HR Consultant - McGeachy Consulting




Posts in Human Resources
Are you in Compliance with the Salary History Ban?

Does your jurisdiction have a salary history ban?
A number of states and several municipalities have passed laws banning employers from asking candidates about their past compensation. When I first heard this ban was coming I was puzzled by how employers would attract top talent fairly without this knowledge. I have spent a considerable part of my career conducting senior and executive level searches for clients. Compensation is one of the most common ways to lure a candidate away from their current opportunity. Without that knowledge, it feels a little bit like shooting at a dartboard in the dark hoping you have the right compensation range to attract A+ talent to your organization.

Check your state or local municipality here.

Why the change?
Pay equity. If you flip the issue upside down, states have determined that employers are unknowingly perpetuating the issue of pay equity by asking a candidate's salary, learning that it’s perhaps low and then offering them just enough to attract the candidate to make a career move. In this situation, you have an employee that’s being paid lower than the salary range and lower than their peers in the same job. Research tells us that this typically happens to women and the result is the gender pay gap.

Recruiter Stacey Moore says, “Overall I like the change and see the benefit for creating pay equity.” It has not been an easy change for people involved in recruiting and selecting talent and Stacey recommends that employers continue to educate their hiring managers, recruiters, and anyone involved in the recruitment process.

What’s the remedy?  
The best practice that we recommend to clients is to explain the pay range to candidates during the phone interview, such as disclosing that a position pays in a range between $70,000 and $85,000. You might also ask if that range would meet the candidate's salary expectations.

What to do if an employee volunteers their compensation?
If you write it down, make note that the information was volunteered by the candidate without prompting. Remind the candidate that you can’t consider past compensation as part of the process (or specifically educate them about the Salary History Ban if it applies in your jurisdiction).

Is it awkward?
At first, yes! Will we someday look back at the past decades where we asked for salary history and think that it contributed to the overall wage gap? I believe we will.

What are your thoughts? How is this working in your business? Please add your comment below.


Amy McGeachy is an HR Consultant and the Founder of The Exceptional Workplace, a newsletter to help small business leaders stay focus on proactive HR and People Practices. Never miss an issue - join HERE.

Adding a Wellness Program to Your Small Business Can Pay Off

Should small business owners care about the wellness or the well-being of their employees?


In 2019, wellness and well-being are as much a part of the workplace as healthcare benefits and paid time off. Employers range from caring about wellness all the way to implementing a full wellness program. The range of options is huge.

Employers have learned that by caring about wellness they get a positive ROI in terms of productivity and engagement. It looks and feels different in each business from a small change to a full wellness program.

Adding a wellness program to your small business culture can literally save money. In a survey by SFM they found that “60% of employers said their workplace wellness programs reduced their organization's healthcare costs”.


Workplace wellness can really pay off

20 ways to add wellness to your small business


20 Ways to add Employee Wellness to your Small Business

  1. Ensure that employees take breaks. This one sounds simpler than it really is but give employees a good reason to take a break from work.

  2. Take a walking 1:1.

  3. Sign up for a team 5K event.

  4. Add a fruit bowl to your employee breakroom.

  5. Encourage your team, or even set up a policy, to not send emails 24 hours a day. Check out this policy by Vynamic (healthcare industry management consultants) about zzzMail.

  6. Add fresh water infused with cucumber, mint or strawberry to your employee breakroom.

  7. Host an office ‘step challenge’.

  8. Offer flexible schedules.

  9. Add standing desks to the office.

  10. Create a treadmill desk workstation that anyone can use.

  11. Volunteer at a local running event (with your families).

  12. Add a mindfulness activity to the start of your team meetings. As silly as this sounds, you will thank me for this as it changes the mindset and pace of your meeting.

