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Non-Material employee benefits that will help your SME

We have already talked about employer branding. We have also wrote about some employee benefits that most SMEs could apply to their retribution scheme. On this post, I will give you some examples of non-material employee benefits that you could apply.

Employer branding could be the clue to your success when keeping your employees happy. Your culture is an essential part of how your company performs. You may not have the biggest budget, but if your employees feel at home, they will seriously question going to another company for 2K more per year.

Some examples of non-material employee benefits

Flexibility

We mentioned flexibility already in our post about employee benefits, but is one of the most usual requests when candidates are interviewed for new roles. It is a reality that the percentage of employees leaving their current jobs due to the lack of flexibility in working hours or the possibility of working from home is increasing

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Pets at the office

Rather than telling you why pets could be positive at the office, I have an example to share.

In 1996 PSI decided that too many people were leaving their animals at home during working hours. PSI, which is an organization dedicated to saving animals from shelters, developed TYDTWDay. The celebration was created to encourage employers to support their local pet communities, allow employees to experience the joys of pets in the workplace. PSI also wanted to enable non-pet owners to witness the special bond co-workers have with their pets. They aimed that non-pet owners could be inspired to adopt a pet of their own.

ClaimVantage, an international insurance technology firm has fully embraced the sentiment and its culture has completely changed. In 2016, they had a small office with five full-time employees. Their Customer Support Manager, Curt Drummond, decided to rescue a puppy, Rockne. He was concerned that Rockne would be alone all day and requested to bring him to the office a few days a week, provided he was on his best behavior.

Rockne is now considered to be a huge part of the team. He provides moral support and a friendly face to everyone he encounters, and even features on the company website as the Team Coach.

Employee’s opinions

“I love having dogs in the office because they always make you smile!. You could be having a stressful day, but when they are wagging their tail and want to play with you, it seems to make everything OK,”

Colleen Brescia, employee at ClaimVantage.

“He (Rockne) has brought a sense of energy and positive emotion to sometimes overwhelming days. I look forward to his ‘tours’ of the office and everyone’s desk which he does routinely at least twice before he goes home”.

Mike Turner, employee at ClaimVantage.
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There are studies that prove that allowing employees to bring pets into the office can increase employee retention. It could also provides a social support for employees who feel overwhelmed. In addition to the social benefits, it also gives employees an excuse for some exercise in the middle of the day. The interaction with animals can also increase cross-department collaboration providing the opportunity to talk to colleagues they wouldn’t normally interact with.

Over time other employees began to bring their dogs to the office, and the informal policy has evolved. Employees have agreed rules and dog owners take full responsibility.

Having pets at the office is definitely one of the most impactful non-material employee benefits that you can provide at a lower cost.

***Check for allergies within the team before implementing.

Volunteering at work

Many organisations work with local charities donating money, time or their services. Sometimes is a devoted employee, who is already collaborating with a charity, who starts the movement. However you want to do it, do it. Planning a day allocated to work with a charity, or doing a cake contest to donate the money. Anything you do, it will improve the sense of belonging and your employees motivation.

One tip: Don’t force employees to collaborate. It could end up badly if they feel that you, as an owner, are asking them to donate money to the charity you collaborate with.

Make it more of a collaboration thing. Tell your employees that you are interested in doing this, and let them chose the charity they like better.

Another tip: Try to avoid religious charities not to offend someone in the company.

Casual Fridays

If you have a business dressing code during the week, Casual Fridays are for you. They are a well recognised Non-Material employee benefit. It improves the atmosphere by making your employees feel more relaxed. It changes the way they see Fridays and it can help reducing the sickness absences on fridays.

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