Small Business Owners Are Giving Wild Perks to Retain Talent

Small business owners are extending perks for employees far beyond just paid time off – they're personalizing gifts to retain top talent.

For small businesses, employee retention is of the utmost importance, and some owners have devised creative ways to achieve it. Go Text Blast, a six-person company that embraced remote work long before the pandemic, has been treating its employees to a $100-150 monthly work-from-home stipend. And fitness company Hammerhead offers a $900 annual "athletic endeavor stipend" for employees to conquer their personal fitness goals, such as a marathon, the Camino hike, or a wilderness survival expedition. They also offer employees $200 per year to pay for cycling equipment or bike maintenance.

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Perks can also offer a way to bond on a company-wide level. Second-generation baby furniture brand Million Dollar Baby Co. isn't just giving their employees a paid vacation – they're offering a $700 annual stipend towards any domestic trip for every one of their 150 employees. But to cash in that stipend, employees must present something they learned on their journey to their colleagues over Zoom. Lawyer Scott Kimberly, who runs a small law practice in Tennessee, takes his employees to Manhattan every year and buys them a custom $1,200 suit. The team trip provides the time to bond, and the suit, which employees wear outside the office as well, provides a great message about the work environment at Kimberly's firm.

Employers also are considering helping their employees sustain healthy lifestyles far beyond the workplace. The Egg Donor & Surrogacy Institute in Beverly Hills, California, covers 50% of the total cost of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for all employees, including medication and treatments. This benefit is worth over $6,000 per IVF cycle, lessening employees' stress about money and ultimately improving their work performance and loyalty to the company.