  13. Invite a yoga instructor to conduct a lunch time yoga class for your team.

  14. Implement a ‘bring your well-behaved dog to work’ policy.

  15. Invite a massage therapist to offer 15-minute chair massages for your team.

  16. Add an Employee Assistance Program to your benefits.

  17. Take a hike with your team for your next off-site or team builder.

  18. Encourage your team to take mid-day exercise classes (together!)

  19. Offer to pay for employees’ gym membership as part of their employee perks or (up to a certain dollar amount).

  20. Lead by example. If the leader has a healthy work-life that translates to the workplace culture. Empower leaders to model a healthy balance.

How has adding a wellness focus or program to your small business made an impact? Please share via the comments section below.

Sharing is caring. Share to your favorite social media tool below.

Are you looking for ways to retain the great employees you already have? Check out our post on what you need to know about your employees if you want to keep them around.


Are you looking to retain the great employees you already have?

Employee Appreciation Day Formula that Delivers an Excellent Experience

According to the research conducted by Gary Chapman and Paul White the authors of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, people feel appreciated in 5 different categories: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Tangible Gifts and Physical Touch (that last one is not appropriate for the workplace!). Given our workplace climate, we will focus on the first four. As you think about your workplace, showing your appreciation in a variety of forms will be the best way to reach your diverse team.

Employee Appreciation Day Formula --->

food + gift, act of service, or event + handwritten note of appreciation = employees who feel appreciated


  • Lattes

  • Specialty donuts

  • Locally sourced bagels

  • Healthy, delicious, catered lunch

Gift, Act of Service, or Event:

  • Schedule a chair massage therapist to come to your office

  • Car wash (or car wash gift card)

  • Magazine subscription (how about Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Inc.?)

  • A special book

  • Bottle of wine

  • Use chalk on the sidewalk outside your office to draw your appreciation: 'Our team ROCKS!' If your team is large, have a few of your leaders meet you early in the morning to help cover the sidewalk with appreciation of everyone on your team. You could even use alliteration to match the first letter of their first name with an adjective such as: Can-do Carly or Sales Slugger Sam.

Handwritten Note of Appreciation:


Write handwritten notes of appreciation for each person on your team.

Finally, it’s not about how significant your appreciation day events or gifts are, it’s how much love goes into the act of appreciating your team members. Something simple with buckets-full of appreciation can be magnificent.

What is Employer Branding and How Can it Benefit Your Small Business?
Employer Branding

Employer branding can help your business succeed with hiring qualified candidates. But, what is employer branding, exactly?

With unemployment currently at 3.9%, it's a tough market for hiring managers at the moment. As a result, you'll have to make your company as attractive as possible to find the best employees.

That's where branding comes in.

You've probably heard of branding as it relates to marketing. But what is employer branding and how can it help your business flourish?

Here's everything you'll need to know to establish your company as the perfect place to work.

What Is Employer Branding, Anyway?

If you ask 10 different companies to define employment branding, you're likely going to get 10 very different answers. For the sake of this post, however, we'll be using our own.

Employer branding is an umbrella term referring to a cluster of efforts by your company to establish and affirm an image of your workplace. Often, companies use marketing methods similar to those they'd use in an ad campaign.

For the time being, think of employment branding as any actions you take to highlight your business and showcase it to outside talent.

Examples of Employer Branding

Now, let's look at how a few major companies use branding to establish an identity.


Google is an absolute master of branding. In fact, reading the brand's name likely conjured up images of the company's colorful logo.

Suffice to say, they're quite good at what they do, and that extends to their recruitment process.

Google's strategy is one so powerful, they subtly turned an entire film, The Internship, into one great big promotion highlighting their workforce.

Their strategy often relies on appearing down to earth, making them the fun place to work. From ping pong tables in the break room to gourmet food at the cafeteria, Google took the start-up approach to branding and made it mainstream.


From one monolith to the next, Starbucks also excels as branding. Though it doesn't have the backing of a movie starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, Starbucks' approach focuses on the employees.

In fact, Starbucks has one of the most competitive employee benefits packages out there.

