Retain employees without breaking the bank

Dr. Albert Dufur

Dr. Albert Dufur

As unemployment rates continue to fall in northern Nevada and elsewhere, attracting and retaining talent is on every employer’s mind. Our area is expected to continue to grow as are the businesses within our community, which translates to a need for more talent.

In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, more than 60 percent of the respondents cited their employee benefits package as a primary reason they stay with their current employers. This means that the quality of health and benefit packages needs to be taken into account by employers when planning and budgeting for 2016.

When you consider the kind of benefits leaders like Google and Apple offer employees, this can be an expensive and daunting proposition. But there are ways employers can expand on what they offer to employees without incurring major new expenses.

One way to offer more is to approach local businesses about employee discount plans. Depending on the number of employees you have, they may be willing to issue discount cards to your staff. This saves your employees money while using the product or service and costs you and your employees nothing. Some ideas would be restaurants, gyms, dry cleaners, event venues, creating credit union memberships and so on.

To take it a step further, take a close look at your health plan and any gaps in coverage that may cost your employees. Are there medical practices you could approach to implement employee discount plans? For example, let’s say you offer a comprehensive health plan that does not cover vision or dental. Talk to a local practice that would be willing to issue your employees and their dependents cards offering discounts on materials or services. These programs cost you and your employees nothing and the practices are typically accommodating because it is mutually beneficial, bringing them patients as well.

Another possible source for employee benefits could be your suppliers. Depending on the nature of your business, would your employees be interested in products from your suppliers? They may be willing and able to extend discounts to your employees for personal use as well as your company based on your volume.

Ask your employees what interests them or what they want to know more about. Bring in relevant training or invite people to present informative content about what is going on in your community. This may or may not cost you money, but it is worth the employee engagement and possible additions to their skill sets that benefit you both.

If you have employees who work more than 40 hours per week, it may be hard for them to complete routine errands. So consider bringing some services to them to help reach the work life balance that everyone wants. Contact a local mechanic or auto shop and see if they would come to your parking lot to offer on site oil changes or detailing. Or engage a laundry service that would pick up and deliver to and from the office. These are just two of many examples, but saving your employees time will be of great benefit to them.

In an environment that is increasingly competitive for employers, every gesture counts. Budget for what you can do financially in terms of health benefits and retirement plans, but also take it further by also considering what else you can do that does not hit your bottom line. Look at the needs and challenges of your employees and see if there are services or discount programs from local businesses that would help you and benefit them as well. And, don’t be shy about asking. Talk to your employees or issue a survey to assess their priorities and what you may be able to do. You may not be able to launch an on site daycare or implement a yoga studio on site, but there are things certainly things that are feasible. Any gesture will go a long way.

Dr. Albert Dufur is an optometrist and owner of South Meadows Vision Source in Reno. Dr. Dufur has been practicing for more than 18 years and has extensive experience. For more information call 775-323-4391 or visit


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