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Why Uber and Lyft Have Cracked the Code on Employee Benefits

Written by: PeopleKeep Team
April 24, 2015 at 3:00 PM

If you haven’t noticed, companies like Uber and Lyft are sort of the “it” thing right now. Why? Because these companies have an amazing understanding of the evolution of the business world. They evolve the way we think about traditional taxis and pick-up services by connecting drivers through apps with everyday people.

With companies like Uber and Lyft who have exploded with popularity in the past couple of years, how, you may wonder, are they keeping up with consumer demand? Two words: employee benefits.

In this article, we’ll talk about how you, like Uber and Lyft, can make employee benefits a driving force in your small business’s ability to expand.

Employee Acquisition Costs

First of all, let’s talk about what Uber and Lyft are doing right now that’s working so well for them. Recently, Lyft offered a $1,000 bonus to both the referrer and the referee to get new drivers to try Lyft just one time.

This large amount of money being poured into acquiring new referral drivers seems crazy to many business owners and entrepreneurs, but to Lyft, it makes sense. How so? It’s an employee benefit for them. Furthermore, it’s simply an employee acquisition cost. Lyft happens to be putting a lot of dough into their acquisition because they’re 100 percent confident that once someone tries it, they’ll love it.

To give you an idea of how much companies spend to acquire new employees, for just one day, Uber spent $7,225 on Craigslist job postings and an annual amount of $2,637,125. Lyft, not far behind, spent $4,650 and $1,697,250 on daily and annual Craigslist job postings, respectively, according to Zen99.com. Crazy? Some may think so. But to Uber and Lyft, it’s worth the cost.

Employee Benefits and Employee Acquisition

It’s no secret that the $1,000 bonuses Lyft so freely gave out to referrers and referees are a huge employee benefit. So, what can you take away from this? How can you put into practice what Lyft is doing in your own small business?

Chances are, you don’t have $1,000 to hand out to your employees. But, you know your budget -- If you can spare a couple hundred dollars to put towards employee referrals, do so. Why? Like Lyft, if you’re 100 percent confident in your product or service, all you need to do is get people to try it out.

And while you probably don’t own a company like Lyft or Uber, you can find ways their example directly applies. For instance, if you own a car detailing business and you know your services are highly regarded, get your employees to refer potential employees to your business. Bring them in, clean their car for free, and show them that you’re the best. It’s a similar concept to Lyft -- on a smaller, less expensive scale.

Why Employee Benefits Enhance Your Ability to Recruit

When it comes down to it, employee benefits ARE your ability to recruit and acquire the top talent you need. Of course, the benefit of employee referral money or giving away a free service to show a potential candidate that your product or service is amazing is just one way. Many small businesses use their health benefits and perks to recruit new employees.

If your small business is looking for new ways to recruit, consider these employee benefits ideas:

Healthcare: Did you know that 61% of employees who said they are “very satisfied” with their company were satisfied because of the health benefits? Having said that, you have a choice to offer employees group health insurance or a premium reimbursement for individual health insurance.

Fully-stocked kitchen: Though not a super common benefit, employees love being able to come to work and eat breakfast or lunch for free. It saves them a lot of money every month, and keeps them happy and healthy -- provided you’re purchasing healthy food.

Company outings: What better way is there to unite a company than to go out together and do things? Companies that hold get togethers or outings typically have the goal to build morale and camaraderie between employees and their families in order to establish deeper roots in the company.

Related: The 7 Best Employee Benefits in 2015


Companies like Lyft and Uber have it figured out. They know that spending money now on employee acquisition (recruiting) will pay off in the future. How? They’re confident in their service. They know that once someone tries it, they’re very likely to want to become a part of their company. Your small business can do exactly what Lyft and Uber are doing, too. As you grasp the concept that employee benefits like referral bonuses, health benefits, and company outings all lead to higher-quality employees, you’ll easily begin to see why Lyft and Uber’s ideas aren’t crazy -- they’re brilliant.  

What ways do you think employee benefits are advantageous to your small business? Share with us below!

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