4 Employee Perks that Won’t Bust the Budget of SMEs

How to keep your team happy without overspending

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BY Tanya Mariano - 17 Aug 2018

4 Employee Perks that Won't Bust the Budget of SMEs

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

By investing in the well-being of your employees, you're investing in the success of the business.

Providing perks that matter is one way to accomplish this. Stellar benefits and a generous salary may attract top talent to your company, but perks go a long way in encouraging them to stay.

And while big companies can afford to go big on perks -- trips out of the country, fancy parties, extended paid parental leave -- there are a lot of ways that SMEs with smaller budgets can look out for their employees without spending too much.

Says Junie Veloso, Head of Business Banking at BPI, “Entrepreneurs should know how to handle money if they want to run a successful and sustainable business. This is especially important for SMEs with limited funds and resources, which is why they need to be creative -- and frugal -- when it comes to the kind of perks that they offer.”

Here are a few ways to take care of your team while spending within your means.

Give freebies -- food, coffee, accommodation

It's a very simple yet impactful solution: by offering certain essentials for free, employees can better focus on their jobs.

For instance, at Ace Global Solutions Corporation -- a company that provides bookkeeping and compilation services, as well as accounting, human resource information, and business support systems -- employees are provided free lunch daily, and free snacks, drinks, and dinner during the busy income tax season. They even shoulder the dormitory expenses of employees who are based outside of Metro Manila but need to stay in the city during weekdays in order to be closer to the office, says company president Vangie Garcia.

Employees of Gruppo Innovare -- a retailer and distributor of sports and lifestyle brands such as Nike, Onitsuka Tiger, Converse, and Asics -- also get free and unlimited servings of rice during meal times, “provided they only prepare what they intend to eat, and not cook to waste,” says managing director JL Gavino. “We also have free flowing coffee at the office, though strangely our consumption is much lower than I always expect,” he says.

Implement flexible work hours and remote work days

Tired, over-worked employees are not the most productive, that much should be common knowledge by now. But sometimes, in order to reach productivity targets, employees need to put in long hours at the office. This, coupled with the inconvenient commute for which Metro Manila is (in)famous, and it's highly likely the team will be functioning below its usual productivity levels. 

To counter this, many businesses are implementing flexible work hours. Employees can come in later in the day, or earlier than usual so that they can leave before rush hour.

Allowing employees to work remotely once in a while is also becoming increasingly popular. Not only does this save employees from the tiring, time-consuming commute, but it also helps business owners cut down on expenses for electricity and office supplies, for instance, writes serial entrepreneur John Rampton in this Inc. article.

Do things together

Group activities help foster a sense of camaraderie in the team and does wonders in terms of promoting company culture.

These don't need to be expensive. From team lunches to sports and even videoke, there are a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that don't entail spending a lot of money but do a good job of keeping employees happy.

Quick company trips are also a good idea. Every year, Garcia takes her team of ten people to provinces around the Philippines.

Provide employee discounts

Ask anyone working in retail what their favorite thing about working for their company is and majority of them would say it's the big merchandise discounts.

Gavino is convinced that making huge price cuts for their employees is worth it: “I know for a fact that the employee discounts we provide for our products is higher than many others offered by similar organizations. I’ve found this to fuel passion of our organization for the brands that we handle.”

Be as creative as you can about the kinds of perks that you provide your employees, but be sure to stay within budget. Keep in mind that the little things you do to show genuine concern for your team will go a long way.


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