Benefits & Leave 9 min

Unique employee benefits: 21 ideas for your business

Written by Francesco Cardi
Francesco Cardi


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When it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, benefits are absolutely crucial. A strong, well-structured benefits package allows you to compete in multiple labor markets, and keep your people happy and engaged.

But while some of these benefits — such as health insurance and retirement plans — may be statutory, what can really help set you apart are your supplementary offerings. These can say a lot about the kind of culture you’re building, and provide useful solutions to the multifaceted needs of the modern workforce.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the more creative benefits you can offer your team — regardless of your company’s size and budget.

So let’s jump right in.

Unique employee benefits to offer your team

Here are some less common benefits that you can consider offering your people:

1. Pet insurance

Employees are used to — and in some countries expect — various kinds of insurance benefits. But not many companies offer pet insurance. Doing so can not only help support your employees’ financial well-being, but show empathy toward their additional family members. 

It’s also an attractive benefit for younger talent. According to a survey by insurance firm Nationwide, 49% of US Gen Z pet owners said that having pet-related benefits would influence them to stay at their current employer — or leave their company for one that does.

2. Four-day workweek

In recent years, numerous countries have trialed four-day workweeks — to fairly resounding success. Studies have shown that, among other plus points, this approach can enhance work-life balance and result in happier, more focused employees.

Offering it as a benefit is also sure to help attract and retain top talent. A 2023 trial in the UK found that 71% of employees experienced less burnout and 48% were more satisfied with their jobs after participating, with 15% stating that “no amount of money” would convince them to return to a five-day workweek.

3. Mental health programs

Mental health programs are another benefit that top employees are increasingly coming to expect.

Don’t just pay lip service, though. Prioritize your team’s mental health by offering a comprehensive mental health program that includes sessions with therapists, wellness workshops, and self-care days.

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How to build a remote work mental health program

This guide will help you understand the mental health issues that affect remote workers, the tools available to help your team with their mental health, and how your organization can build an inclusive environment that supports the mental health of your team.

4. Fertility assistance

Show support for your employees’ family planning by providing fertility assistance. This inclusive benefit can significantly relieve the financial and emotional stress associated with fertility treatments. 

Large companies like Apple and Facebook offer a helping hand in the fertility journey, making dreams of parenthood more attainable. This shows prospective and current employees that they’re supported in all aspects of their lives — not just the time they spend at their desks.

5. Early end-of-week finishes

If you are unable to offer flexible hours, consider an early finish on Fridays to give your team a head start on the weekend.

A recent survey found that 88% of UK-based employees see finishing early on a Friday as their most desired perk, with this small change likely to significantly boost morale and productivity.

6. Grocery assistance

Grocery assistance as an employee benefit isn’t just thoughtful; it’s a direct nod to the everyday realities of your team’s lives. This tangible, practical benefit can make a significant difference in their monthly budget.

7. Personal development budget 

Professional development benefits are often provided by companies. But while career-related skills are important, learning a new skill doesn’t have to be work-related.

Foster continuous learning and personal growth by allocating a budget for personal development. Encourage your employees to expand their skills and embrace a ​​well-rounded lifestyle with anything from language classes to cooking lessons.

8. Meditation classes

Promote wellbeing by providing access to online (or in-person) meditation and yoga classes. This initiative can help reduce stress and improve focus. 

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), incorporating workplace health programs, like meditation and yoga, can lead to a sizable 25% reduction in absenteeism and sick leave. By investing in your employees’ mental health, you’re not just contributing to their personal wellbeing — you’re also fostering a more productive, engaged, and present workforce.

9. Fitness subsidies

Many in-office companies are investing in on-site gyms and fitness studios. If this isn’t possible for your business, consider offering fitness subsidies (or even full subscriptions) at facilities local to your employees.

According to Harvard Business Review, this not only promotes a healthy lifestyle, but contributes to overall productivity and improved work performance

10. Travel stipends and discounts

Encourage your team to explore and recharge by offering them travel stipends. Making the world more accessible with travel-related benefits can improve their work-life balance and job satisfaction.

11. Vision insurance

According to a 2021 study, 90% of people who use a computer for more than three hours per day experience vision problems at some point.

Unfortunately, many healthcare insurance plans do not include vision cover. So, protect your team members’ eyesight with a supplemental vision insurance policy. 

