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Which Benefits Do Employees Really Want? Insights from 10+ Companies

Quick List of Most Wanted Employee Benefits:
1. Health Insurance
2. Retirement Plans
3. Paid Time Off (PTO)
4. Flexible Working Hours
5. Remote Work Options

Finding out what benefits employees really value can feel like a treasure hunt. But don’t worry, you won’t need a map because we’ve done the digging for you. Whether you’re a business owner aiming to attract top talent or an employee wondering what perks to ask for, understanding which benefits matter can be a game-changer.

Companies are not just about salaries anymore. In today’s world, where the line between work and life blurs, benefits like health insurance, retirement savings plans, and flexible work hours are becoming the cornerstones of job satisfaction and employee loyalty. From giants like Netflix and Amazon to small businesses, everyone is upping their game in offering unique perks to keep their teams happy and healthy.

But why should companies care? Simply put, happy employees are more productive, loyal, and they’re the ones driving your business forward. Let’s dive into the perks that employees at 10+ companies said make them love where they work.

Infographic detailing the top 5 employee benefits based on a survey from 10+ companies, illustrating the percentage of employees who value each benefit: Health Insurance (87%), Retirement Plans (82%), Paid Time Off (76%), Flexible Work Hours (72%), and Remote Work Options (68%) - best benefits for employees infographic infographic-line-5-steps

The Evolution of Employee Benefits

The world of work has changed a lot, and so have the benefits companies offer their employees. Let’s take a closer look at three big areas: Healthcare, Retirement, and Paid Time Off (PTO). These benefits have grown and shifted in response to what employees need and want.


Long ago, a simple health plan was enough. But now, with health costs soaring, employees look for more. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that health spending per person in the U.S. was nearly $13,000 in 2021. That’s a big number! So, companies got creative with health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and health stipends, making healthcare more flexible and personalized. This shift shows how much companies care about their team’s health beyond the basics.


Retirement plans have also evolved. It’s not just about having a 401(k) anymore. Employees want more. They’re looking for generous matching contributions (think 4% or more) and even stock options or equity ownership plans for a piece of the company pie. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 67% of workers now have access to retirement plans, and they expect these plans to really help them secure their future.

Paid Time Off (PTO)

PTO has seen some of the most interesting changes. It used to be about having a set number of days off. But now, we’re seeing things like unlimited PTO, paid volunteer days, and even sabbaticals. This shift recognizes that employees value their time off not just for rest, but for personal growth and giving back to the community.

BambooHR stands out here, offering a $2,000 annual stipend for vacation expenses. This kind of benefit shows a deep understanding of what makes employees happy and productive.

In summary, employee benefits have come a long way. They’ve grown from basic offerings to comprehensive packages that address health, financial security, and work-life balance. Companies are now more focused on what employees truly value, leading to more innovative and attractive benefits packages. This evolution is a clear sign of how much companies value their people and are willing to invest in their happiness and well-being.

As we move into exploring Unique and Attractive Employee Benefits, keep in mind how these evolved benefits set the stage for even more personalized and impactful offerings.

Most Valued Employee Benefits

In the competitive landscape of today’s job market, understanding the best benefits for employees is crucial for companies looking to attract and retain top talent. Based on comprehensive research and insights from leading companies, four key benefits stand out: Health Insurance, Retirement Plans, Paid Time Off, and Flexible Hours. Let’s dive into why these benefits are so valued by employees.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is more than a benefit; it’s a necessity. The high cost of healthcare in the U.S. makes this benefit extremely valuable for employees. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, health spending per person in the U.S. was nearly $13,000 in 2021, highlighting the importance of this benefit. A staggering 87% of employees value health benefits, making it clear that offering health insurance can significantly impact employee satisfaction and retention.

Retirement Plans

Planning for the future is a top priority for many employees. Retirement plans, such as 401(k)s with employer matching, are highly valued because they provide financial security for employees as they age. The psychological comfort of knowing there’s a plan for the future can’t be overstated. Companies that offer generous retirement benefits, including stock options and equity ownership plans, stand out as employers of choice.

Paid Time Off (PTO)

Everyone needs a break. PTO is crucial for work-life balance, allowing employees to rest, recharge, and spend time with loved ones. The trend towards more generous PTO policies, including unlimited PTO and paid sabbaticals, reflects an understanding of the importance of mental and physical health. Companies that encourage employees to take their PTO, without fear of repercussions, foster a culture of trust and respect.

Flexible Hours

The demand for flexible working hours has skyrocketed, especially in the wake of the global shift towards remote work. Employees value the ability to adjust their work schedules to fit their lives, whether it’s for running errands, attending children’s school events, or simply working when they feel most productive. This flexibility is a testament to a company’s trust in its employees and respect for their personal lives.

