3 Really Cool Services Your Employees Will Love

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Some were disappointed that Friday’s unemployment report didn’t show stronger job growth. They say that the U.S. economy is not growing and not generating as many jobs as it should. Others question the relevance of the data as it doesn’t include, for example, those who are no longer looking for work. But one thing is for sure: compared to just a few years ago, the job market is tighter. I know this and my clients know this. We are finding it more difficult to attract good people and we’re constantly looking for ways to keep our best employees happy, productive…and working for us. This is no longer a buyer’s market. People have more choices and are looking to work for the companies that offer the best compensation and benefits.

The good news for employers is that there are great new tools that your employees will love. And in turn, these tools will help even small companies like mine keep our people happy. Let me recommend three great services that you should be considering.

Glint. Emerging from stealth-mode with a $15.5 million round of financing in February, Glint is offering a new and better way to engage employees using an old idea: surveys. No, this is not a glorified Survey Monkey. It’s a cloud-based engagement tool where employees are consistently asked to respond to questions delivered as “pulses” on topics from whether they’re receiving the right amount of feedback to open ended suggestions for making the company better. Everyone gets to be heard, gets to make an impact, gets to provide feedback. No one is sitting down and being asked to fill out forms – the questions are delivered on demand and to whatever device the employee is using. Confidential (or anonymous) and secure feedback is then provided using the product’s dashboard and analytics tools so that management can instantly be aware of issues and gauge satisfaction. Management can even get alerts if employees’ responses warrant immediate attention. Glint is offered as an annual subscription and priced based on the number of employees in your company.

AnyPerk. Want to offer a benefits package like the big guys? Want to give your employees access to discounts for gym time, Budget rental cars, Beats by Dre or AMC movie tickets? Since 2012, San Francisco’s AnyPerk has cobbled together more than 850 partners to offer discounts, programs and other goodies to the employees of companies that subscribe to its service. And your employees will love this. Employers can recognize employee achievement by sending them additional rewards through a special portal and can get real time analytics on usage and engagement. The company has raised more than $13 million to date “…as a simple and affordable way for companies of any size to delight their employees with perks that improve their everyday lives” according to Taro Fukuyama, the company’s CEO. Pricing can be requested directly from the company.

Honest Dollar. No one loves paying taxes and as a Certified Public Accountant, tax issues are near and dear to my heart. And let’s face it: the past few years have not exactly been a period of decreasing taxes. But one beacon of light remains in a very dark tax environment: tax deferred benefits of retirement plans. Tens of millions of people in this country still go without retirement savings and Honest Dollar is trying to change that. The Austin, Tex. company, which recently raised $3 million in funding has created a platform to enable small employers to offer retirement plans to their employees easily and affordably. Focusing primarily on Simple IRAs rather than 401Ks, Honest Dollar’s service (which is still in beta) promises to let you set up a retirement plan for your people for only $10 per person per month, with no setup fees. According to this report from TechCrunch: “The company offers an easy-to-use platform for small businesses to begin offering retirement benefits to their employees. They simply connect their payroll system to the platform, and Honest Dollar extracts the employee information it needs to set up retirement plans for them. Employees also benefit due to significantly lower fees than typical 401(k) plans.” Honest Dollar’s model will give many small businesses a way to compete with larger companies who offer generous retirement plan options and offer a way for employees to save.  They’ll love that too.

The unemployment rate. Labor participation. Job openings. Whatever metric you use there’s still one undeniable fact: the job market has tightened over the past few years. Small businesses are challenged more than ever to find ways to attract good people and keep their best people happy and productive. And startups like the above three services are helping us to do that.

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