Treat them like family

Rob is starting his own business. He asks Dave if it's better to give team members more money or more benefits.

QUESTION: Rob is starting his own business. He asks Dave if it’s better to give team members more money or more benefits, and how to balance the two.

ANSWER: When you’re brand new and your business is small, you don’t have a lot of choices. Benefits are expensive – ridiculously expensive.

Let’s use health insurance as an example. If you have less than 10 people on your team, they can buy health insurance for themselves more cheaply than you can buy it for them. In cases like that, I’d rather just give them more money, and let them do whatever they want with it. Or, there’s always the chance they could get insurance through a spouse’s workplace.

It’s very difficult to offer benefits to a small team. However, you can give them other benefits that aren’t traditional corporate-type benefits. This can include treating them family, being there when a baby is born, or attending the funeral of a family member.

In other words, you can treat them like human beings. Most people aren’t treated that way in corporate America.