18 Unique Employee Benefits For Any Employer Budget

March 13, 2024

Hiring new employees can be costly, and frequent turnover can hurt your business goals. That’s why many employers offer benefits to help attract and retain good employees. Most employees see traditional benefits – like PTO and health insurance – as the minimum. Adding unique employee benefits to your benefits package can show your employees you’re willing to go above and beyond the expected.

Read on for 18 unique employee benefits to fit any employer budget.  

What to Know About Employee Benefits

What makes a good employee benefit? 

Any employee benefits are better than none, but that doesn’t mean that all benefits are equally attractive. 

Some employers may offer benefits that they themselves find attractive, but that don’t help their employees. On the flip side, you don’t need to stretch your budget thin just to offer good and unique employee benefits. 

Good employee benefits are: 

  • Scalable. You may not be able to afford top-tier benefits to entry-level employees, but no one likes to feel left out. Scale your benefits so everyone can take advantage of the benefit, but it still makes sense for your budget. For example, you can offer 2 weeks of paid parental leave for your newest employees, while your top-level management gets 3 months of paid parental leave. 
  • Flexible. Look for benefit programs that allow employees to participate in a way that makes sense for them. For example, instead of offering free membership to a gym, consider offering a health and wellness stipend. The gym-focused employee can spend it on their gym membership, while another employee may fund pilates classes with the stipend. 
  • Inclusive. Offer benefits that are applicable to a diversity of people. For example, include domestic partners in benefits, not just spouses. Instead of giving paid holiday time for Christmas and Easter, consider offering a set number of paid holiday days for employees to use during their own holidays. These are small changes that aren’t more expensive, but ensure that all of your employees get equal treatment.

When choosing unique employee benefits, consider your budget, the typical demographics of your employees, and what will contribute to the best company culture.  

18 Unique Employee Benefits For Every Employer Budget

Not all of these unique employee benefits will be a good fit for your company, but this list is a great starting point to give you ideas about how to put together an attractive benefits package. Some of these ideas require major restructuring and funds, while others are low cost and easy to implement. 

Unique Family Support Benefits

Family support benefits may not be used by all of your employees, but they are a big draw for those that need it. Here are some unique ideas for padding your family benefits.

1. Fertility assistance
Most insurances do not cover fertility treatments, and these treatments can easily run $40,000 or more. Don’t let that deter you from offering this benefit. Although it may cost a lot, it’s not a benefit that everyone will use.

2. New baby bonus
Not all family support benefits are costly. A new baby bonus is a great low-cost way to support an employee with a new baby. Either offer a bonus on their paycheck, or put together a “new baby essentials” basket.

3. Private lactation area
Have a spare room in the office? Consider transforming that room into a private lactation room for employees that need to pump breast milk. All you need is a door that closes, a comfortable chair, and a power outlet.

4. Childcare discounts
Childcare costs a lot. In fact, some employees may be using over half of their paychecks just to pay for childcare. Offering any kind of stipend to subsidize childcare costs will set you apart from other employers.

5. Pet insurance
Yes, pets are part of the family too. Pet insurance isn’t nearly as expensive as human health insurance, but it’s not something that a lot of pet owners like to pay. As a bonus, you may be able to bundle pet insurance with other insurance benefits you offer.

Unique Health and Wellness Benefits

People are more aware of their health and wellness today, and offering supplemental wellness benefits can lead to healthier – and happier – employees. Plus, if you can’t afford to offer health insurance, some of these options may be a less expensive alternative.

6. Mental health support
Health is just as much about the mind as the body. There are some great, low-cost options for virtual mental health platforms that you can add to your health benefits package. Or, you can offer a mental health stipend for employees to use on any mental health expenses.

7. Digital wellness programs
There are dozens of wellness platforms out there, like Fitbit. Most of them offer employer plans so you can offer digital membership for your employees. In addition, many health insurance plans also offer digital wellness programs, and may even offer a discount on the cost of the insurance plan for participating in the program.

8. Long-term care insurance
The cost of long-term care is quickly becoming untenable for the majority of people. Long-term care insurance can help cover these costs and give employees peace of mind about their future.

Low Cost Benefits to Boost Company Culture

Unique employee benefits aren’t just about improving employee’s lives – they’re also about helping to foster a great company culture. These are some ideas for low cost benefits that can help you create a supportive company culture.

9. Free snacks and drinks
Offering free food and drink may sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Your offering could be as simple as a bowl filled with fruit, another bowl filled with snack bars, and a mini-fridge stocked with drinks. Given different diets and preferences, not everyone will partake in the food, and most employees will adhere to the social norm of being moderate in how much they take.

10. Regular potlucks and picnics
Potlucks and picnics are a great way to get everyone in the office to socialize and learn more about each other. Potlucks are virtually free to host, and even if you provide the food this is a relatively low-cost option that’s sure to boost office morale.

Unique Employee Benefits When Returning to the Office

Some employees may hesitate to return to the office after working remotely, but these benefits can help boost morale and get them excited about going into the office.

11. Relocation assistance
Offering to subsidize moving costs can help attract talent from across the country. If you were previously remote and are now returning to the office, you may have some employees that have already established a life elsewhere. Offering relocation assistance can help you retain those employees.

12. Flexible start and end times
Instead of having a hard start time, consider offering flexibility. For example, you can give employees the ability to start their work day any time between 8am and 10am. This can help mimic some of the flexibility that remote work offers.

13. Commuter benefits
Commuting can be a real sticking point when coming back to the office. Consider offering a stipend to cover commuting expenses like public transportation or gas.

Unique employee benefits for remote work

Just because your employees are working remotely, doesn’t mean you can’t offer them attractive benefits that support them.

14. Coworking stipend
Working remotely is lonely, and some remote workers prefer to work at a coworking space to get their dose of human interaction. You can offer a stipend to cover some amount of work at a coworking space, or partner with a large chain like WeWork to offer employees a membership.

15. Home office stipend
When employees work in the office, the employer buys all of the necessary office equipment. For employees working from home, however, they often invest in their own equipment. Consider offering a small stipend for employees to improve their home office. This stipend can be as little as $100 a year per employee, making this a great low-cost benefit.

Unique Benefits That Invest in Success

Want some more ideas for unique employee benefits? These are some benefits that directly contribute to your employee’s success – and your own.

16. Student loan assistance
Tuition reimbursement is a popular employee benefit, especially for larger companies. But more companies are now offering student loan assistance. The faster your employees can make a dent on their student loans, the more they can start investing in the future.

17. Ongoing learning and training
Can’t afford to reimburse tuition? Consider offering a stipend for ongoing training and learning. This is a win-win because your employees can devote time to learning skills, and as a result you get highly skilled employees that are constantly increasing their value to you.

18. Employee referral bonus
Recruiting new employees can cost thousands, but your own employees may know suitable candidates. Reduce your recruitment costs by offering employees a referral bonus. This may also help reduce turnover because people like to work with people they know.

Thinking outside the box pays off when it comes to benefits. Unique employee benefits can help you stand out from other employers and attract the highest quality employees. And not all great benefits are expensive. Even offering lower cost stipend-based benefits can help reduce turnover.

Benefits Admin is Easier With Commonwealth

We understand how much of a challenge managing your benefits can become, especially as your company grows. At Commonwealth Payroll & HR, we support you with the right tools to manage your benefits and ensure federal and state compliance. Contact us today to get started!

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