Tuesday of this week was my birthday. I marked it by taking a day out of the office. Every employee who works for Benefex is given their birthday as an additional day off – it’s not taken from their annual leave allowance, it’s an additional day on top of that. We do it because we don’t believe anyone should have to work on their birthday (unless they want to!).

As the war for talent rages fiercer than ever, and companies obsess over providing a first class employee experience, organisations seek to find new and innovative ways to stand out. One such way is in the form of perks given to employees. Whether it’s Facebook’s free housing for interns, or Airbnb’s free holidays for staff, employee perks can make up a substantial chunk of an organisation’s costs. And, some would argue, rightly so, if it enables you to attract and retain the very best talent.

Talent attraction

For smaller organisations, such perks – and their associated costs – might feel completely out of reach. Businesses without the deep pockets of the likes of Facebook may likely feel that they’re never going to be able to compete on such a playing field.

But it’s not all about the huge, grand gestures. And here’s why.

An additional day off for my birthday might not sound like all that. I mean, sure, it’s nice… but it’s just a day off work. It can hardly compete with a free holiday as per the likes of Airbnb. Can it?

Time for me

Anyone who has parenting or other caring responsibilities will know the challenge of juggling work and home life. Almost all of my annual leave entitlement is used to cover school holidays, provide childcare, and make the occasional Sports Day or Nativity play. There is very rarely the luxury of taking a day off, just for me.

But with Benefex providing me with my birthday off, and the children both at school, all of a sudden I found myself with just that. I called my dad and asked him if he fancied spending my birthday with me. I can’t remember the last time we had a day together, just the two of us. We walked fourteen miles by the sea in the sunshine, talking non-stop about anything and everything. It was wonderful.

An experience money can’t buy

An experience like that is something that money can’t buy. And so, for those smaller organisations out there, or for those wanting to do more for less… why not talk to your people about what matters to them. Because you might be surprised. Sometimes it’s the little things… that really can make the biggest difference.