In today's relatively strong job market, attracting talent can be challenging for small and large businesses alike. After all, the more opportunities candidates are presented with, the harder it'll be to entice them to accept a job at your company.
Of course, offering a competitive salary and a solid benefits package is a good way to get applicants interested in working for you. But if you really want to give yourself an edge, you should also offer some less-common benefits -- ones that prospective hires might truly value. Here are a few to consider.
1. Paid time off to volunteer
You probably know that you need to offer your employees some amount of paid time off. That's common practice. But if you're eager to take it a step further, try offering your workers paid time off to volunteer for their favorite causes. Not only will this help you build some goodwill internally, but it'll also show prospective employees that your company values the idea of charity.
2. Charitable contribution matches
Many companies are willing to match their workers' 401(k) plan contributions. But that's not the only type of match your employees will appreciate. If you institute a program to match charitable contributions, you'll make it easier for your workers to support the causes they're passionate about. Along these lines, you can also offer a program to contribute a certain dollar amount to a registered charity once employees put in a certain number of volunteer hours for it per year. For example, you might agree to donate $1,000 to a local soup kitchen once a worker of yours puts in 20 volunteer hours over a 12-month period.
Americans are known to work hard and not quit until they retire, so if you offer your employees a built-in break, it'll certainly motivate them to work for you. Most companies don't offer sabbaticals, but if you're willing to be the exception, it's a good way to get more applicants at your door. Furthermore, while the traditional sabbatical involves a one-year period of paid leave per seven years spent on the job, you don't have to stick to that exact setup. You can, for example, offer six months of paid leave per 10 years on the job if that's more affordable for your company. The point is to give your workers an extended break to look forward to.
4. A pet-friendly office
Many workers have a hard time leaving their pets at home, and often they have no choice but to pay a premium for animal care during the day. But if you're willing to welcome pets into your office, you'll ease the burden and heartache for the employees who own them. Of course, you'll need to establish certain guidelines before allowing pets into your workplace -- namely, that they be trained, well behaved, and nondisruptive. You'll also have to make sure none of your workers have pet allergies. But if you're willing to let workers bring their pets to the office, you'll no doubt widen your applicant pool.
5. Backup child care
Child care is not only an expensive prospect for workers, but also an unpredictable one. All it takes is for a nanny to call in sick, and any employee could suddenly be left in the lurch. Similarly, parents who use public school as child care are often thwarted by random half-days or days off. That's why offering backup child care is a great benefit to entice workers with kids. If you have the space and finances to offer an on-site day care center of sorts, it'll eliminate one major source of stress for parents. And it might help some of your most valued employees avoid downtime.
Attracting talent in a competitive job market often boils down to being creative. Consider implementing some or all of these lesser-known benefits, and chances are you'll have an easier time getting solid candidates to come work for you.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.