At the peak of the dotcom boom, perks were regarded as routine. A free massage every Tuesday (ah, relief for those aching backs). Dinners served every night (bring on the sushi!). Recruiters lured programmers with promises of on-site gyms, complete with basketball courts and Olympic-sized swimming pools. The corporate "campus" (never say "complex") often included a bank, dry-cleaners, carwash, and oh, did I mention the free Starbucks coffee, bagels, and soda? Ah yes, I remember it well"?¦.
When you´re a small businesss owner at a start-up, however, spending big bucks on the care and feeding of your beloved staff just doesn´t make financial sense. As the chief financial officer of http://www.triactiveamerica.com puts it, "There will always be more ideas than budget and money.”
When I talk with other entrepreneurs, they often complain about the difficulty in attracting — and retaining — good employees. Without the perks, what can you offer?
Think of something unique about your company. What makes it special? Why did you start it in the first place? With http://www.triactivekids.com/, the emphasis is placed on serving as more than an online store. We seek to provide information about fitness, healthy lifestyles, and good nutrition. By emphasizing that message in our ads and interviews, we attract people who want to help to combat America´s obesity crisis.
Be flexible. Can you offer flexible starting times? Opportunities to telecommute? A family-friendly atmosphere (for example, combine sick time and vacation time into "flex days off," and parents can stay home with sick children or use a "flex day" for a doctor´s appointment).
Make it fun. Encourage employees to exercise together"?¦.have an annual summer picnic"?¦.give employees the opportunity to take their dogs to work (house-training and indoor manners required!).
Add it up — and you´ve got more perks than a stale bagel and sour cream cheese!