The baristas who make your delicious beverage each day have access to health care, free online college, yearly raises, and even company stock. It's no wonder why the green siren's song is so alluring to talent!

Taco Bell

Though Taco Bell's internal branding strategy isn't as widespread or powerful as the two aforementioned companies, it's still quite impressive in its own right.

Taco Bell's main focus is employee retention, as highlighted in its 'Start with us stay with us' campaign, which sheds light on Yum! Brands' love of hiring from within.

It's a smart strategy, especially in an industry where turnover is notoriously high.

Why Does Company Branding Matter?

Now we know a bit more about employment branding. But does it matter as much as we're implying?

Absolutely, it does.

Let's say you're out of work and looking for a new job. As you begin your search you find yourself awash in a sea of companies that, frankly, all sound similar.

Then you come across an employer that stands above the rest. Their listing is fun, they talk about company culture, and they offer a competitive signing bonus and benefits package. In the span of a few moments, you've forgotten about every other application you sent out.

On the flip side, let's say you're an HR manager looking to make some changes to your company's hiring policies. Branding can benefit you, as well.

Better branding can decrease the amount of time you spend on the entire hiring process. And at the end of the day, you'll have the best hire, too.

Using Branding to Your Benefit

It's clear that branding should be a huge part of any company's strategy. But finding ways to create and implement that great image can be difficult unless you know how to effectively use your time, money, and efforts.

Here are a few of the most effective branding methods to try.

Employee Testimonials

You can try and convince talent that your company is great until you're blue in the face, but don't expect it to work. They'd much rather hear it from those who work for you.

Employee testimonials give an inside look at your business, showing would-be hires what your company stands for and what they can expect.

Start by asking employees what they love about your company and what it means to them. You can even use these testimonials as content. For instance, around Thanksgiving, you can publish an employee-driven post about what your team is most thankful for.

Highlight Office Culture

Office culture can make or break a company. If your workplace is drab and dreary, you can't expect much productivity or new hires.

Instead, show off how fun and vibrant your office and its staff are. Take some photos or videos of your office throughout the workday. You may also want to highlight the quiet, human moments between coworkers and the fun, bombastic atmosphere of an employee celebration.

Whatever the case, show off your office. As the saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Offer a Competitive Benefits Package

As important as outside perception of your workplace is, you'll need more than that. Make sure you're prepared to offer a sufficient benefits package to your employees.

Go the extra mile for your employees, and they'll go the extra mile for you.

Include vision and dental, a 401k, and discounts at local retailers or a health club membership. Think about the types of fun, practical benefits you'd want. Chances are your employees would like them, too.

Master the Art of Storytelling

Finally, make your listings as compelling as possible. Tell a story about who you are as a brand and why new hires should take an interest in your company.

Use vivid, descriptive language. Highlight how exciting and important the position is. Be sure to mention any additional benefits or perks that come with the job.

Last Thoughts On The Significance Of Employer Branding

So, to wrap things up, what is employer branding?

It's a way to stand out from your competition. It's a way to attract the best talent around and encourage them to be successful within your company. Best of all, it's a way to grow your business while showing off the heart of your team.

We work with businesses like yours each day to help them find the tools they need to succeed in today's market.

If you're interested in learning more about how you can streamline common HR processes for your business, be sure to get in touch and ask about our services.

Book Review: Make Your Bed
Make Your Bed.jpg

Earlier this summer I picked up the book Make Your Bed to read with my kids. It was a book I purchased on a whim at Target (hoping to inspire my kids!) written by Admiral (Navy Seal) William McRaven. It has a significant amount of leadership, personal fortitude, and integrity lessons throughout that are relevant to the workplace. The author told numerous stories that will stick with me. Most of the stories started with a lesson about himself as a Navy Seal trainee and then turned into a story about how someone else lived out the lesson. His style was humble even given his status as an Admiral.

