While you may have a loyal staff that come in with smiles on their faces, there are a few low-cost and simple perks to offer to show your appreciation for their hard work. We tend to hear about the mega corporations’ benefits and roll our eyes thinking, “pffffft, I wish.” Airbnb offers employees a $2,000 stipend each year to stay at any Airbnb property. Starbucks will fully reimburse their employees’ college tuition. Google offers daily free gourmet meals. Netflix provides an unlimited vacation policy. (I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one.)

Since this industry is made up of primarily small businesses, we need to think on a bit smaller scale. Consider some of these perks:

  • Recreation: Hop on Craigslist or the NextDoor app and buy a foosball table, an air hockey machine or a ping-pong table and let employees have a little fun on breaks. Or set up a Wii bowling tournament and give away prizes.
  • Health and fitness: Hopefully you’re leading some nice stretching exercises each morning to loosen up, which is great for your safety program. So why not take that a step further and offer on-site yoga classes, create a walking group, host some dance lessons or start a “biggest loser” weight-loss program. Invite a nutritionist to talk about better food choices and organize a healthy recipe contest. Check with your county and ask about healthcare services that may be available to your employees at no cost or a reduced price, so they can receive basic health screenings.
  • Give back: Allow employees the chance to volunteer in the community. This is a popular perk at my own employer, GIE Media. Serve food to the less fortunate on Thanksgiving, prepare backpacks for the homeless or select some homes that need repairs and create a construction and cleanup team.
  • Fellowship: Your employees certainly spend a lot of time together during the week, but think about setting aside a day annually for an outing with employees and their families. My employer does this, as well. Options include a sporting event (AAA games are much less expensive than their MLB counterparts), an amusement park (group rates are available), or the zoo.

What type of perks do you offer? I’d love to hear from you and share your ideas with our readers.