No Room For A Raise? 4 Perks to Help Your Small Business Retain Top Talent

Author: Gina Hall | April 7, 2015

The valued employee, the one with the great attitude who goes the extra mile. Of course, you love to reward hard work, but alas, there’s just no room in the budget for a substantial raise or promotion. How can a small business retain top talent as the bigger guys dole out the performance-based bonuses?

While there aren’t any real substitutes for cold, hard cash, there are perks you can bestow on your staff that show your appreciation without blowing your bottom line.

Mentoring
Let’s be honest, most of your employees won’t spend their entire career at your company. With Millennials’ penchant for job hopping, the average tenure of an American worker at any given company is four years. If you can’t improve their present situation, help them look toward the future.

Take valuable staff members out to lunch on a regular basis and take an interest in their career goals. This might mean talking to them about everything from leadership skills, work-life balance or even reading the first chapter of that novel they’ve been working on. If you take an interest in them, they’re going to take more of an interest in your company.

Classes
Can’t find the time to mentor? Reimburse employees for online or community college classes that will boost their skills and resumes. With new technology emerging as quickly as the latest social media craze, educations from even the most prestigious schools can be outdated shortly after they’re attained.

Offer to reimburse all or part of a course, covering topics like coding, digital editing or app development. Your employee won’t be the only one to benefit. Tap into their new skills to update your website or provide your customers with a new app.

Extra Vacation Days
Your employees may love working for you, but who couldn’t use a break? The typical two-week vacation granted to most full-time employees barely covers Christmas vacation, let alone a nice bit of R&R on a sunny beach. If an employee is overperforming, it won’t hurt to give them a little extra time off. They’ll come back refreshed and ready to take on their next challenge.

Flex Scheduling
How often does your staff need to be in the office? While there do exist customer-service jobs that need to be performed at a certain location at a given time, many office jobs don’t require attendance eight hours a day, five days a week. With cell phones, Wi-Fi and laptops, most workers can log in to work without the hassle of packing a lunch or sitting through a commute.

The commute for the average American is almost an hour a day. But by allowing your employee to forgo the morning slog, you’re giving the gift of time, an increasingly precious commodity. Not only will working parents love it, but younger employees will love squeezing in an extra workout (or sleep). The bottom line is that you’ll be rewarding your employee while reducing his or her likelihood of burnout. You may be cutting down on face time, but your employee’s face is more likely to be smiling back at you when he or she arrives at the office.

This perk requires a forward-thinking boss, one who is less focused on how much time an employee spends sitting at a desk and more on the results that person brings to the conference room table.

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