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Episode 146: 7 Ways to Serve Your Team Well Outside of Benefit Packages


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While so many of us start our businesses as one-man or one-woman shows, the fact of the matter is that you can only go so far on your own. And, while there’s nothing wrong with keeping your business small, eventually, you’re probably going to find that you can’t or don’t want to do it all on your own. 

Whether you want to take your business to the next level or you simply don’t want to work as much, you’re going to need to build a team. 

That said, hiring a team comes with challenges for small businesses, and arguably the biggest challenge is how to handle benefit packages. Small businesses often aren’t able to offer traditional benefits due to factors such as high costs, complex regulations, and the limited offerings that benefit providers can give small businesses. 

While it may just not be possible for you to offer your team traditional benefits like health insurance or 401Ks, this doesn’t mean that you can’t provide your team with other kinds of benefits. 

That’s why in this episode of Priority Pursuit, Kelly discusses seven ways to serve your team well outside of benefit packages so that you can attract and retain great employees and do right by the people who are helping your business grow.

1. Flexible Work Arrangements

While you may not be able to offer traditional benefits for your team, you might be able to offer something that they appreciate even more: flexible work arrangements. 

This is going to look different for every business, but flexible work arrangements might include remote working options, compressed work weeks, or the option for flex time. 


Flexibility at Treefrog

For example, we give the Treefrog team flexibility in a few different ways. 

First, while we do have an office in Lafayette, Indiana, we have employees who work remotely throughout the country. And, our local staff knows that they are more than welcome to work from home, at a coffee shop, or from whatever out-of-office location is best for them. Sometimes, our employees work from other countries if they happen to be traveling. 

We’re also closed on Fridays, meaning our team only works four days per week—granted they are four longer days that start at 7:30 am and end at 5:00 pm.

Additionally, we give our team flex time—meaning they can change their work hours as long as everything gets done by its due date.

Basically, as long as all tasks are completed accurately, we want to make sure that our team has as much flexibility as they need to do their jobs well and to have lives, take care of themselves, and serve their loved ones outside the office. 

This flexibility allows our team members to do things like drop their kids off at school or be home when they get off the bus, be home in the event of needed repairs, schedule doctor or other personal appointments for themselves or their kids, chaperone field trips, coach sports, take breaks when they need them, and simply be present in their personal lives.  

Flexibility as a Work Benefit

While it’s safe to say that people have always valued flexibility in the workplace, after 2020, it has become more important than ever. In fact, according to a recent study, 73% of respondents said they would turn down their “dream job” if another position offered more flexibility. This data proves that flexibility is one of the most important factors to employees.

As a result, if you want to attract and keep great team members, one of the kindest and most strategic things that you can do is offer them flexible work schedules

To be fair, as a marketing agency, almost everything our team does is from behind a computer, and as a result, we can offer a lot of flexibility. This may not be the case for your business, so while you might have to get creative, we can almost promise you that you can figure out ways to give your employees the flexibility that they need to do their jobs well and be present in their personal lives. 

2. Paid Time Off

Speaking of flexibility, another way you can serve your employees well is by offering paid time off. At the time of this recording, the average US employee receives 11 paid vacation days per year. 

With this in mind, if you aren’t in a place to offer your employees traditional benefits, Kelly highly recommends providing more than this average. This is going to help your team feel valued and help you compete with bigger businesses when talented employees are seeking new jobs. 

Additionally, Kelly also highly recommends giving your team scheduled breaks—such as breaks during the holidays. 

At Treefrog, our team members receive 20 paid vacation days per year. Plus we take the week of the 4th of July off and are closed for two weeks during the winter holidays.

Now, you might be thinking, “That’s a lot of time off. I can’t afford to pay people to take that much time off.” However, here’s the thing. Studies show that paid time off actually results in increased productivity, higher retention rates, and improved morale. Basically, when your employees take time off, you’re much more likely to receive their best work, and they’re more likely to stay and enjoy their jobs. 

Yes, paid time off is an investment. But, it’s an investment where both you and your employees win. 

3.  Professional Development Opportunities

In addition to offering flexibility and paid time off, another great way you can care for your team is to provide opportunities for professional development. 

To give a few examples, you might consider implementing programs like workshops, seminars, online courses, training programs, or even just scheduled time for research. Or, you might invest in skill-building resources like online memberships, subscriptions to industry publications, or any kind of educational materials that enable continuous learning. 

You could also design a mentorship program where you pair employees with experienced mentors within or outside your organization. Or, you could prioritize sending team members to conferences and networking events so that your employees can build professional connections, further their knowledge, and learn new ideas that benefit both your business and their careers long term. 

There are so many options, especially because there are now so many professional development opportunities online. 

Professional Development at Treefrog

At Treefrog, we prioritize professional development in a few ways. 

First, once a month, our entire team dedicates two hours to research. This isn’t the only time we do research, but from 10am to 12pm on the second Wednesday of the month, our entire team stops doing client work and uses that time to further research something in our industry or a tool or tactic that they want to learn more about. 

Then, the following Wednesday, we report our findings and determine if we need to make any changes to our services or systems. 

