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What Are the Best Benefits to Offer Employees?

Alex Sanders
What Are the Best Benefits to Offer Employees?

If you want to attract and retain better talent in your small business, it's a good idea to offer benefits and extra incentives to your employees. But what are the best benefits to offer? What are modern employees really looking for?

The Best Benefits and Perks to Offer Employees

The most talented employees in the market are looking for benefits like these:

  • Health insurance. Most people love the idea of having an affordable health insurance policy through their employer. Healthcare and medical expenses have grown to be exorbitant, and purchasing health insurance as an individual is painfully expensive. Offering group health insurance enables everyone to save money and have convenient insurance in place (though it does take some time to shop around for the best plan). If you own a small business, you may falsely assume that health insurance is too expensive or too complicated to deal with – but small group health insurance coverage could be a perfect fit for your organization. If you can't afford health insurance, or if you don't want to offer it for some other reason, you can offer alternative health related perks like health savings accounts (HSAs) or reimbursement plans.
  • Paid time off (PTO). Most full-time jobs provide paid time off (PTO) to their employees, giving them the freedom to take time off for illness, mental health, vacations, or whatever else they want. The more time off you offer, the more attractive the role is going to be; many modern employers increase PTO with experience, giving their most loyal employees increasing time off every year.
  • Remote and hybrid work. Remote work has become mostly normalized, with more people than ever working in remote and hybrid environments. Even if you require your employees to be in the office most of the time, giving occasional flexibility to work from home can be a valuable benefit.
  • Flexible scheduling. In most industries, the traditional 9 to 5 isn't as important as it used to be. That means you can offer employees the benefits of flexible scheduling, granting them leniency to take care of personal responsibilities or work on their own schedule at least occasionally.
  • Flexible responsibilities. You can also give employees more flexible responsibilities. For example, Google famously allowed its employees to dedicate 20 percent of their time (i.e., 1 day a week) to side projects of personal interest. When people have more autonomy over their own work, they tend to be more creative and more productive – not to mention happier.
  • Training and education. Most employees are looking to constantly develop themselves, gaining new knowledge and learning new skills so that they can earn more money and have more career options. Any benefits you offer around training, education, or even coaching are likely to be highly appreciated. This includes tuition reimbursement.
  • Mental health services. Even if you're working for a great employer, a demanding job can be stressful. That's why so many employees appreciate having onsite mental health services available.
  • Childcare assistance. For the parents and caregivers on your staff, childcare assistance is a benefit that's hard to beat. Depending on the nature of your organization, that could mean offering onsite childcare services, reimbursement for daycare, or something similar.
  • Employee appreciation programs. Employee recognition/appreciation programs come in many forms – so you’ll have significant flexibility in what you offer your employees and how you offer it. The point is, you can make your jobs much more attractive by proactively rewarding and recognizing employees who do their jobs well. Even the simplest programs, which give small bonuses and awards to employees who go above and beyond their expected duties, can boost morale and employee retention. More sophisticated programs, with progression tracks and lucrative rewards for top performers, can have an even bigger impact.
  • Recreational activities. Having fun with recreational activities is a great way to destress, build bonds with peers, and yes, show employees how appreciated they are. Depending on your budget and organizational culture, this could mean anything from setting up a billiards table in the break room to having occasional adventures with the team, like kayaking together or breaking out of an escape room.
  • Snacks and drinks. The simple stuff can make a difference too. If your employees congregate in a physical office or coworking space, load them up with snacks and drinks.

Weighing the Costs and Benefits

No matter what, it's important to understand that every benefit or perk you offer your employees is going to be associated with costs and benefits. It's going to take you time to set up any new program, and it's going to cost you money to keep that program running. Almost every benefit or perk you offer is going to have some value to your recruits and employees, but the benefits are going to vary depending on the types of people you hire, the culture of your organization, and what other bonuses and perks are available.

It's up to you to crunch the numbers, and evaluate the objective value of your offerings, to put together the right plans.

With better perks and benefits, it's easy for any business to attract better talent, improve morale and productivity, and make employee retention much more consistent. In today's competitive global marketplace, it's more important than ever to differentiate your business with the most attractive benefits you can afford.

Alex Sanders
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