Why you need to offer employee perks, and how to do it on a shoestring budget

by | Nov 28, 2018 | NatHERS

PwC has a Lego room, Commonwealth Bank has an onsite wellness centre, Deloitte offers free cooking classes, and Rio Tinto gives discounts on diamonds.

With some of Australia’s biggest employers offering impressive perks, the pressure is on for smaller businesses to raise their game if they want to keep workers happy and attract talented candidates with the skills of the future.

Keeping current employees happy is a definite advantage for smaller businesses – especially when you consider that a recent study found two-thirds of employees rated workplace benefits as a very important factor when choosing whether or not to stay with their current employers.

Think about any recent exit interviews you might have conducted – would things be different if you offered employee perks?

The good news is motivating employees with perks doesn’t have to cost you diamonds. What your small business may lack in corporate advantages, you gain in flexibility and a more relaxed work environment.

Rather than trying to match the expensive perks of larger organisations, stand out with employee perks that are one-of-a-kind and will be valued by your team members.

Here are some inexpensive ideas to get you started:

Flexible working: According to a recent SEEK survey ,59% of Australians see flexible working and the ability to work from home to be the most appealing benefit a company could offer. Allow your team to work remotely, or be flexible to appointments, school pick-ups and life in general.

Birthday treat: Give employees a paid day off on their birthday. This simple gesture can mean a lot to your employees, who can then spend their birthday how they want.


Free experiences: Movie tickets, footy tickets, restaurant vouchers – everyone loves a freebie. Partner up with local businesses to offer discounts in your area. For example, you could arrange an employee discount at a local café.


“Doughnut” days: Ever noticed how quickly the mood lifts when someone brings treats into the workplace? Bring happiness to your office once a week or fortnight.

Free healthy food: Healthy workers are productive workers, so consider offering a selection of healthy snacks and drinks for free. A weekly fresh fruit box and SodaStream (for sparkling water) don’t cost much but will be much appreciated. You could also host a healthy brekkie once a week.


Pet-friendly workplace: Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownershipin the world, with almost two in three households owning pets. So, if it makes sense for your business, let your staff bring their furry friends to work. Dogs help create a friendly, homelike atmosphere in the office and encourage people to interact. As a bonus, you could see stress levels in the office decrease too.

Invest in training:In the same survey, one in four Aussies see professional development as a top perk. Talk to Transformed about how you can invest in professional development, education, and training opportunities for staff. Your business will reap the benefits of higher skilled staff, so it’s win-win!


Well-being day:Take your cue from one of Australia’s Most Innovative Companies, Lendlease. The company gives staff one “well-being day” per quarter (in addition to their annual leave allowance) where they can choose from a number of activities from cookery classes to martial arts. 


Summer Fridays:What could be better in summer than ditching work early to enjoy the warm summer evening? Productivity takes a natural dip on Friday afternoons anyway, so you might as well make it a perk! Give your staff the opportunity to leave work early one Friday a month during summer. 


The ideas above show you don’t have to spend lots to attract and reward staff. Take some time to work out what your employees would value the most, then get creative! You could even make it one of your business goals for 2019. Keep in mind; you may need to pay fringe benefits tax depending on which employee perks you offer.

Are you hiring staff for the first time? Read about the formula for growth in this article.


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