By Ryan Ashton
When it comes to creating a successful business in the service industry, the team you build has a tremendous impact on your customer experience and overall brand reputation. To put it simply: who you hire matters, which is why finding invested employees can be so challenging, especially in today’s job market.
With the unemployment rate matching a 50 year low, the competition to recruit employees is fierce. More companies are adding strong employee benefits packages (complete with healthcare, retirement, and flexible spending accounts) to their recruitment strategies. But in industries where hourly employees make up the majority of the workforce, a lot of these benefits aren’t always possible. That’s why non-traditional benefits are becoming increasingly popular.
“With low unemployment and more jobs available than job seekers, it is an important time for companies to re-evaluate their incentive and benefit offerings to recruit and retain employees,” said Catherine Wragg, senior vice president of Human Resources at TriNet. “It is no longer just about compensation, as employees also view time spent with family and friends — and pursuing other aspects of their life — as highly significant.”
Non-traditional employee benefits, like the flexible scheduling Catherine mentioned, can help a service industry employer distinguish themselves as a company who cares about its employees, creating a positive impact on both its company’s culture and bottom line. What’s more, offering these benefits doesn’t have to be expensive.
Here are five employee benefits that will keep your employees happy at work for little to no cost.
Offering a flexible schedule lets employees balance work and non-work commitments. This can be particularly helpful when attending school, raising small children or commuting long distances to and from work. Flexible schedules are also among the top work perks desired by millennial employees. According to an article in the Star Tribune, up to 78 percent of millennials said they would be loyal to a company that offered more flexibility.
Hourly positions in the service industry already have more flexibility than a traditional 9-5 job, but there’s still room for improvement. For example, you could allow employees to pick their shift time once a month. You can also consider using a scheduling software that allows employees to easily swap shifts for added flexibility.
Flexibility in pay can also be a huge benefit for hourly employees, who today account for more than 80 million people in the U.S. The average two-week pay period leaves little room for financial emergencies, especially for young workers who may already be struggling with high tuition costs and student loan debt. Offering an instant pay option, which gives employees access to their funds at the end of every shift, provides an ideal alternative to using credit cards or taking out an expensive payday loan in the event of an unforeseen expense.
Recognition and Awards
We all like to be told we’re doing a good job. For employers, taking the time to show workers they are appreciated can go a long way. In fact, a study found that we are up to 20 percent more productive when we are happy at work. Recognizing your employees’ hard work can be as simple as hosting a quarterly appreciation luncheon or putting up a fun, bulletin board of recognition in the break room.
Most of your employees likely have career goals. Even if they don’t, an employee mentorship program can be a great place for employees to explore the different ways they can move up within their company—which is a great way to build a sense of loyalty. In fact, a recent study from Deloitte found that millennials planning to stay with their employer for five years were twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than those who didn’t (32%).
The American Institute for Stress found that workplace stress is among the biggest health challenges in the U.S. Wellness perks like a gym membership discount or monthly wellness challenges for prizes are fun and easy ways to boost morale and promote healthy living. An added bonus: healthier employees take less sick days, which helps your company’s bottom line.
In the end, there are many affordable ways to show your employees that you value them and the work they put into your business. Sure, it takes some initial set-up and planning, but the long-term advantages will be worth it.