Developing Your Benefit Package

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A robust benefit package can definitely help attract and retain the best employees and keep them motivated and productive. Small business owners, hover, have a hard time providing all of the perks that a large corporation can negotiate. Creativity and honesty are key components that will make a difference in benefits when you are just starting out.

Be honest. As a small business owner, you know what you can and cannot deliver to your employees in the way of benefits. Don't try to offer it all in an attempt to attract quality candidates. Instead, try to accommodate the unique needs of your employees to the extent that you can. Often, employees simply want to feel appreciated and understood. This can be done in a number of simple and creative ways.

Get To Know Your Employees:

What motivates them in their work? Why are they in the job to begin with? What are their own long-term goals? Knowing the answers to these questions takes some of the guesswork out of your job as a manager. It can also help to reduce the anxiety on both sides.

If your employee is coming straight to you from college, his or her needs are very different from the woman who is returning to the workforce after years of raising her family. Take into consideration the benefits that each person may be looking for and what may motivate them to be most productive.

Training, Training, Training.

This is a benefit for every employee at every level. No one ever "knows it all". Especially in today's world of changing technology and communication. Don't decide what training needs your employees have without involving them in the process. It's important to keep the lines of communication open so that your company can benefit fully from the individual development that comes from increased training. Trainings do not have to be expensive either. Check with local colleges for continuing education offerings or call the SBA (Small Business Administration). You will find that registration fees can be nominal and that some workshops are even free. Training also offers tremendous networking opportunities that could improve your employees' attitude as well as their job performance.

A common concern among employers is that their employees will become "too developed" and will leave them for a more attractive position or an increase in salary. Unfortunately, you cannot do much about this. Remember that it is better for an employee to move on because of what you gave him or her, rather than because they felt undervalued. Employees tend to remain faithful to those who show a true belief in their talent and potential.

Build In Incentives... Make Them Fun!

So you are not able to offer stock options and four weeks of paid vacation? That's okay! Find small ways to appreciate the hard work of your employees. The person who reaches most of their goals for the week or month receives a gift certificate to the restaurant of their choice. Or maybe an extra floating holiday. Or can leave an hour early on Friday. Or has a reserved parking spot for the month. Reward employees for improvements in their performance also. Often goals are not met due to external circumstances. If an individual is giving their best effort, be sure to notice it.

Be Aware Of What Is Out There.

You are a small business owner and give what you can to your employees while maintaining your business. That's all you can do? Not exactly. Be aware of what other similar-sized employers are doing for their employees. Maybe you could borrow some ideas from what you hear. If nothing else, you will be more aware of the market and what attracts quality people to good jobs.

What are some of the perks that some employees enjoy? There are so many possibilities out there. Here are a handful for you to know about: savings programs, health club memberships, training days, discounts, tuition reimbursement, profit sharing, company car, personal expense account, flex-time, child care, job title, travel, membership in trade/professional associations. Remember that benefits vary depending on the size of the company and the resources available.

Communication Is Key.

How do you know if your employees are satisfied with the benefits you are offering? Ask them! It may be a bit awkward at first. Perhaps you are not sure if you want the true answer. As uncomfortable as it may seem, it will be worth the effort. An honest discussion with the unmotivated employee may provide you with a world of perspective. Maybe his or her lack of motivation has nothing to do with the job itself, but is due to personal circumstances. You may learn that simple (and inexpensive) changes on your end (such as flex-time, more personal space, or new computer software) can jump-start a stale employee.



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