical leave compliant to applicable laws.

–       While smaller companies are not required to provide health insurance, most do.

–       Minimum wage.

–       Overtime pay is required for employees who work more than forty hours per week with some exceptions for executives, administrative positions, professionals, outside sales, and computer related fields.

How can a company compete when they provide similar benefits to other companies in their area? Provide perks such as:

–       Working remotely.

The aim is to emphasize productivity in a less stressful environment. This also benefits the company by reducing office costs.

–       Flex schedules.

Allow employees to work preferred times of the day or just core hours and be remote at other times.

–       Fitness or gym reimbursements.

Also, if there is space available in an area of the office or outside, offer free yoga or a place to meditate.

Other benefits you might offer Employees to make your small business competitive:

–       Offer parental leave when the company is small and not required by law.

–       Childcare or tutoring services.

–       Provide access to advisors for elder care advice and financial counseling.

–       Free food such as snacks, coffee or soft drinks in the kitchen or break room. Offer a monthly meal allowance.

–        Online learning and continued education programs.

–       Cell phone reimbursement.

–       Retirement fund contribution or employer matching for a 401K.

–       Discounts for shopping or dining. Connect with companies that offer these discounts to attract shoppers.

–       Equipment or tech reimbursement. Provide a sit-stand desk, headphones, or specialized computer station.

–       Pet insurance or bringing a pet to work on a certain day of the week.

–       Company branding with logos on mugs, hats, water bottles or jackets is fun and can bring a sense of community belonging for an employee.

–       Flexible personal time off to be taken however the employee sees fit.

–       Birthdays off from work.

–       Music streaming subscriptions.

Be certain to make aware of all the perks available to employees as part of a company plan. Above all, a good compensation package with a healthy working environment is the key to keeping and attracting good employees.

Free employee benefits a company can offer:

  • Bring a dog or pet to work.
  • Casual dress days.
  • Summer reduction on Friday work hours.
  • An evening trivia event or games and competitions where employees participate.
  • Monday morning coffee club with an opportunity to provide feedback on the previous week’s events.

While these perks are not always possible depending on the type of business you own, there are likely many other things that can be offered that will cost little or nothing to provide. It may simply be a matter of brainstorming to come up with ideas to make you competitive in the marketplace.



 For additional information on employee benefits a small business can offer to be competitive, please contact us at the Trinity Valley Small Business Development Center – SBDC – TVCC – Serving Henderson, Anderson, Van Zandt, Rains, and Kaufman Counties.