Randstad’s Employer Brand Research repeatedly shows that employees value more than just the size of their paycheque, such as non-monetary perks.

Do job seekers want to be paid their worth? Of course, they do, but they’ll also look at employee benefits. 

But above and beyond their salary, here are the top 10 affordable employee benefits you should consider.

They can be the ultimate deciding factor when two companies come close in monetary compensation. 

So, what kind of affordable benefits can you offer? Here are some large and small business employee benefits package ideas. 

Woman sitting on a window sill having a chat with two colleagues.
Woman sitting on a window sill having a chat with two colleagues.

1. flexible work environments.

Flexible work is a huge selling point for many employees and a universally appreciated non-monetary perk.

Give your employees the ability to work from home once a week, flexible lunch hours, an extra day off, or allow staff to set their hours rather than sticking with a standard 9 to 5. 

Flexibility allows everyone to achieve a better work-life balance and increase job satisfaction.

Whether a parent who has to consider daycare arrangements or a young professional who wants to catch an early yoga class after work. A flexible work environment helps with the cost of living as well, allowing employees to save on their commute. 

2. training and development plans.

Ambitious employees are always thinking one step ahead in their careers. Offering a development program in your employee benefits plan shows that your organization cares about employees’ careers and nurturing their talent. 

The level of intensity is up to you. You can go with a more casual monthly lunch and learn sessions to encourage employees to pick up new skills from coworkers.

Alternatively, you can build a more intensive training program to prepare select employees for leadership roles.

Including a training and development plan in your benefits package can increase job satisfaction. 

If you don’t want to offer onsite training, you can provide subsidies for paid off-site educational institutions.

3. acknowledge employee achievements.

It’s one thing for your manager to pull you aside and tell you that you do a great job. It’s another to be recognized by your organization as a high achiever. 

A non-monetary perk ensures that star performers feel special and that their significant achievements are celebrated and rewarded by employees. 

It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or elaborate. Have company leaders send out a handwritten note upon reaching a major milestone. And take a moment to highlight individual and team successes during quarterly meetings. 

4. additional vacation.

We’ve discussed how taking a vacation is good for everyone. Employees get to take a break, and employers reap the benefit of highly productive employees who return to work with their batteries fully charged up!

So, offer paid time off on top of the government-mandated two weeks. If you’re a small business and adding extra official paid vacation isn’t realistic, consider allowing employees to leave early on Fridays or take half days off here or there as needed. 

Half days have been shown to increase job satisfaction and productivity.

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5. schedule time for social events.

Building a work culture and driving employer and employee engagement is as simple as hosting events that unite the team.

For most workdays, employees focus on their ‘to-do’ list and what needs to be done. Socializing is rarely a priority. 

Add some events to the employee calendar — during work hours! — where socialization is the point.

For instance, have a monthly potluck, catered lunch, or theme day where everyone can take a moment away from work to have some fun and bond with the rest of the team.

You can even throw in a little prize to be won, such as a gift card, just as a thank you to your team and a reward for your employees. Socialization can also help boost the mental health of employees.

6. personalize rewards.

Nothing says employee recognition quite like personalized rewards that speak to the employee you’re celebrating. When someone does something extraordinary, recognize their accomplishment with a personalized reward. It's an affordable benefit that will go far in improving employee morale.

A pair of movie passes are the perfect reward for the office movie buff. Tickets to a basketball game might be just the thing for the office sports fanatic. Maybe the office’s tech-obsessed geek will appreciate a new gadget to play with.

Choose a gift card for that employee's favourite cafe or restaurant that they go to every day. It’s the thought that counts when rewarding employees.

7. get out of the office.

Plan time into the work schedule to get out of the office (or wherever your workplace is) and do something outside of regular work commitments.

This can mean setting aside time for out-of-office team lunches or hosting a company-wide team-building event. 

Just make sure that employees are on board with whatever you have planned. Consult with employees about what kind of events they would enjoy.

An employer that forces everyone to attend a ‘mandatory’ team-building event they dread can quickly transform this employee perk into a drag.

8. hand out employee awards.

It’s easy and costs virtually nothing to create monthly or quarterly employee rewards to highlight top performers at your organization or small business.

You can make the awards feel even more tangible by handing out a small trophy or personalized certificate. Who doesn’t feel accomplished when they can decorate their desk and show off their award?

If you want to make the awards even more inclusive, make them peer-nominated so that everyone can have a hand in recognizing the contributions of leaders and employees who help out their colleagues or do something extraordinary.

9. offer volunteer opportunities.

Another great employee benefits plan is to provide opportunities and time off for staff to volunteer.

This can be a nice change of pace for employees who are usually parked behind a desk all day. Taking the day off to volunteer can raise job satisfaction and be rewarding for the employee. 

Of course, there’s also the added health benefits of giving back to the community! Who wouldn’t feel good about that? You can even brand volunteer opportunities as part of your corporate social responsibility policy.

10. allow employees a change of pace.

If your business is large enough, consider offering employees a chance to switch roles or shadow an employee in another area of the office or even another branch.

This affordable employee benefit is also beneficial for you, as employees will gain a deeper understanding of other organizational roles and reinforce cooperation and communication between departments.

Employee rewards are meant to show your appreciation to staff. Tailor the employee benefits you offer to the needs and wants of your employees.

While money can be a strong motivator, people also wish to do many other things in their work lives! Intangible, non-monetary perks and affordable benefits can be just as meaningful and boost employee morale.

Regardless of the employee benefit plans or benefits package you choose to offer, ensure that your workplace recognizes hard work and keeps lines of communication open.

The best way to know what perks employees would enjoy most is to ask them!

Want more tips on how to retain employees or attract talent through benefits? Find out what perks job seekers are looking for, or sign up for our lists to receive our insights.

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