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Uncommon Employee Benefits Your Staff Will Love

8 Uncommon Employee Benefits Your Staff Will Love
By Darrell Zahorsky,

Lack the employee benefit budget of a Fortune 500 company? There are employee benefit solutions to make your staff happy without breaking the bank.

Designing & administering an employee benefit plan is a complex undertaking. Your plan can cover regular benefits such as health care, vacation time, sick pay, and pension plans. How common are these benefits?

Common Employee Benefits
According to the NFIB 2003 Small Business Poll on Compensating Employees, the most common employee benefits offered by small businesses are:

    * Paid Vacations; Offered by 75% of small businesses.*
    * Employee Health Insurance Plan;61%
    * Paid Sick Leave;59%
    * Disability Insurance;41%
    * Education Reimbursement for Job;39%
    * Pension Plan;30%
    * Life Insurance;29%
    * Dental Insurance;24% *
      * provided to full-time staff with at least 1 year of service.

Offering employee benefits provides many paybacks to your small business. Number one is staff retention. An attractive employee benefit package will help recruit good employees and retain them as well. In addition, staff retention helps reduced turnover.

8 Uncommon Employee Benefits
Employee benefits will have different levels of value depending on staff age, sex, and other factors. Talk to your staff to determine which benefits are most rewarding.

1. Direct Deposit: Provide your staff with the option of having their checks directly deposited into their bank account at any bank or credit union that is a member of the Automated Clearing House (ACH). Direct deposit will save time and clear the funds faster.

2. Wellness Program: With the rising costs of health care, both employers and employees can take responsibility for the health system by participating in a wellness plan. Any form of fitness programs, smoking cessation, and stress reduction can improve employee absenteeism and overall productivity.

3. Company Discounts: An overlooked employee benefit to staff is the chance to buy company products or services at discount. Even if it's only one major item or an employee purchase day, your staff will appreciate this benefit.

4. Parking Privileges: Depending on employee commuting needs, parking privileges can cover payment of a monthly city transit pass or paying an amount of pre-tax payroll dollars for vehicle parking.

5. Business Cards & Title: Business cards with an employees name and title will offer an emotional appeal to staff. It may seem trivial, but your staff will enjoy the level of professionalism and pride that comes from having a business card.

6. Computer Loan Interest Free: Many employees will value the ability to buy a computer interest-free. Determine a limit of the dollar value of the computer on the plan. Set up an automatic payroll deduction. Make sure a formal agreement is signed in case the employee leaves the company.

7. Community Hours: Offer your employees a limit of regular pay hours in community service time. If a staff member wants to be involved in a volunteer event, have the company pick up the tab. You will win the hearts of the staff and community.

8. Education Plan: There is no doubt today's work force requires lifelong learning to keep pace with the changing demands of employment. Your small company may not be able to pay the tuition costs of an MBA program but some community college course reimbursement is affordable.

In developing your employee benefits program, compare your benefit package to competitors and solicit staff feedback. The best benefits are the ones desired by the workforce and are competitive in the marketplace.

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