We started reading it aloud chapter by chapter and it found its way on several road trips (a softball tournament, San Juans, the beach, Sunriver). With each chapter we had to stop and google information that was referenced including ‘hospital corners’ and what it means to a Navy Seal when they become a ‘sugar cookie’. We researched fascinating leaders, world history, and the rigors of becoming a Navy Seal — all while learning important life and leadership lessons.

It’s surely not your typical business book but the lessons and content are certainly relevant to people and workplaces.

Employee Appreciation Day Plans

Life can be hectic, let’s not be plagued by the preparation for Employee Appreciation Day, which will be here in a few short weeks, March 2nd, 2018. Let’s brainstorm some options to help you show big appreciation to your team.

And, if you’re hesitating STOP.

This is about creating culture, helping employees develop a love for your company, giving your team members a reason to tell others about their delightful workplace (hello, instagramable workplace). This is not about you giving more. It’s about you caring about your team.



employee appreciation day

It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.

Mother Teresa



The idea of taking care of those people who are in service to you is such a lovely act of kindness. This, aside from all other acts, can go a long, LONG way. Why not flip things upside down for a bit and serve your team members?

How about a waffle bar with the CEO as the main server? Another spin on this is a nacho bar or a car wash.


Some employees will be overjoyed with a little bit of surprise on this day of appreciation. Take for example a conference room that is filled with balloons, each with a sharpie-written note of appreciation for individual team members, “Charlotte your customer service skills are exquisite. We are lucky to have you!” What fun it is to find your balloon and read your note. Order lunch in and give them a coupon for an hour (or more) of flexibility in their workday in the coming month and you’re all set.

Have a whiteboard in your office? Cover the whiteboard in notes of appreciation for your team. Big, bright words telling them how grateful you are that they are part of your team. The bigger, the more of an impression it will make. Add a dessert buffet to the conference table and a small gift. Well done.


Looking to add to your office perks to attract and retain talent? This is a great day to reveal the additions to your team.

  • Extra holidays - World at Work says that the average business observes 9 paid holidays per year

  • Enriched PTO Plan - Average PTO plans start at 16 days per year for new employees

  • Add a 401k if you don’t already have one

  • Implement a flexible workplace policy

Offer this along with donuts and coffee in the morning and a handwritten note from the team leader and you have a solid employee appreciation day.


Love practical tips for creating an exceptional business? We’ve got loads more in The Exceptional Workplace! We help small business leaders (CEO, Owners, HR, Controllers) cultivate exceptional workplaces through strong HR and people practices. 

The Annual Performance Review is Dead, Now What?

It’s been a slow death, but the Annual Performance Review is for the most part, dead. Soon, we will no longer hear about the annual performance review from companies large or small. It’s a giant, unproductive exercise in project management for the CEO or HR leader with ineffective outcomes.

If you’re like most of the small business leaders that I know you have...

  • Decided not to performance reviews anymore
  • Forgot, ignored and have not done performance reviews in the past 1-2 years
  • Never did annual performance reviews




Why are annual performance reviews so darn ineffective?

  1. They are a recap of a year’s worth of performance. The employees in the 2018 workplace want to spend time looking at the present and the future. They don’t want to look back at 12 months of performance whether it was good or bad. They are asking, what’s next for me, now? What’s coming in the next 3 months?

  2. Our workplaces are fast-paced.. Employees and employers need to have more regular communication about performance and waiting 12 months between reviews is simply too long to build any momentum or plan for development.

  3. Managers were never really good at them. That’s right, when you do something only one time per year you never really get in a steady cadence to be consistent and effective. Besides, most managers begrudgingly did them just to check to a box.

And, I’m sorry! I have pushed the annual performance review in the past and even rolled out new systems to organizations. With a lack of employee/employer feedback it feels like an obvious tool to communicate but alas I think we can do better. We can communicate in better ways to create workplaces where feedback, goal setting, and coaching are frequent and executed with ease.

