Offer Basic Employee Benefits to Your Small Business

Written by: PeopleKeep Team
Originally published on January 15, 2015. Last updated March 22, 2023.

Like it or not, employee benefits are often the crux of your recruiting and retention program. Sure, you haveEmployee-Benefits an awesome product or service, a powerful and growing name, and the leadership skills to woo any prospective employee. But, the fact is, most of that won’t get them to the point of signing an offer if your small business can’t offer them a few of the basic employee benefits. Couple that awesome product or service and your company culture with a few of these benefits, and your small business will be irresistible.

Health Insurance

One of the most important benefits a small business can offer is health insurance. For employees, health insurance is often placed right next to salary in order of importance. Why is that? Because, health insurance is expensive.

These high costs of health insurance can sway a small business owner away from offering health insurance altogether. But, depending on your industry and business, this can be an unwise decision. You, as a small business owner, need to be able to attract and retain that talent that is going to help take your business to the next level. You need someone who you can rely on and who can focus on their area of expertise so that you can focus on the strategy, execution, and vision of your business.

How do you offer a health benefit?

Offer health a health benefit. There are many more affordable options out there than just simply offering group health insurance. We, at Zane Benefits, clearly recommend that small business owners look into a Defined Contribution Plan. Defined Contribution allows you, as the small business owner, to set your costs at what you can afford and not worry about annual increases or breaking the bank by offering your employees a benefit that they’ll love.

Visit this page on Defined Contribution Health Plans for more information.

Dental Insurance

Over the past few years, dental insurance has truly found it’s place in common employee benefit offerings. In fact, according to SHRM, as of 2012 96% of employers now offer dental coverage. This is an increase from previous years showing that while dental insurance is not mandatory, it is a benefit that matters to employees thus being offered by employers. Lucky for you, the small business owner, there are a number of affordable ways to offer dental coverage as an employee benefit.

How do you offer a dental benefit?

There are a number of ways to offer a dental benefit. The most common are nicely laid out by Inc.:

  • Fully-Funded Employee Plans: A company covers 100 percent of its employees’ costs.

  • Partially-Funded Employer Plans: A company pays a share of its employees’ costs, usually in the ballpark of 80 percent. Employees cover the remainder

  • Fully-Funded Employee Plans: Employees pay the entire cost of their dental benefits, while the company absorbs only the costs of administrative costs and payroll deductions.

Keep in mind, if your small business is offering a Defined Contribution Health Plan, the plan is be able to reimburse your employees for their individual dental insurance premiums.

Retirement Savings Plans

Offering a 401(K) (or a similar retirement plan) may be just what you need to stand out from other employers. According to the GAO, only 5 percent of companies in the 1 - 4 range offer any type of retirement plan. Similarly, only 31 percent of companies in the 26-100 range offer a retirement plan. This presents a huge opportunity for those small businesses that can find room to offer such a benefit.

How do you offer a retirement savings benefit?

There are a few different options for Small Businesses to offer. U.S. News has broken down a few good options for small businesses and the pros and cons of each:

  • Simple IRA


  • Solo 401(K)

  • Defined-Benefit Plan

Paid Time Off (PTO)

It wouldn’t be a complete list of “the basics” without PTO, or Paid Time Off. PTO is one of those benefits that are inherent for nearly every job. Generally PTO works like this: employees accrue more PTO (hours) by the amount of time that they have been with the company. This accrual amount is up to the business to decide, but typically employees in the United States will see an average annual allotment of 10 days of paid vacation and 6 paid holidays, according to CBS.

How do you offer a time off benefit?

Ultimately, it is up to you, as the small business owner, to decide how to structure your PTO plan. During the last few years companies have come out with policies such as unlimited PTO, but much of that has been largely discredited for many businesses.

Regardless of the approach you choose, your employees, or prospective employees, will be thrilled to know you are looking after them and offering quality PTO. This kind of benefit is what allows them to recharge and give their best work to your small business. If you are curious how to build a PTO program,  Insperity does a great job walking an owner through the steps.


These basic employee benefits could be the final addition to your company’s employee offerings that could take your business to the next level. The better the benefits, often times, the better the employee. While it’s a harsh reality for small businesses it’s one that has to be dealt with. If your small business is able to grasp and offer just a few of these, you’ll have a much better chance at landing that dream employee. Remember, they all don’t have to come at once. Choose the benefit that you think would be most beneficial for your employees and make a goal to work towards the others.

We have some great resources on recruiting, retention, and company culture that can be a great resource to creating a recruiting and retention program. Take a look, and let us know if you think these benefits and tips will help excel your business to the next level.

What other employee benefits have helped your small business?

The Comprehensive Guide to the Small Business HRA

Originally published on January 15, 2015. Last updated March 22, 2023.


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