So many companies are trying to attract top talent, and many of these companies are taking their cues from major tech companies in Silicon Valley. They all want to have Google-like offices with swimming pools, volleyball courts and a dinosaur skeleton, or to offer unlimited PTO as Netflix does.  But many smaller companies aren’t in a position to offer those same perks.  So what can be offered without breaking the bank?

Give Free Stuff

Everyone loves free stuff.  Food is always appreciated. But if you give everyone free pizza every Friday, after a few weeks it will get old and people will be less impressed.  Instead, try to vary the freebies so that over time everyone gets something they really like.

Food doesn’t have to be the only thing you give away.  Often CEOs or C-Level Execs have access to perks that others in the company don’t.  Maybe you get free tickets to sporting events or concerts. Consider offering those gifts to the lower level employees, especially if those tickets will end up going to waste or be given to friends or family outside the company.

Invest in Employees’ Futures

Tuition assistance is a very attractive perk to many people. Retaining employees and eventually promoting them will save you money you might spend on recruiting new talent, and it will make your company more desirable in the eyes of employees and clients.  Professional development can be expensive, so finding ways to cut costs is crucial.  You can often bring in an industry leader or corporate trainers to train the whole office in one shot.  If that’s too much, maybe offer a top performer a chance to take a class that will directly relate to his or her long-term career plan.

Wellness Programs

Not everyone can add a world class gym to their office.  However, giving employees time to go outside for a walk costs nothing. Providing yoga mats or balance balls are minimal expenses.  If you have a little more in your budget, you can consider working with a local gym to get employee discounts, or even sponsor a company recreational sport.

Work Life Balance

You might not be in a position to offer unlimited maternity/paternity leave to everyone in your office just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer benefits to entice new hires. Consider offering a baby bonus — a set amount of money that you provide when an employee has a new baby.  This can help them get through that tough transitional period and feel more secure in their role with the company. Offer new moms and dads the option of flexible scheduling or working from home for the first year.

The point is you don’t have to compete with larger companies. All you need to do is find a way to give your employees the flexibility they need to perform well at work and at home. What does your company do for its employees?

By Caitlin Mandeville | People Science Talent Advisor I