12. Childcare assistance

Affordable childcare is one of the biggest challenges for many working parents. Alleviate this pressure by providing on-site childcare facilities or, if this isn’t possible, subsidies or credits for private childcare.

This kind of support goes beyond supporting working parents. It’s a proactive step in creating a nurturing work environment that recognizes the diverse needs of its workforce.

13. Miscarriage leave

In many countries, bereavement leave is discretionary. Provide support for those going through the loss of a pregnancy by implementing a formal time off policy. This reinforces a culture of care, showing employees that their personal hardships are recognized and that they are supported inside and outside the workplace.

14. Student loan assistance

Student loans are another significant source of stress for many professionals, especially in countries like the US. By helping to alleviate the burden of student debt, your company provides much-needed financial relief and demonstrates investment in your employees’ futures. 

15. Volunteer time off

Offering paid volunteer time off (VTO) encourages employees to engage in initiatives that align with their values and interests. This unique employee benefit is a meaningful way to support your employees’ personal growth and desire to have a positive impact on the world, and can contribute to your social responsibility output.

16. Sabbatical leave

Although considered a traditional benefit, sabbaticals offer a chance for long-term employees to pursue personal interests, tick off bucket list goals, or simply recharge their batteries. This break from routine work can lead to renewed creativity and energy upon their return.

17. New baby bonus

Celebrate the arrival of new family members by offering a financial bonus to new parents. This gesture of support can ease the financial pressures of new parenthood and show your employees that the company values their life milestones.

18. Healthy snacks and free lunches

Provide nutritious snacks and free meals to keep your team’s energy levels high. You can either set up an on-site canteen and/or food delivery service or, if your employees work remotely, deposit funds into a local food delivery account such as Wolt or Foody.

This is a practical, cost-effective benefit that employees can enjoy daily.

19. Additional parental leave

Maternity and paternity leave is mandated by law in many locations, but consider offering extra time off for new parents beyond the required or standard timelines. This shows a level of support that is above and beyond for your people as they navigate the challenges of new parenthood.

20. Free or subsidized subscriptions

Give your employees access to a world of knowledge and entertainment through paid for or subsidized subscription packages. Whether it’s streaming services for unwinding or magazines for leisure reading, this benefit can cater to your team’s diverse interests.

21. Free or subsidized tickets

Provide tickets to local sport and entertainment events for leisure and relaxation — especially if your people are able to attend together. This encourages your employees to enjoy their off time and engage in fun, stress-relieving activities, while building camaraderie and nurturing relationships outside the office.

How can these unique employee benefits help?

The right employee benefits are much more than fringe perks; they’re a crucial aspect of a company’s identity. 

Here’s why offering unique, carefully-curated benefits should be a priority.

They cater to younger talent

Tailoring benefits to millennials and Gen Z — who now dominate the workforce in many countries — means thinking beyond the traditional. Offering them things like unlimited PTO, wellness programs, or even gaming breaks speaks their language. It shows you’re in tune with what they value, which includes flexibility, wellbeing, and a sense of fun.

They boost employee morale

The right benefits go a long way in making employees feel valued and cared for. Something as simple as a digital or in-person “bring your pet to work” day or a surprise snack delivery can lift spirits, build camaraderie, and transform a regular workday into something special. 

Higher morale often translates into enhanced productivity and a more vibrant workplace culture — essential components of success in any organization.

They attract talent — and help retention

In the race for top talent, the deciding factor might just be your benefits package. Today’s workforce looks for employers who go the extra mile and provide benefits that are aligned with their values. In many cases, it’s these thoughtful extras that can sway their decision to join — and stay with — your company.

They help nurture a strong company culture

Whether your team is remote, in-office, or a mix of both, nurturing a strong company culture is vital. The right mix of employee benefits can contribute significantly to this, fostering a sense of community and belonging. 

Even in remote settings, virtual coffee breaks or online team-building activities help bridge the distance between employees. These affordable perks for remote teams ensure everyone, regardless of their location, feels like part of a unified and supportive work environment.

They help you punch above your weight

If you’re unable to compete with bigger organizations in terms of reputation or salary benchmarks, a unique, well-structured benefits package can still win the day for you.

As well as providing viable benefits and perks for your employees, a strong stack speaks volumes about your culture and values, and demonstrates a high level of care and commitment. This is more attractive for many employees than working in a high-paying but vastly unfulfilling environment.

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