Insights from Top Companies

Leading companies like Netflix, Microsoft, and BambooHR have set the standard by offering extensive benefits in these categories. For instance, BambooHR offers a $2,000 annual stipend for vacation expenses, promoting the use of PTO. Microsoft provides flexible working hours and remote work options, acknowledging the diverse needs of their workforce.

In conclusion, the best benefits for employees go beyond the paycheck. They reflect a company’s commitment to the well-being, future, and daily life of its employees. As we look at Unique and Attractive Employee Benefits, these foundational benefits are what set companies apart in the eyes of potential and current employees.

Unique and Attractive Employee Benefits

In the quest to attract top talent, companies have evolved to offer more than just the basics. Today, the best benefits for employees include a mix of traditional and unique perks that cater to their diverse needs. Let’s dive into some of the standout benefits that modern workplaces are providing.

Remote Work

The ability to work from anywhere is more than a trend; it’s a transformation in how we think about work. Companies like Salesforce have led the way by integrating mindfulness zones in their offices and supporting remote work, showing that they value flexibility and mental well-being. BambooHR simplifies managing remote work benefits, making it easier for companies to offer this perk.

Wellness Programs

A healthy employee is a happy employee. Corporate wellness and fitness programs are becoming a staple in benefit packages. From subsidized gym memberships to on-site yoga classes, companies understand that physical health directly impacts work performance and employee satisfaction. Salesforce’s approach to creating a culture of wellness by incorporating mindfulness zones is a prime example of this trend.

Education Benefits

Investing in your employees’ growth shows a commitment to their future. Starbucks and Amazon have set high standards by offering tuition reimbursement and technical training programs, respectively. This not only aids personal development but also ensures that the company benefits from a more skilled workforce.

Family Leave

Family leave is a critical benefit for new parents. Companies like Netflix offer generous parental leave policies, setting a gold standard for family support. This benefit is invaluable for attracting employees who are planning to start or grow their family and wish to balance their professional and personal lives.

Mental Health Support

The importance of mental health has never been more recognized in the workplace. Offering resources for mental health counseling and support demonstrates a company’s understanding of comprehensive wellness. This can include access to therapists, mental health days, and programs aimed at reducing work-related stress.

In Conclusion:

The landscape of employee benefits is rapidly changing, with a clear shift towards more holistic and flexible perks. These unique and attractive benefits not only help in attracting and retaining top talent but also promote a healthier, more satisfied, and productive workforce. It will be interesting to see how small businesses and large corporations alike continue to innovate in this space, ensuring that they meet the evolving needs of their employees.

Next, we’ll explore how small businesses can compete in this arena, offering competitive benefits without the resources of larger corporations.

Insights from Top Companies

When we talk about the best benefits for employees, it’s insightful to look at what top companies are doing. These organizations are not just following trends; they’re setting them. Let’s dive into how companies like Netflix, HubSpot, Salesforce, and others are redefining employee benefits.

  • Netflix has revolutionized the concept of Paid Time Off (PTO) with its “take vacation” policy. This approach trusts employees to manage their own vacation time, ensuring they get the rest they need without strict limits. It’s a bold move that emphasizes trust and flexibility, key components of Netflix’s culture.

  • HubSpot takes PTO to another level with a company-wide week off every July, alongside an unlimited PTO policy and a four-week paid sabbatical for employees every five years. This comprehensive approach to time off underscores the company’s commitment to employee well-being and work-life balance.

  • Salesforce is a pioneer in integrating wellness into the workplace. With initiatives like mindfulness zones, Salesforce not only supports its employees’ physical health but also their mental and emotional well-being. This holistic view of health is a standout feature of their benefits package.

  • Capital One offers a unique blend of healthcare benefits, including registered dietitians on-site and free virtual fitness classes, showcasing a proactive approach to employee health that goes beyond traditional medical care.

  • Meta (formerly Facebook) offers extensive benefits designed to support life outside work, including generous parental leave and onsite healthcare services, recognizing the importance of supporting employees’ personal lives and families.

  • Qualtrics has a unique approach to employee recognition with its “Treat Yo’ Self” fund, empowering employees to reward themselves for hard work, which fosters a culture of appreciation and self-care.

  • Starbucks extends its benefits beyond the cafe, offering full tuition coverage for an online bachelor’s degree program. This commitment to employee education and development is a significant draw for talent.

  • Amazon has made headlines with its Career Choice program, which pre-pays 95% of tuition for courses in high-demand fields, demonstrating a commitment to the long-term growth and success of its employees.

