Tech companies are known for handing out a wide array of perks to attract and keep top talent. Free food, gyms, childcare, and more.
As a startup–especially a bootstrapped one–this can be a bit overwhelming. How are you supposed to compete with the likes of Google and Apple when it comes to showering your employees with gifts?
The good news is that you as a smaller company have something that those big companies don’t have: the opportunity to make a big impact. Folks who apply to work at startups generally are looking for a fast paced environment where they’re not just a cog in a much larger machine.
That being said, you still want to offer some perks. But rather than just giving your employees random free stuff, choose perks that make your employees happier and more productive. Here are a few that we think fit the mold.
This is where the bulk of your “perk” budget should go. Every one of your employees should be setup with the tools they need to do their job well.
Best case scenario: a brand new computer of the employee’s choosing, any accessories they like to use, a nice desk and comfortable chair.
This is one of those upfront investments that can seem a bit daunting but is 100% worth it.
Many new ideas for how to handle vacation time have sprung up in recent years. One of the most popular trends among startups is the idea of unlimited vacation. In theory, people take the time off that they need. In practice, at least at Baremetrics, we found that folks weren’t taking nearly enough time off.
We now have a minimum vacation allowance. Folks are expected to take at least 28 days of vacation, with at least 1 continuous week off. Anyone can take more time off if they want or need it. You can read more about our decision to ditch unlimited vacation on our blog.
Another great approach to consider is actually paying people to take vacation. By providing, say, $500 that can only be used for travel, you’re ensuring that folks are actually getting the work break they need and not just sitting around at home (possibly secretly working).
Letting folks claim a couple hundred bucks worth of expenses a month is a great way to keep them happy. Sure, you could just top up everyone’s salary a little, but psychologically there’s something different about having some money that you have to spend right now or else you lose it.
At Baremetrics, we give out up to $250 a month per empoyee to spend on things that explicitly make them happy. Folks have spent this on things like hotels, flights, entertainment systems, fancy dinners–all kinds of things. The idea is that you’re invited to be a little bit more frivolous than you would be with your own money, and by extension, a little bit happier.
Healthy employees are happy employees right? You may not be able to build a gym in your office, you may not even have an office, but you can offer perks that help your employees feel their best. Gym memberships or stipends are a great perk, but think beyond the gym too.
There are about a million and a half fitness trackers on the market, get everyone the same kind and your employees can compare steps and challenge each other! At Baremetrics we have a designated #health slack channel for just this purpose. Another great idea: regular gift cards for local spas or massage therapists.
Whatever you choose, give your employees the option to say no too. Health is a very personal subject and you don’t want to offend or force a certain method on anyone.
Retreats are a win-win for everyone. People feel like they’re getting a little vacation from their regular work schedule, but also some great hours collaborating and team-building.