When people are looking for a new job, you’d think the most attractive feature about a new position would be a higher salary, but studies show this isn’t always the case. A survey by Glassdoor found that 4 out of 5 employees would rather have new or additional benefits than a pay raise.
Employee benefits are any form of compensation paid to employees over and above regular salary or wages. This can include health insurance, retirement benefits, and paid time off.
Employee benefits come in many forms and are an important part of the overall compensation package offered to employees—especially for small and medium size business owners who oftentimes can’t afford to offer higher range salaries.
In this article, we’ll outline common examples of small business employee benefits that you should work into your employee benefits package to better recruit new talent and retain your current employees.
Employee benefit examples
If it’s your first time offering employee benefits, it’s important to offer the kind of things your employees want. While ping pong tables and bean bags chairs are fun, they may not be the kind of things your employees care about most.
Here is a list of popular employee benefits in the United States:
- Health insurance
- Paid time off (PTO) such as sick days and vacation days
- Flexible and remote working options
- Life insurance
- Short-term disability
- Long-term disability
- Retirement benefits or accounts
- Financial planning resources
- Professional development
- Fitness or healthy lifestyle incentives
- Employee assistance programs (mental and emotional wellbeing)
- Identity theft protection
- Childcare benefits
- Student loan repayment benefits
- Home office improvement incentives for remote workers
- Sign-on bonuses
Example of employee benefits structures
Once you have an idea of the kind of employee benefits you’d like to offer, you’re ready to decide how you want to structure them.
In general, employers have two different ways to structure, contribute, and offer employee benefits:
- Organizational-oriented benefits
- Consumer-oriented benefits
Depending on the type of benefits you’re hoping to offer, you can offer all organizational-oriented benefits, all consumer-oriented, or a mix of both. Let’s go over each in more detail.
Organizational-oriented benefits are the kind of benefits that are employer-owned and employer-selected. You offer your employees a specific or defined benefit of your choosing, and employees simply choose whether they want to opt in or out. Employees don’t get any choice in the type of plan or benefit.
Examples of organizational-oriented benefits include:
- A traditional group health insurance policy
- A retirement pension or 401(k)
- A formal wellness program
Consumer-oriented benefits are the kind of benefits that are employer-funded, but employee-selected. Here, you’ll offer employees a set dollar amount to spend on their own, allowing them to customize their benefits to what they want and need. This empowers employees to make their own healthcare decisions that make sense for them and their families.
Examples of consumer-oriented benefits include:
- A reimbursement plan like a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA)
- A health savings account (HSA)
- Allowances for wellness activities
While health insurance is traditionally offered as an organizational-oriented benefit, more and more employers are putting healthcare decisions back into the hands of their employees by offering HRAs.
Through an HRA, you can reimburse your employees, tax-free, for their individual health insurance premiums and over 200 qualifying medical expenses.
While organizational-oriented benefits are more traditional structures for benefits, many small employers are finding consumer-oriented benefits are of equally high value to employees, are typically more flexible, and also more affordable. By building out your employee benefits package with the popular benefits listed in this article, you’ll be well on your way to recruiting and retaining your best employees.
This post was originally published on November 8, 2018. It was last updated on September 9, 2021.