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These are the Employee Perks Businesses Should Offer to Retain Staff

SBA Perks

August 6, 2018

As Iowa continues to experience low unemployment rates, which currently stands at 2.7 percent, finding and keeping good employees continues to be a challenge.

Employee perks — extra privileges and incentives provided to employees in addition to their salary and benefits — have little to no cash value. With low unemployment, employees have a lot more flexibility when it comes to including perks in their decision to apply for jobs or stay at their current one. Just under half of all employees say perks can help make them feel more valued. Almost half say they help improve their physical and/or mental health, and over half say they contribute to a better quality of life.

When it comes to attracting and retaining employees, small businesses typically can’t compete with big businesses when it comes to salary. That’s why more small business owners are, or may want to consider, offering employee perks.

Perks over salary increase

SCORE — a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that provides free one-on-one business counseling and advice to small businesses — recently took a look at employee perks and found that four out of five employees prefer benefits or perks more than a pay raise.

Here are the top perks potential employees take into account when searching for a job and the percentage they’re taken into consideration.

  • Flexible hours: 88%
  • More vacation time: 80%
  • Work-from-home option: 80%
  • Student loan assistance: 48%
  • Paid maternity/paternity leave: 42%
  • Free gym membership: 39%
  • Free snacks: 32%
  • Weekly free outings: 24%

Compare that list to the most commonly offered perks offered by employers.

  • Flexible working hours: 32%
  • Professional development: 28%
  • Fitness/health perks: 19%
  • Food/snacks: 19%
  • Working from home: 14%

But 42% of full-time employees have no perks at all, which means several businesses aren’t offering anything. If you’re small business thinking about offering perks or wanting some input on the effectiveness of the perks you currently provide, the SBA has a number of resource partners who can work with you to determine how you can best use them to attract and retain employees.

Find more tips on starting and growing your business at sba.gov.

Learn about other Staffing & Hiring resources for your small business in The Partnership’s Small Business Resources Hub or sign up for the Small Business Resources Newsletter and stay connected for information about upcoming events, other resources and the latest announcements in the small business community in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Dave Lentell

Dave Lentell is the lead lender relations specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Iowa District Office. He helps coordinate SBA's small business loan programs in the state of Iowa and promotes SBA's programs to the small business community. He has been with SBA since 1993.