Next, we invest in online training such as online courses, memberships, and certifications that are specific to our industry and give our team members time to complete this training.  

All of these professional development options obviously have varying costs. Giving team members time to research simply costs time; online trainings can vary pretty dramatically in price; and conferences are usually a big investment as travel expenses also likely need to be covered. 

However, regardless of your professional budget, we promise you that you can figure something out. And, you need to do so, because by investing in professional development, you not only empower your employees to expand their skills and knowledge, but you also demonstrate your commitment to their long-term success and the fulfillment they find in their roles. 

4. Wellness Options

While offering your employees health insurance may not be in the cards at the moment, that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in their physical or mental health. 

With this in mind, something else you might consider is implementing wellness initiatives such as gym memberships or fitness stipends where you simply provide financial assistance for gym memberships, fitness classes, or other wellness activities to promote physical health.

Another great way to invest in and prioritize your employees’ wellness is to encourage them to take time for self-care—even during work hours. Encourage them to take regular breaks to go for walks, grab coffee, work out during lunch, or do whatever they need. And, encourage them to actually use their vacation time to care for themselves. Giving this kind of flexibility can help reduce stress and enhance overall wellness. 

You can also put together a list of wellness resources for your team. This could include mental health resources like counseling services, mental health hotlines, or mindfulness programs to support their mental well-being. This list could also include names of local gyms or options for caring for their physical health. This might seem simple, but taking the time to put a list like this together will certainly make your employees feel cared for and serve as a great resource for them. 

Again, this is going to look different for every business, but prioritizing employee wellness not only enhances individual health and happiness; it also contributes to a positive work culture and improves productivity. 

5. Financial Wellness Resources

While physical and mental wellness are important, financial wellness is also a critical aspect of overall well-being and can significantly impact employees’ stress levels and job satisfaction. You might not be in a place where you can offer a 401K or other traditional financial benefits. However, you can certainly provide resources and support for financial planning and management.

For example, you can offer financial planning workshops where you simply invite a financial planner to talk to your team about budgeting, saving, investing, and/or retirement planning. You can, then, give employees opportunities to meet individually with financial advisors or planners to address their specific financial goals and concerns. 

Basically, a great way to serve your team and help them financially plan for their futures is simply to connect them with a great financial advisor. Typically, financial advisors aren’t going to charge you a thing for these workshops and meetings because you’re giving them an opportunity to gain more clients. As a result, everyone wins. 

And, by doing this, you empower your employees to make informed financial decisions, reduce financial stress, work toward their long-term financial goals, and help them see that they don’t have to have traditional benefits to be successful. 

6. Access to Company Resources & Discounts on Your Products or Services

Another one of the ways to serve your team well outside of benefits packages is to provide them with access to company resources and/or discounts on your products or services. 

This is going to look different for every business, but you might consider implementing employee discounts or pricing for your team and their family members. For example, if you own an auto detailing company, this might look like two free details a year or a certain percentage off every service. Or, if you own a gym, you might offer your instructors a free membership and/or discounts on your merchandise. 

These kinds of discounts aren’t going to make sense for every small business. So, something else you can do is give your team access to company resources. For example, if you own a plumbing company, you might give your team members permission to use tools to fix their own plumbing issues. Or, if your services are digital, you might let your team use software or programs for personal projects. 

By offering discounts on products or services or simply letting your team use your resources to their advantage, you can reward your employees, give them opportunities to engage with your brand, and simply show them that you care and want to serve them. 

7. Profit Sharing

Last but not least, while you may not financially be able to offer your team traditional benefits, that doesn’t mean that you can’t further benefit them financially and reward them for their hard work. 

For example, implementing a profit-sharing program can be a very powerful way to serve your team well, align your team’s interests with the success of your business, and help your employees see and recognize their contributions to your company’s growth. 

Basically, by sharing a portion of your company’s profits with your employees, you can create a sense of ownership and shared success that motivates your team to perform at their best. 

If you’re interested in learning more about profit-sharing, go back and listen to “Episode 140” where Laura Ciriello-Benedict of Ciriello Plumbing came on the show and shared how she implemented a profit-sharing program for her team and how you can do the same.

As we wrap up this episode, we want to remind you that your employees are your most valuable asset. While small businesses may face challenges in providing traditional benefit packages, this doesn’t mean you can’t serve your team well. You might need to get creative, but there are numerous ways you can demonstrate your commitment to employee well-being and success. 

Remember, investing in your employees not only fosters a positive work environment; it also enhances productivity and strengthens loyalty and retention, and all of these things are only going to benefit your business and help you reach your goals. 

So, whether you have or someday have a team of full-time employees, part-time employees, or even contractors, be sure to determine systems and processes that allow them to see and experience how grateful you are for them. 

 

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

 

On “Priority Pursuit,” Kelly discusses seven ways to serve your team well outside of benefit packages so that you can attract, retain, and do right by your employees.


 

The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.

You can find The Priority Pursuit Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Stitcher, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

 


 

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On “Priority Pursuit,” Kelly discusses seven ways to serve your team well outside of benefit packages so that you can attract, retain, and do right by your employees.

 

 

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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