Creating a solid fringe benefit program for your employees will build value for them and for your small business
As they say, its the little things that matter
If your employees are your bread and butter, dont skimp on the fringe benefits that keep them happy and loyal. Even small gestures like a free sodas in the fridge or a meal here and there can go a long way towards making employees feel valued.
Many companies dont recognize the true value of fringe benefits like free meals and employee outings:
- Employees are likely your greatest asset, and even small fringe benefits can go a long way towards building loyalty and maintaining morale.
- Many fringe benefits such as meals and snacks are 100% deductible, and therefore cost very little to the company overall.
- Fringe benefits can help define a companys culture and contribute to making your business a great place to work for the long term.
When budgets are tight, many times the first things to go are the extras for employees holiday parties, snacks in the kitchen, company meals, etc. But what companies dont realize is that these fringe benefits add significant intangible value which often far outweighs their cost. By cutting fringe benefits, your company could be putting its greatest asset in jeopardy: its employees.
As the saying goes, its the little things that count.
This holds true not just in personal relationships, but also in professional ones. Employee fringe benefits contribute to building strong relationships with employees, and at the same time do not come at a great cost to the employer. In fact, studies have shown that fringe benefits are often even more memorable (and appreciated) than cash bonuses or high salaries at very little cost to the business, these benefits can become the foundation of your companys culture.
When things get busy and employees are working through lunch or dinner, meals in the office are a great fringe benefit that can go a very long way and theyre 100% tax deductible. Likewise, making snack foods or beverages available is also 100% deductible and very much appreciated by the employees. (Ever talk to someone who works at a big technology company like Google or Microsoft? Guaranteed one of the first benefits theyll mention is the free soda and food.)
Annual holiday party
An annual holiday party is another highlight for many employees, and a great morale builder at the end of the year. Under certain IRS guidelines, it is not taxable to the employee and will bring the entire company together.
Similarly, company outings throughout the year also contribute hugely to employee morale, and if done with a charitable cause in mind, can also benefit the businesss PR. Perhaps you send a couple foursomes to a charity golf tournament, volunteer together at a local food kitchen, or even just bring the team to professional sports event. Any outing like this will build value and make for happy employees.
Conferences and seminars
Conferences and seminars while sometimes costly can offer multiple benefits to the employer as well. Not only do they build employee value through education, but they also build the employee relationship. When an employee sees that the employer is investing in them, they feel valued and appreciated. And appreciated employees want to stay where they are for the long term.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. Other excellent fringe benefits might include gift cards, taking employees out to dinner or lunch, establishment of a recreational company sports team, or many other ideas. But large or small, all fringe benefits have one thing in common: if structured properly, they can go a very long way toward building employee satisfaction and safeguarding your greatest asset.
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About the author
Alexander J. Hart of Cuban American decent is principal and founder of Hart Vida Raffo. With over 25 years of experience, Alex specializes in the areas of tax strategy and planning, business process improvement, and capital consulting. Whether advising on capital and financing strategy or consulting for privately-held professional services firms, Alex has the expertise and practical know-how to help any company optimize their business processes and make tactical financial decisions. He began his career at IBM in sales operations and accounting. He was a Controller for the N.Y. Post, has been a CFO for a medical device company, and has written a tax column called “Ask the Tax Guys” for Micro-Cap Review. Alex is a professional member of A.L.T.A. (Affiliated Lawyers of the Americas), a member of the National Association of Tax Preparers, and is a contributing author and mentor at Latin Business Today. Alex graduated from St. John’s University with a B.A. in Spanish and his M.B.A. in Finance. He obtained his accounting degree from Pace University.Website