How to Offer Hiring Perks on a Budget
Q: What perks should you include in a job offer when you're trying to nab a dream hire without a huge budget?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization composed of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published "#FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good)," a book of 30-plus proven solutions to help end youth unemployment. Founded by Scott Gerber, the YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.
A: Healthy Employees Are Happier
Offer a suite of perks that promotes health and wellness, like gym memberships, office massages, morning smoothies and occasional catered lunches. Not only are they attractive benefits, but they also help to reduce your health care costs.
Michael Tolkin, Merchant Exchange (http://www.merchex.com)
A: Work Day in Your PJs
Allowing employees to work from home actually saves you thousands of dollars every month and is an enormous perk for them. While many online businesses have gone virtual, the traditional business world hasn't caught up. So there are many talented professionals out there looking for remote positions and finding nothing in the traditional corporate world. Nab them for your company instead!
Laura Roeder (http://www.twitter.com/lkr), LKR (http://www.LauraRoeder.com)
A: Loosen Up the Schedule
For new hires, particularly when they are young professionals, nothing is more appealing than being able to create and sustain work-life integration. Most prospective employees would rather work from home, have flexible hours, and so forth than an extra $10K-$20K per year.
Alexia Vernon (http://www.Twitter.com/AlexiaVernon), Alexia Vernon Empowerment LLC (http://www.alexiavernon.com)
A: BYOB — Build Your Own Business!
Many of the people who work for startups would like to be entrepreneurs themselves. Instead of fighting this trend, I try to embrace it and help all-star-caliber people achieve their goals. This is mainly through sharing my operational expertise or providing them connections with the media.
Lawrence Watkins (https://twitter.com/#!/lawrencewatkins), Great Black Speakers (http://www.greatblackspeakers.com)
A: Complimentary Mentorship
I only want to hire ambitious people — it's rare that I hire with the expectation that someone will still be working with me three years out. So I take advantage of that: I offer to mentor anyone I want to hire and help them get their own projects going. That can include everything from advice to helping them make connections.
Thursday Bram (http://www.twitter.com/thursdayb), Hyper Modern Consulting (http://www.hypermodernconsulting.com)
A: Love to Learn
Offer traditional tuition allowances, online courses or access to conferences and training sessions as perks. By giving new hires a chance to continually improve and grow with your company, you'll send the message that you're in this relationship for the long term. With the right parameters, this perk is a win-win as your team cultivates new skills and perspectives that they bring back to the job.
Kelly Azevedo (https://twitter.com/#!/krazevedo), She's Got Systems (http://www.kellyazevedo.com)
A: How Much Do You Want to Earn?
Be sure to align the potential hire’s future benefits with the success of the company. Performance-based compensation is one of the best ways to get top talent at a low base. If they add value for the company, set it up that they are rewarded for that value.
John Hall (https://twitter.com/#!/JohnHallCOMO), Digital Talent Agents (http://www.digitaltalentagents.com/)
A: The Value of Independence
A wise startup founder once said, "Hire the best people you can and get out of their way." Many of the best employees value independence greatly, so you can attract them by letting them know they'll have the freedom and trust to do their job as they see fit.
Jason Evanish (http://www.twitter.com/Evanish), Greenhorn Connect (http://www.greenhornconnect.com/)
A: Extended Vacations
Offering four or six weeks of paid vacation can really make your job offer stand out especially in our workaholic culture. Great employees will always be responsible and fulfill their job obligations and duties before going away on holiday, so the work will get done, and you can hire people you might otherwise not be able to recruit.
Matt Mickiewicz (http://twitter.com/sitepointmatt), Flippa (http://www.99designs.com)
A: Business Trips Get Personal
One of the things that used to drive me crazy at the company I first worked for was the way our business travel was scheduled. We would arrive somewhere, head straight to our meeting or the convention center and never have the chance to visit the city where we were working. My employees have the option to stay for an extra day to go sightseeing. This makes travel a bonus rather than a burden.
Vanessa Nornberg (http://twitter.com/VanessaNornberg), Metal Mafia (http://www.metalmafia.com/)
A: Team Success Pays Off
One new perk we've been offering is profit shares based off the firm’s overall annual performance. This will provide incentive for the hire to see the company succeed.
Raoul Davis (http://twitter.com/#!/Ceo_Branding), Ascendant Strategy (http://www.ascendantstrategy.net/)
A: You Know, Just Changing the World
The salary and benefits I offer to my employees are pitiful in comparison to a lot of tech startups in Silicon Valley. However, we do have an incredible mission of helping millions of people around the world get access to education. I like hiring people who are inspired by education, and getting them involved in this grand vision is a huge perk.
Eric Bahn (http://www.twitter.com/beatthegmat), Beat The GMAT (http://www.beatthegmat.com/)
A: How Do You Balance Your Lifestyle?
The employers that are going to be most successful moving forward are the ones that understand the importance of lifestyle balance. Whether that's the ability to work from home, more vacation time, or "summer hours," our generation appreciates — and even demands — a lifestyle balance much more so than the generations before us.
Sean Ogle (http://www.twitter.com/seanogle), Location 180, LLC (http://www.seanogle.com/)
A: The Buddy System
What else does the individual desire, other than a large amount of money? Perhaps it could be less working hours. Some may want an opportunity to reap the benefits of a company by being offered stock options. One interesting thought would be to offer two positions to the person, one for them and another for a contact they can recommend. Sometimes moving companies helps when doing it in pairs.
George Mavromaras (http://twitter.com/mavroinc), Mavro Inc. | Praetor Global LLC. (http://mavroinc.com/)
A: Don't Focus on Perks
Adding perks won't seal the deal — the content of the offer and the commitment the candidate feels is what matters. Don't throw in extras; instead, focus on the content of the work and the contribution you think the candidate can make. Have the CEO or founders have a conversation with them and be clear why you want them on the team.