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We often hear from businesses that they can’t attract or retain the top talent they want because they can’t afford to pay the big salaries or benefits, and don’t know what perks they can offer.  The truth is though, most people are not just motivated by money and benefits, and there are many other incentives – many of them at very little cost – that can make you stand out from other employers and attract staff.

Not all of the benefits and incentives will be feasible or practical for every business, but here is our list of suggestions for things you could introduce to appeal to the staff you want:

1. Flexible hours

If your working model allows it, letting staff work flexi-time or to work from home can be a real incentive, especially for those with children or commitments outside of work on a long commute.

2. Pets at work

Pets in the officeMore and more work spaces are allowing pets – safety permitting – and this can have a positive effect on morale.  Also, if staff don’t have to race home at lunchtime or the end of the day to let the dog out, then are more likely to work through to put that unfinished job to bed.

3. Casual dress

If your type of works allows it, have dress down days or allow casual wear at work.  This can make all the difference if you have to travel to work on crowded public transport or like to go straight out from work, and will cost you nothing.

4. Make it easy for them to get in

If you have them, allocate parking spaces to those that need them most or those that work the hardest.  Offer your employee’s loans to purchase season rail tickets or a bicycles so that they can get to work easier and then deduct it monthly from their salary.

5. Extra holiday time

Allowing staff to take extra unpaid leave to make that long-haul trip or honeymoon easier will cost you nothing other than arranging cover for them. Maybe give everyone the day off on their birthday? Or give long serving members of staff a paid sabbatical after a given term of service?  For many people time off is more important than money.

Staff holiday6. Give staff that Friday Feeling

Allow casual dress on a Friday, bring in a bag of cookies, allow an extended lunch break, or let everyone finish early. Let everyone know that they are working throughout the week to a treat at the end of it.

7. Have an office people want to come to work in

Not everyone will be able to afford huge changes or expensive renovations to a work space, but you should try to make it as best a place as possible so people would want to come to it everyday.  Have a separate area that staff can relax and eat their lunch in away from their desks.  Make it bright and airy however you can, let as much light in as possible and decorate in bright neutral tones.  Coming from someone who once had a desk facing a dark grey wall in a room with no natural light I know how important this can be.

8. Private health and dental insurance

This can be expensive in monetary terms, but can be a real incentive for staff.  Generally, businesses can get a better deal than if they go to providers rather than if staff do it directly as individuals.  Should the worst happen and your staff need medical treatment, they will get seen far quicker and potentially return to work faster if they can get private treatment. Remember there will be a P11D benefit on the provision of this, so the employee will have to pay extra tax and the business will pay extra national insurance.

You could also consider a company car, staff discount on your products or services, company share scheme, a subsidised canteen or bring in a massage therapist once a month.

Little things can boost morale a great deal so think outside the box on what benefits you can offer so your employees can say to their friends “oh we get (fill in the blank) at our office”– make it a place they are proud to talk about to others so you can attract the very best.