Part of keeping your employees happy means offering benefits and perks that motivate and excite them to stay engaged with and excited about their work. According to Employee Morale: Driving Performance in Challenging Times by David Bowles and Cary Cooper, high employee morale not only helps with employee retention, but also leads to higher customer satisfaction rates, reduces workplace stress, and increases productivity.
While benefits like health insurance and conference passes are great for maintaining employee morale, they’re also costly. As you look to save on benefits, while keeping employees happy, stress-free and productive, consider these tips and tricks that businesses of every size can use to cut back.
Cut Back on Health Insurance — Don’t Get Rid of It
Most small businesses are required to carry health insurance for their employees. Not to mention, offering insurance for dependents and spouses is one way to boost an employee’s confidence and morale. The good news is, there are options for cutting back here, while still providing the insurance your employees count on.
For example, 81 percent of small companies provided just one plan option for employees. This option allows you to better control how much you spend while still providing the coverage that employees might need. Instead of offering a plan that’s both more expensive for you and the employee, choose the one that’s within the business’s budget.
Offer a Flexible Time Off Policy
Paid time off is another high-value benefit that businesses of all sizes can offer, and the rewards can far outweigh the costs. Consider a flexible time-off policy. According to Zenefits:
“One of the major benefits of Flexible Pto Policies is that they accommodate the increasingly diverse workforce. Not everyone celebrates the same religious holidays, and for some, birthdays matter more than national holidays. Flexible PTO policies also make room for alternative types of days off like mental health or wellness days.”
With more flexibility in time off, employee morale may see a much-needed boost. As you outline the new guidelines, Zenefits suggests considering what qualifies as time off (personal versus sick), holidays, grieving time and leaves of absence.
Employees want help preparing for retirement, according to Employer Retirement Research from 2018, which found that “81 percent of workers agree that retirement benefits offered by a prospective employer will be a major factor in their final decision-making when job hunting.”
While companies that don’t offer a 401(k) (retirement savings plan sponsored by the employer) avoid it for reasons including the size of company and cost, according to the same 2018 survey, there is another option: multiple employer plans (MEP). The survey explains that this is “offered by a reputable vendor who handles many of the fiduciary and administrative duties at a reasonable cost.”
If this is a perk you’re ready to offer or investigate, consider how an MEP can make it possible for you to do so on a budget.
Start a Recognition Program
The good news is: you don’t have to spend a lot of money to boost company morale. According to the Work Human Research Institute: 2017 Survey Report, for employees to find meaning in their work, which was the number one reason for staying at a company, they need frequent validation and recognition. Yet, 45 percent of workers have not been recognized in 6 months or more.
Recognizing your employees may be the best employee perk you can offer, and it’s also budget-friendly. The key is tieing this into the core values of your business: 93 percent of employee surveyed at companies that did this agreed that their work had meaning and purpose.
Start a recognition initiative that formalizes a process to allow for more feedback and appreciation. There are a variety of tools that you can use to facilitate the feedback process, ensuring it’s shared on a set and regular schedule.
Save on Employee Perks
Ultimately, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to boost company morale. Consider all of your options, from health insurance to recognition, to ensure employees get what they need to stay motivated, engaged and happy with their work. Use these ideas as a starting point and take time to poll your employees as well. Use that data to determine where you can cut back and where you need to do more, allowing you to stay on budget and developing a thriving employee culture.
About the Author: Jessica Thiefels is the CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting and has managed both remote and in-house employees in her various roles. She’s been featured on Forbes and Business Insider and regularly writes for Virgin, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.
How to Save Money on Employee Perks That Boost Company Morale was originally published in ProofHub Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.