Now What?

Small businesses are embracing quarterly reviews. This can be a game changer for your culture, business goals aligned with individual goals, and communication. Let’s look at why and how to do this right.

I am a humongous fan of dropping the annual performance review and replacing it with quarterly reviews. This can be a game changer for your culture when business goals aligned with individual goals and communication. Let’s talk more about why and how to do this right.



5 Benefits of Quarterly Reviews

  1. Cadence - Setting a quarterly cadence helps keep the goals top-of-mind and allows managers and employees to get good at having quarterly performance dialog.

  2. Set achievable, top-of-mind, goals - Set goals that set are small bites (or at least bites of a bigger goal) which makes them easier to digest and accomplish.

  3. Accountability - With a quarterly cadence, and setting meetings in advance, there is accountability built into the process.

  4. Lightweight - Quarterly review are lightweight. They should be thought of a process that is used to manage performance and not an annual event that you do.

  5. Feed Forward - Annual reviews were a tool to provide feedback. Think of quarterly reviews as a way to feed forward and look ahead at goals and performance for the coming quarter.


Here is how to start implementing a quarterly review process

Follow these steps below or use our Quarterly Performance Goals download to get started. The download includes a how-to guide, sample review, and a fillable PDF and it can be found on this site under Premium Content.  

Lay the Foundation - Develop a structure for your quarterly reviews including basic guidelines (who, what, when, where, why and how). Communicate the process to your team and allow time for questions. Also, communicate your goal for continuous improvement in this process. For example, at first we are going to start by using only 3 questions and a 1-page the future, we may add questions and perhaps even utilize software to help manage the quarterly reviews.

Monitor and Improve - Once everyone has completed the first round of dialog seek feedback. Ask managers and ask employees so that you can get a sense of how things went. Look at the results of the review conversations (the quarterly review forms or documentation) for feedback.


Sample Quarterly Review Questions

Assuming you and your team member know the company’s overall goal and mission for the year let the quarterly review be a dialog. Both of you will come prepared to chat and come to an agreement on the following questions:

The beginning of the quarter:

  • What are your goals for the quarter?
  • How will you make progress towards those goal(s) this quarter?
  • What tools and resources will you need to accomplish your goals?
  • How does your goal contribute to the company’s overall business goals?

The end of the quarter:

  • What was your biggest accomplishment in the past quarter?
  • Describe where you struggled
  • What’s one thing that could be going better?

Then, document what has been discussed (Google Doc, blank piece of paper, napkin, use this guide, whatever!) and make sure that both the employee and the manager get a copy.

Set a date for the next quarterly review 3 months out. Rinse and repeat.

Keep this process lightweight. One downfall of the ‘annual performance review’ has been the heavy burden that it creates for people. Your goal by changing your process is to make it effective and simple. If it’s too heavy and difficult you’re doing something wrong.


Download your How-to Guide and Quarterly Performance Goals Worksheet. Your guide to ditching the annual performance review and replacing it with employee-driven, actionable quarterly goals.

Ready ditch the annual performance review and replace it with employee-driven actionable quarterly goals? Consider joining The Exceptional Workplace premium content. There you will find the intuitive How-to Guide and a Quarterly Performance Goals Worksheet specifically curated for small and medium-sized businesses. Download your copy today and get started.



Love practical tips for creating an exceptional business? We’ve got loads more in The Exceptional Workplace! We help small business leaders (CEO, Owners, HR, Controllers) cultivate exceptional workplaces through strong HR and people practices. Learn more here.

5 Things to Know About Your Workforce…If You Want to Keep Them

This might seem like one of those posts you can pass by — because c’mon, of course you know your workforce. If your business is small enough, then chances are you were the one who hired them!But actually, studies show that there’s often a huge disconnect between the management and the workforce of an organization. And if you’re not connected with your workforce, it’s only a matter of time before you start having serious problems.

