What Are The Best Employee Benefits Small Businesses Can Offer?

Jeff White
Jeff White8 Oct 2021

The best employee perks for small businesses are typically creative because you don’t have the same money to throw around as larger corporations. Instead, it’s important to appeal to the emotional or non-financial desires of your employees. This means giving extra time off, providing local perks, or offering affordable health coverage. In this article, we will share the 10 best employee perks that could help you attract and retain top talent. 

10 Best Employee Benefits Small Businesses Can Offer

1. Vacation or Time Off

A great perk that anyone can offer employees is more vacation time or paid time off than other businesses. There is a cost to this because you’ll be paying people not to work, but employees are all about balance in their lives right now, and this is one of the best perks you can offer. Very few people aren’t motivated by paid time off that they actually feel like they can take. 

This is a perk that can be enjoyed by both full-time and part-time employees. Many businesses either don’t offer enough paid time off, or they don’t provide a culture that encourages the use of it. In fact, only 10% of employees are receiving at least 20 days off per year after one year of service and unused time costs businesses over $200 billion per year. 

When employees get time off, they are more energized at work, healthier overall, and productivity actually increases. If you can afford to cover the time off at your business, then this is probably the first perk you should think about offering or increasing. 

2. Employee Discounts & Rewards

Something that often doesn’t cost much is providing little rewards to high performers, recognizing them in front of their peers. You can also partner with local businesses to offer employee discounts to everyone that works for you. Many businesses are more than welcoming of the idea of a flow of new customers, even if they have to provide a discount to get them. In fact, many have this factored into their marketing budget. 

Everyone loves being recognized for their hard work, and most people love free stuff. This is a great way to show your employees that you care without breaking the bank or making a drastic change to how you operate. 

3. Start a Wellness Program

Many employees feel unhealthy because of the amount of time they spend at work. Creating a wellness program could go a long way to helping your employees be healthier, feel better about themselves, and be more productive when working. 

A wellness program is designed to help employees with their fitness, diet and be more aware of their overall health. Wellness doesn’t have to be the same in every business, and in fact, a strong program will likely be very tailored to where your team works and the type of work they do every week. For example, a team in an office might organize walks or a team to run a 5K race together.

A good wellness program can be started with very little financial commitment and is more about the consistency of information and activity that gets the team to be more active together. This not only can help your employees be healthier, but it can foster teamwork and cohesion amongst your workers. 

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4. Healthcare

One of the most traditional employee perks is for their place of employment to offer health insurance. This can be very expensive for the employer, who ends up paying at least 60% of the total health costs for their employees and their families, in most cases. Health coverage is important for your employees to have, however, because unhealthy employees are more costly to you when they aren’t showing up to work, or they are spreading illness to other employees. 

An alternative to traditional health insurance is a membership plan where employees can access basic healthcare needs without the huge costs to you. Mira is a good example of how you can get your employees to access urgent care visits, essential lab testing, and up to 80% savings on prescriptions. Mira also provides access to virtual primary care and tele-behavioral health. You can help your employees get all of this for as little as $25 per month per employee. Take this quiz and see if Mira is right for your business.

5. Employee Appreciation Programs

Most employees love to be recognized for their dedication and hard work. Putting together even a simple, cost-effective employee appreciation program can go a long way to helping your employees feel more appreciated at work. This can often lead to more productive workers,  happier employees, and customers that are well taken care of. 

Your employee appreciation program can literally be anything you want it to be, but you should tailor it to your business. Find some awards you can give out that play into your brand or the industry you’re a part of. As you continue to recognize your employees, you’ll likely be surprised at how many of them start to work harder to earn these awards. You could give a financial bonus, gift cards, or some sought-after prize to some of the awards to make it even better for your team. 

6. Retirement Benefits

Many people don’t have any savings for retirement. Offering a mechanism for your employees to contribute to a 401(k) or another retirement plan can help them get this started. While matching 1-3% might be considered “standard” by many businesses, if that’s too expensive, just providing the vehicle for them to invest in could be important. Most people won’t take the initiative to open their own retirement account without a push from their employer. 

7. Gym Memberships or Reimbursements

Another way to help your employees be more healthy is by encouraging them to go to the gym. Providing a gym membership for every employee, or reimbursing up to a certain amount of a gym membership they already have, is a great way to do this. The gym can help your team blow off some stress while helping them maintain a healthy weight and energy level. 

Many employees look for this perk when deciding between job offers, but this is also a great way to attract part-time employees. Any benefit like this that your employees find valuable and that you think is affordable to the business could be a huge difference-maker in attracting and keeping top talent for the long haul. 

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8. Tuition Reimbursement

A popular employee perk that might be too expensive for smaller businesses is to offer tuition reimbursement. Student debt is a huge problem for people all across the country right now, and having any help at all with this burden will likely be seen as a huge benefit. Tuition reimbursement has a financial impact on the employee and is a very emotional benefit that helps people feel seen and valued. 

If you’re going to offer tuition reimbursement, it’s important not to offer this to everyone at the business. This isn’t a part-time employee perk, and it also should only be offered to employees you think can bring a great deal of value to the business. This means it should be offered to employees who will stay with the business for at least a year or more after they receive the benefit or before they qualify for it. 

9. Stock Options or Equity

A great way to get employees to feel valued and help them work harder for the business is to give them an ownership interest. If employees feel like they own a small piece of the business, then they will likely treat the customers like they own part of it. This means better customer service and less financial waste in most businesses that offer this perk. This is also a great way to attract talent away from other businesses that are too greedy to give up any ownership stake, no matter how small. 

10. Mental Health Days

One thing that is getting a lot more attention and recognition lately is the need for everyone to put their mental health above other stressful activities, even work. If someone is struggling with their mental health, they are less likely to be a functioning member of the team, and they likely aren’t going to be very productive for your business. 

Offering mental health days or activities that promote mental health is a great way to get recognition for putting your employees’ mental health first while giving them something they both want and need. This is a trending employee perk that many people, especially the younger generations, value more than money. 

Bottom Line

The best employee perks will depend on several factors, such as what type of business and workers you have. Additionally, it would be best to figure out what your employees value to know how to serve those needs best. We’ve provided 10 of the most popular employee perks out there today, but your list should be unique to your business. 

Hopefully, these ideas are a great place to start as you actively work with your employees to provide the right perks that will attract and keep top talent and make your employees feel more valued. 

Jeff White

Before joining Mira, Jeff was the Vice President of Marketing at Clipboard Health, a healthcare staffing tech company, where he led marketing and acquisition. At Clipboard, Jeff was able to help the company achieve 12 straight months of top-of-funnel growth and 10 straight months of revenue growth. Prior to Clipboard Health, Jeff was General Manager at, an online publication dedicated to helping small business owners. He has been featured in publications such as The Week, Forbes, USNews, CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, The Street, Investopedia, Cosmopolitan, and more.