When job seekers are looking for a new position, you might think the most attractive feature about a new position would be a higher salary. However, studies show this isn't always the case.
Our 2022 Employee Benefits Survey Report found that if an organization had an extra $200 to give each employee per month, 42% of employees would rather have a new employee benefit than a wage increase.
Employee benefits are any form of indirect compensation paid to employees over and above regular salaries or wages. This can include health insurance, retirement benefits, and paid time off, for example.
Employee benefits come in many forms and are an essential part of the overall compensation package offered to employees—especially for small and medium-sized organizations that oftentimes can't afford to offer higher salaries.
This article will outline common examples of small business employee benefits that business owners should work into their employee benefits package to better attract and retain top talent.
Employee benefit examples
If it's your first time offering employee benefits, offering the perks your employees want is vital. While ping pong tables and bean bag chairs are fun, they may not be the kind of things your employees care about most.
According to our 2022 Employee Benefits Survey Report, the most popular employee benefits are:
- Health insurance
- Paid time off (PTO)
- Retirement plan benefits
- Flexible work schedule
- Dental insurance
- Vision insurance
- Life insurance
- Paid family leave
- Mental health benefits
- Professional development and education benefits
- Disability insurance
Other popular benefits you can offer your employees include pet insurance, tuition assistance, financial wellness programs, and daycare services.
Part two of our Benefits Survey Report found that the types of benefits your employees value vary by age, gender, and work location (such as remote work). It's important to keep these differences in mind as you develop your benefit plans.
Example of employee benefits structures
Once you know 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 plan
- A retirement pension or retirement savings plan like a 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 medical expense reimbursement plan (MERP), such as a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA)
- A health savings account (HSA)
- Employee stipends for fringe benefits like wellness expenses or education
Personalized consumer-oriented benefits
In recent years, personalized benefits have become increasingly popular options for offering employees a wide array of perks. Every worker is different and has unique wants and needs. Instead of offering traditional one-size-fits-all benefits, your employees are empowered to use their monthly allowances on the things that matter most to them. This makes them highly attractive benefits to both job applicants and current employees.
Personalized health benefits
While health insurance is traditionally offered as an organizational-oriented benefit, more employers are putting healthcare decisions back into the hands of their employees by offering HRAs.
Through an HRA, you can reimburse your employees for their individual health insurance premiums and over 200 qualifying medical expenses with pre-tax dollars.
Three of the most popular types of HRAs are:
- The qualified small employer HRA (QSEHRA)
- The individual coverage HRA (ICHRA)
- The group coverage HRA (GCHRA), also known as an integrated HRA
If you want to create attractive benefits packages that appeal to highly skilled workers and retain current employees, you need to offer a wide range of benefit offerings. A comprehensive benefits package chocked full of traditional benefits and wellness programs can be costly. Thankfully, there's an easier way to offer different kinds of employee benefits.
With employee stipends, you can give your workers a monthly allowance to cover the costs of expenses such as remote work, gym memberships, tuition, and other perks. With PeopleKeep, you can create custom perks for any expense categories you'd like, such as health or wellness, or offer one allowance for all eligible expenses.
For example, let's say you decide to offer eligible employees a $400 monthly allowance for health, wellness, and lifestyle expenses. Your employees can decide how they want to split their allowance. They could decide to get reimbursed for personal gym memberships, therapy, a spa day, or any other expenses that you allow under your benefits plan.
This empowers your employees to use their monthly allowance on what matters most to them while you retain complete cost control.
While most reimbursements with a stipend will be considered taxable income, some fringe benefits, such as tuition reimbursement, are tax-free. You'll want to consult with a tax professional to determine your tax liability based on the benefits you choose to offer.
While organizational-oriented benefits are more traditional structures for benefits, many small employers are finding personalized, consumer-oriented benefits are of greater value to employees, are typically more flexible, and are 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.
If you're ready to offer personalized benefits to your staff, PeopleKeep can help. Our benefits administration software makes it easy to set up and manage HRAs and employee stipends in just minutes each month.
This post was originally published on November 8, 2018. It was last updated on October 20, 2022.