The good news is that you can avoid so many issues with just a little bit more knowledge about your people. So if you’re starting to wonder if maybe you don’t know your workforce as well as you thought you did, ask yourself, do you know:

The #1 Gripe Going Around the Office

If you do nothing else after reading this post, I’d really encourage you to find out the #1 thing that’s bugging people in your workplace. It might be an easy fix that you’ve never even thought of simply because of your position in the company — by knowing what it is and addressing it, you’ll show people that you’re actively invested in making work better for them, which will go a long way to inspire loyalty and improve productivity.

As an example, a client in Portland recently upgraded their workplace coffee, water, and snack program to the absolute delight of their employees. Perrier sends a message of class, high-end, and engagement while tap water might send the message of unremarkable, ho-hum and unimportant. Every workgroup is different so it’s important to ask, and ask more than once.   


Even if it’s something that you can’t fix right away, you can at least let your team members know that you hear them and the lines of communication are open, which goes a long way towards easing tensions. Besides, there’s a good chance that this issue is related to the second most important thing to know about your workforce:

Why People Leave

You probably have some sort of idea of your turnover rate already — and if you don’t, you need to get on that ASAP. But it’s not enough to know that people are leaving. You need to know why people leave, and especially why your best people leave, otherwise you could be needlessly hemorrhaging talent and knowledge capital. Is it more money, better career opportunity, workplace culture, are they burnt out?

How do you figure this out? By asking and observing. Make it a point to include questions about this sort of thing in every exit interview, and make it clear that you really do want to know to improve, not to harp on people or defend the company. If you are afraid that employees will not be honest with you to the extent that you need have an HR Consultant or another key leader in your company conduct the Exit Interview. In the digital age, exit interviews can even be conducted electronically.

Why People Stay

Similarly, you need to know why people stay in your workforce, both the things that keep the great employees and the things that keep the not-so-great ones. That way, you can keep doing those things that encourage the people you want to stay, and stop doing the things that encourage the underperformers.

The best way to find out why people stay is to conduct Stay Interviews. Here are some great Stay Interview questions taken from the book, Hello Stay Interview, Goodbye Talent Loss.

  • What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning?
  • What makes you hit the snooze button?
  • If you won the lottery and resigned what would you miss the most?
  • What can I do to keep you?
  • What would entice you away?

Have you ever heard an underperformer say that they like your company because they are on easy street while a top performer likes your company because of the rigor? This insight is valuable. The solution here is to balance the rigor with the goal of losing underperformers and attracting and retaining top performers. Hint; 1:1 meetings and mid-year reviews are a great way to balance the rigor keeping tabs on each team member's performance.

The Ambitions of Your Key People

You may already get a sense of this as you’re finding out why people leave and stay, but make sure you really get a good sense of the ambitions of your key people. This allows you to support them in achieving those ambitions (which is a very important part of leadership, and one of the top intangible things employees want from companies). This alone may keep you from getting caught off guard by one of your key people leaving to pursue an ambition you knew nothing about. You may even be able to keep them if you can find a way to support that ambition while still having them work for you!

An example of this is when a client of mine found that their right-hand gal had aspirations of working in the medical field in an auxiliary role. My client pursued clients in that industry, which satisfied the curiosity of her employee. Small businesses have a way of being nimble to meet these needs. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Something Personal About the People You Work With

So you already know that people are not widgets or computers … but it can be hard to remember that when you’re head down in paperwork, schedules, and payroll. The truth is, most employees work to live, so make it a point to find out what they’re living for outside of work, and ask them about it! It doesn’t have to be a big production; something as simple as “Claire, how was your hike to Mt. St. Helen’s?” works just fine.

Doing this keeps you connected with the pulse of the workplace and makes people feel well cared for and not just as one more number on the payroll, both of which are characteristics of an exceptional leader. (Not to mention being crucial for a happy, productive workforce.)



