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|Chris Crum writes for Small Business Resources about what's new for small business. Chris was a featured writer with the iEntry Network of B2B Publications where hundreds of publications linked to his articles including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, LA Times and the New York Times.|
Survey Finds Small Business Perks More Attractive Than Pay Raise to Employees
SCORE, a network of volunteer business mentors, recently released an interesting survey indicating that perks may be more important to small business workers than even making more money. In fact, four out of five employees indicated that they prefer benefits or perks to a pay raise. Employers are keen on this concept, as well, according to SCORE.
Still, 42 percent of full-time employees reported having no employee perks at all, indicating there is a lot of room for small business owners to make changes to draw key talent — one of the top issues facing businesses in the United States today.
A different survey released earlier this year by job site Indeed found this to be one of the biggest challenges.
"As the labor market tightens, more than half (56%) of survey respondents report finding it somewhat difficult (39%) or very difficult (17%) to find the right employee for their businesses," the company said. "This isn’t a trend that’s showing any signs of easing up: 35% of respondents say it’s as difficult to find employees now as it was five years ago. And nearly a quarter (24%) say it’s even harder than it was a half a decade ago."
SCORE defines perks as "privileges granted to employees in addition to their salaries and benefits, which have little to no cash value." According to the survey, 88 percent of employees considered flexible hours when choosing a job. This is the most sought-after perk. Tied for second, at 80 percent, were more vacation time and work-from-home options. There is a significant drop-off after that with 48 percent seeking student loan assistance. Paid maternity/paternity leave was considered by 42 percent, while free gym membership was considered by 39 percent, free snacks by 32 percent, and weekly free outings by 24 percent.
53 percent of those polled believe perks contribute to employee satisfaction, while 49 percent said perks help employees feel valued. 44 percent went so far as to say perks contribute to improved physical and/or mental health.
Out of the perks offered by small businesses polled, flexible work hours is the most common at 32 percent, followed by "professional development" at 28 percent. Next were fitness/health perks at 19 percent, food/snacks at 19 percent, and working from home at 14 percent.
Small businesses that want to attract and maintain valuable employees should clearly be looking beyond just wages and health insurance. Consider what candidates are actually interested in as they conduct their job searches (i.e. flexible working hours and work-from-home options). Don't simply offer these perks; make them known. Advertise them in your job listings, and make sure you're listing on sites where the kinds of folks you wish to attract are likely to find them.
Consider polling current employees about the types of perks they prefer. Some in-house adjustments may be in order as well. Listen to feedback and try to offer a competitive, yet realistic set of perks to go along with wages and standard benefits.
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