A simple guide to employee benefits for small businesses


As businesses compete to attract and retain the most talented staff, offering employees certain benefits is a means to achieving this.

Small businesses have a limited budget and therefore cannot offer extravagant employee benefits such as medicare options. However, not offering any benefits makes it harder to recruit or retain staff.

Luckily, there are benefits and perks that small businesses can offer employees without over-stretching their budget. Some of them include health care, dental care and child care, while perks include free meals, gym memberships and flexible working hours.

This guide will explore the importance of providing employees with benefits, and also give you examples of those that a small business can manage to offer its employees.

Importance of employee benefits and perks

Giving your employees benefits shows them that you are invested in their overall wellbeing and future. Benefits such as medical care or OTC benefits provider can increase business productivity because employees will spend quality time at work and not at the hospital. Other advantages include:

Attracting talent

Offering recruits more than a salary will attract them to your business. Take note that people send applications to more than one company, and the one with the best benefits ends up winning.

Retaining talent

Attracting and retaining employees go hand in hand. Career progression, bonuses and pension contributions play a part in retaining them too.

Boosting morale

Some employee perks such as free food, flexible working hours and gym memberships are morale boosters.

Examples of employee benefits and perks for small businesses

Apart from the guaranteed benefits in the UK such as a pension, sick leave and annual leave, there are other benefits you can offer your employees to make your business stand out from its competitors and retain employees.

Employee benefits

The type of employee benefits you offer depend on the budget and size of your business. For small businesses, a few good examples include the following:

Life insurance

Employee or group life insurance will pay out a certain amount of money to employees who pass away while still working for you, even if the death did not happen in the workplace. The payout is designed to provide financial support to the loved ones left behind to pay off any mortgage, funeral costs and take care of other needs.

You can also choose to take out other forms of life plans that cater for even more specific areas, including key person policy and income protection. For the latter, be sure to check out this income protection calculator to estimate how much your business can afford to pay for the policy.

Health insurance

A health insurance policy enables employees to receive medical treatment privately. This reduces employee absenteeism as your workers can schedule appointments when they want, and bypass the waiting lists at the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

Optical insurance

Computer use is on the increase in most workplaces. This might lead to eye strain, headaches and other eye problems that can affect employee productivity. You can support their eye health by setting up an optical insurance cover for them to have regular eye checks.

Dental Insurance

Tooth decay and other tooth complications can reduce employee productivity due to hours spent off work. Show your concern for employees by putting up a dental cover for them. Your employees will value it.

Long-term disability insurance

With this kind of insurance, your employees will receive a portion of their income while absent from work due to injuries sustained while on or off the job. A long-term disability insurance policy can cover your employees from 2 – 10 years or until they reach a certain age.

Employee perks

Perks may not be as valuable to employees as benefits, but they have a role in keeping employee morale high, which ultimately boosts their productivity. In short, they reduce dullness in the workplace.

There are companies that now offer online databases for work benefits. Your company can sign up to gain access to a variety of perks for your employees.

Some examples of employee perks include:

  • Free snacks and drinks
  • “Bring-your-pet-to-work” day
  • Flexible working hours
  • Entertainment passes
  • Employee retreats
  • Shopping discounts and vouchers
  • Gym memberships


Today, employee attraction and retention are some of the biggest areas of concern for anyone in the business world. Employees will naturally gravitate towards businesses that offer employee benefits.

If you own a small business, we cannot emphasise just how important it is to offer some form of benefits if you are to attract and retain the best employees.

While it is mandatory in the UK for employers to give employees benefits such as a pension, sick leave, and maternal leave benefits, you can offer additional benefits such as health, dental, optical and life insurance to make your business stand out.

You might also want to include perks like retreats, snacks, drinks and shopping vouchers to boost employee morale.

With these in place, attracting and retaining employees will be a thing of the past. What benefits are you offering your employees? Let us know in the comments below.