Love practical tips for creating an exceptional business? We’ve got loads more in The Exceptional Workplace! We help small business leaders (CEO, Owners, HR, Controllers) cultivate exceptional workplaces through strong HR and people practices. Learn more here.

How to attract and recruit great talent to your team

Well, for one thing, if you get this wrong, you’re going to be completely out in the cold when it comes to attracting great talent. Worst case scenario, you fail to innovate in this area and you become unable to offer an attractive compensation package to potential prospects. Or, even worse, you lose your current workforce as they go somewhere that is offering them the compensation and perks they want.

That all sounds pretty grim … but it can be much easier (and cheaper) than you think to make your business stand out from the competition.

Start by looking at the competition.

What are other companies in your industry sector offering? What about benefits and perks? If you don’t already know, and you’re not sure how to find out, there’s one very easy thing you can do: ask.

Ask candidates where they’re currently at in terms of compensation, ask new hires about their benefits, nose around at networking events and ask people what the latest hot perk is. And don’t forget to ask your staff — they won’t be shy in telling you what they would love to see at the company! And failing all that, you can always do some careful Googling to see what’s happening in your pool of competition.

Once you have an idea of the kinds of things going around, it’s time to look inwards.

After you’ve gotten a good understanding of what your competition is offering and what your workforce wants, then you should start to think about how to position yourself correctly in the marketplace. You can always look at traditional compensation changes, but there are also loads of non-traditional perks that can be really powerful, including:

1. Flexibility

As in, flexible scheduling, the option to telecommute, or creating a results-oriented workplace.

2. Opportunities for Growth

Including things like a professional development budget, succession planning, or access to an executive coach or mentor.

3. Vacation/Paid Time Off (PTO)

If you can, think about providing a generous vacation/PTO policy. World at Work reported that they average PTO plan starts at 16 days per year and that average employers offer 9 paid holidays annually. Here are the paid holidays that I recommend:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • 4th of July
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
  • 3 Floating Holidays (for any use such as Good Friday, Christmas Eve, the day after Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, etc.).

If you can’t swing that, then try for something like paid time off for volunteering.

4. Food and Beverages

This is one of the easiest things you can do to make your office a better place to work, so think about things like having an office coffee and beverage program, providing snacks (like this one), or doing something like a team lunch provided by the office on Fridays.

5. Health and Wellness

This is also an extremely popular area for perks, so consider getting an office gym membership, bringing in masseuses for in-office chair massages, or even offering wellness classes or lunch and learns.

At the very least…

OK, so maybe the in-office chair massages are outside of your budget for now. But at the very least, you should consider adding something to your perks to stay ahead. Some of the perks I listed above are very low cost and provide a huge return on investment. For instance, flexible hours and telecommuting.

Remember, when you’re treading water in a pool of sharks, your total compensation can make a great bite proof cage — that is to say, you’ll find it much easier to attract, recruit and retain your workforce when your total compensation is elevated. So take a look at your current compensation, benefits, and perks, and see what you can do!

Talent is one of the biggest predictors of your business or team’s success. But in the increasingly competitive labor market, it’s becoming harder and harder to attract and retain top performers. This whole setup sends a lot of small businesses into a tailspin. After all, when you’re small, how can you possibly create a compensation, benefits, or perks package that can compete with the bigger companies, so why even try?


Love practical tips for creating an exceptional business? We’ve got loads more in The Exceptional Workplace! We help small business leaders (CEO, Owners, HR, Controllers) cultivate exceptional workplaces through strong HR and people practices. Learn more here.

Amy McGeachy, PHR is an HR Consultant specializing in cultivating exceptional workplaces for her clients who are mostly small + medium businesses. Amy is the founder of The Exceptional Workplace which provides premium HR and people practices content for small business leaders. She is a certified HR Professional (PHR) through the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a Certified Coach through the Coach Training Alliance (CTA) and a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Amy works with businesses in the areas of training, recruitment, employee relations, and strategic HR.