As the owner of a growing business, you likely want to attract and retain top talent to your company. After all, the strength of your business relies on the strength of the team making things happen within it.
But doing all that attracting and retaining of the best people for the jobs you need done is easier to say than to do. There’s a lot of noise out there that further confuses the issue, too. If you really want to pull in the best people and incentivize them to stay with you for the long haul, you need to focus on one thing above all else.
Do These Popular Perks Really Work?
You might be tempted to fill your office full of ping-pong tables and load the kitchen fridge with a constant supply of beer employees can crack open any time of day.
While that may sound cool and hip (especially if you want to attract younger generations to your team), does it really mean anything?
Probably not. These are fun perks that some people might enjoy, but they don’t really add satisfaction and fulfillment to anyone’s career.
Maybe you think these things are silly, too — which is why you want to implement things like an open vacation policy or unlimited personal and sick days to give your team what they really care about: freedom and flexibility.
This might be closer to what employees want. No one wants to follow rules for the sake of upholding a cultural norm, like staying in the office from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, with no exceptions.
But even this presents challenges for both employers and employees. You might fear some people will take advantage. The evidence, however, suggests that opposite is true. Workers with unlimited vacation actually tend to take less time away and could end up unhappier than employees with set time-off limits. (That being said, there are ways to make unlimited vacation work for your company.)
Understanding What Your Employees Truly Value: Autonomy
Having autonomy means you have “self-directed freedom.” You get to choose your own actions. This might be the number one way to retain top talent: give them the freedom to be self-directed as much as possible. Giving your employees more autonomy means weeding out micromanagement – which you should be doing anyway, since it negatively impacts productivity.
But there are a million ways to “govern” your work force between being an overbearing task manager (obviously not desirable) and providing full, unfettered autonomy (something your team might love, but isn’t realistic for most businesses.)
You don’t need to grant your employees total , but you can encourage them to be self-starters who have a say in what projects they work on and how they accomplish their objectives.
This doesn’t mean you’re not in charge. You can still delegate and give marching orders that align with the big-picture goals and vision for your small business. But along the way, you can give employees freedom and control over their own specific tasks.
Doing so will help you create a happier team that wants to stay with you and help your business grow and succeed.
Other Meaningful Benefits You Can Offer to Your Team
In addition to providing your team with the autonomy to make an impact and do fulfilling work, you can consider offering these benefits to attract and retain top talent in your business.
- Flexible time, with no strings attached. If you do decide to offer flex time, or unlimited vacation policies, make sure employees know they’re not expected to stay connected to work 24/7, 365 in exchange for the perk.
- Office space that fosters productivity and creativity. People hate cubicles and open-office designs lead to sick workforces. Consider how you can set up your office to help your team members, not hinder them. Try standing desks or even treadmill desks and offer both private workspace for people to concentrate in, and coworking space where people can collaborate.
- Perks that promote health and wellbeing. Sure, everyone likes a kitchen stocked full of snack food and candy – at first. But instead of spending money on unhealthy food, channel those funds into things like an FSA or HSA for your employees. You could also provide gym or wellness memberships.
- Actual ownership in the company. Depending on the way your small business is set up and where you intend to take it in the next few years, you could consider giving key employees stock options or other financial incentives.
When it comes to doling out perks, it’s easy to offer ones that look flashy or sound cool. And you can certainly add these into the office if it matches your company culture.
But don’t get caught up in offering benefits with no substance if you want to pull in the very best people for your team – and keep them on board.
Focus on providing autonomy over their tasks and their day-to-day, and consider other meaningful incentives for the people who make your business run, so that you can nurture both their productivity and their long-term loyalty.
Jay Willwerth, ChFC, a Financial Planner with Finivi, has been assisting business owners and corporate executives with their often complex business, estate and retirement planning needs for nearly three decades. If you need help with business succession planning and crafting an exit strategy to allow you to maximize the value of what you built, call us now at (800)530-6635 for a complimentary consultation.
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