A copyright image that our webmaster shot that has been used on other sites without his permissionAttracting and retaining employees can sometimes be difficult for small businesses, especially when they are competing for the same talent pool as large businesses with much deeper pockets. There are some rewards and perks that small businesses can offer that big business can’t, sometimes it is the small personal things that would get lost in a large company.

Motivating employees in your small business needn’t cost a fortune. Sometimes it may be as simple as providing an environment that give an employee a sense of belonging, that can often be lost or harder to find in larger corporate companies. Fair salary and reasonable benefits may put you on par with larger companies, but small businesses need to find their own unique perks that will provide incentive to do good work, but also to remind employees why they choose to work for a small business.

Many small business owners that have explored the classic incentives and perks like:

Work from home days. As a way to let employees to skip their daily commute to the office and spend some time around their families, while still getting a good portion of work done.

Office lunch days. This is where they employees order in a take-out lunch for everyone and the company picks up the bill.

Tuesday movie day. Most movie chains offer discounted movie prices on Tuesdays (some smaller chains still offer matinee pricing), so once a month or once a quarter take your staff out for movie as a team.

Vendor discounts. This is where you negotiate with your vendors to also extend a similar discount to your employees on consumer items they may sell like computers or electronics.

Discounts on your products or service. This is a no brainer, depending on your product or service and whether your employees would be a likely consumer of your product. This most common way of rewarding employees is to give them a discount.
Keeping the workplace fun. Some small businesses will use sports pools or other types of contests and rewards to keep employees thinking that it is not just a job.

Flexible hours. This is also referred to as off peak hours. For employees with longer commutes, their stress is often more about the commute than things at work. If you can offer an employee to start early and leave earlier or start later and leave later to avoid the rush hour.

Breakfast anyone? It is too often said that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”, but no one has said that you can not offer a free breakfast once in a while. A simple breakfast at the office consisting of things like muffins, begals, donuts, coffee and similar simples foods to make for a nice way to start a day of work.

Pass along the perks. Often vendor or companies competing for business will send management or owners such things as tickets to sporting events or theatre shows to attract their business. Why not consider passing these free business perks and gifts along to employees on a rotating basis.

Now lets consider some more non-conventional perks that have only recently been working for small businesses:

While “Bring Your Dog to Work” day might be okay (maybe not so for restaurants and business dealing with food), but it can be a fun morale booster for the right type of small business office space. If a business can accommodate it, why not consider the office or business place “Pet Friendly” all the time?

Spa day at the office are a great way to boost moral and a great incentive for a job well done. Many large tech firms are offering massages and spa treatments in the office, but why can’t a small business. At the end of the quarter or after a successful project, a great reward is spa day at the office, but more importantly it can be less expensive than you think.

Investment planning professionals, life coaches, yoga instructors and even authors will often come to your office space to conduct free seminars. They mainly do this to promote themselves not only to the employees in attendance, but to the friends and family of employees by proxy. They know if they can deliver good information to a group, many in the group will share that information and let them know the source.

Talking to other small business owners about how they come up with incentives, perks and rewards for their staff can also be a great way to help any small business develop perks that work for their team.