Many small businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find quality help at costs that allow them to actually make money each year. The good news, however, is that many workers are shifting emphasis to their quality of life, rather than just the money they make. In small to mid-size businesses, this can work to your advantage. With this increasing trend, you can offer nontraditional benefits that workers will appreciate (and that can help you hire quality help), but that cost very little in the way of overhead costs to your company.

Nontraditional benefits tell your employees that you care about their general wellbeing. Additionally, they allow you to present a competitive benefits package that can help you recruit and keep good employees. The costs of an incompetent, lazy, dishonest employee to a business can be very high. Additionally, training new workers to replace good employees who move on can also be costly and annoying, as the learning curve prevents them from doing as good a job. Good nontraditional benefits sweeten the pot, allowing you to keep quality people, even if you are paying them $3,000 to $6,000 less per year than another company might pay.


Paternity Leave.


More fathers are expressing an interest in spending time at home after a baby is born. It gives them a chance to help their wives and to take a more active “daddy” role. In the corporate world, paternity leave is becoming a standard. A small or mid-size business can set itself apart by offering this benefit. Not all employers offer paid paternity leave, but even if it is not paid, the option exists and this lets your workers know that you understand how important it is for them to be good husbands and fathers.


Optional Unpaid Leave.


Optional unpaid leave is a nontraditional benefit that gives the employee vacation options beyond the standard paid vacation days. This costs you nothing (you won’t have to pay for work that isn’t being done), and it can give others in the company a chance to work more hours. Or, if you do not need a shift covered, this cuts costs overall. Studies have shown that most employees would take 6-9 unpaid days throughout the year if given the opportunity, even though they would make less money. You can save money and improve employee morale all at the same time.


Discounted Gym Memberships.


Healthy and happy employees are more productive employees. Check with your local gym to see if they offer discounts to businesses that sign up their employees. There are two ways that this nontraditional benefit can work. The first is for the gym to offer a straight discount to employees of certain company (usually 15 to 30 percent). Another way is for the gym to offer a discount to the company for each membership. Then the company pays half and the employee pays half. It can even be deducted like other benefits.


The key to offering nontraditional benefits is to make them optional. Prospective employees will see the benefits, and old employees will enjoy the upgrade. This lets the workers know that you want them to be successful in all aspects of their lives, and that you are an employer that strives to create a good atmosphere where money is not as necessary a motivator as in other companies.