  • BambooHR emphasizes a healthy work-life balance with its “Paid Paid Vacation” benefit, where employees receive extra money to fund their vacation activities, encouraging them to take meaningful breaks.

  • Microsoft stands out with its parental leave policies and ‘MyAnalytics’ tool, which helps employees find balance between work and personal time, illustrating a tech-driven approach to wellness and productivity.

Each of these companies showcases a unique angle on employee benefits, from unlimited PTO to education reimbursement and wellness programs. They understand that the best benefits for employees are those that support not just their work but their overall life satisfaction and well-being.

Top Companies Employee Benefits - best benefits for employees

These examples not only set a high bar for what’s possible in employee benefits but also demonstrate that the most impactful benefits often address the holistic needs of employees. It will be interesting to see how small businesses and large corporations alike continue to innovate in this space, ensuring that they meet the evolving needs of their employees.

Next, we’ll explore how small businesses can compete in this arena, offering competitive benefits without the resources of larger corporations.

How Small Businesses Can Compete

In the race to attract and retain top talent, small businesses might feel like they’re at a disadvantage compared to their larger counterparts. However, by focusing on work-life balance, professional development, health reimbursement arrangements, and quality of life enhancements, small businesses can not only compete but can also provide a more personalized, attractive benefits package to their employees.

Work-Life Balance

One of the best benefits for employees that small businesses can offer is flexible scheduling and the opportunity for remote work. In today’s world, the ability to balance professional and personal life is more important than ever. Small businesses can stand out by offering:

  • Flexible hours, allowing employees to start and end their day when they prefer.
  • Remote work options, even if it’s just a few days a week, can make a significant difference in an employee’s life.

These changes cost little to nothing but can dramatically increase job satisfaction and loyalty.

Professional Development

Investing in your employees’ growth not only benefits them but also your business. Small businesses can offer:

  • Tuition reimbursement for courses relevant to their role.
  • Access to online courses or workshops.
  • Opportunities to attend industry conferences.

These initiatives show employees that you value their growth and are willing to invest in their future. This can be a key factor in retaining talent.

Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs)

While small businesses may struggle to offer the same health insurance benefits as larger companies, HRAs can be a flexible alternative. With an HRA, businesses reimburse employees for medical expenses, up to a set dollar amount. This allows employees to choose the health insurance plan that best fits their needs, while also controlling costs for the business.

Quality of Life Enhancements

Small businesses can offer unique perks that enhance the quality of life for their employees, such as:

  • Mental health days, in addition to regular PTO.
  • Fitness memberships or discounts to local gyms.
  • Transportation stipends to help with commuting costs.

Even small gestures, like offering free snacks or occasional team lunches, can make a big difference in building a positive workplace culture.

By focusing on these areas, small businesses can create a compelling benefits package that rivals those of larger companies. It’s not always about the money or the size of the company, but about how much you value your employees and their overall well-being. This approach not only attracts talent but also fosters a loyal, engaged workforce that is motivated to contribute to the success of the business.

Addressing frequently asked questions about employee benefits will further clarify how small businesses can leverage their unique position to offer competitive, attractive benefits packages.

Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Benefits

Navigating employee benefits can sometimes feel like trying to solve a puzzle. Let’s simplify it by tackling some of the most common questions.

What benefits are most attractive to employees?

Health Insurance: It’s no surprise here. With health spending per person in the U.S. nearing $13,000 annually, health insurance is a top priority for most employees. It’s not just about covering medical expenses; it’s about peace of mind.

Retirement Plans: Whether it’s a Simple IRA or a SEP IRA, employees are looking for ways to secure their future. A retirement plan is a clear signal that you care about their long-term well-being.

Paid Time Off (PTO): Everyone needs a break. Offering paid vacation and sick leave shows that you value your employees’ work-life balance, leading to improved morale and productivity.

Flexible Hours: The traditional 9-to-5 is becoming less appealing. Flexibility in work hours is highly valued, especially among employees who juggle multiple responsibilities outside of work.

Remote Work Options: The ability to work from home is not just a trend; it’s a benefit that many seek for its convenience and as a way to better balance personal and professional life.

How do small businesses offer competitive benefits?

Be Smart with Budgeting: Understand your financial limits but also recognize the value of investing in your employees. Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) can be a cost-effective way to offer health benefits without the high costs of traditional group plans.

Focus on Core Benefits: Start with the basics—health insurance, PTO, and a retirement savings plan. These core benefits are crucial for attracting and retaining talent.

Add Low-Cost Perks: Look into benefits that don’t break the bank but have high perceived value, like flexible work arrangements, wellness programs, or even simple things like free snacks.

Highlight Your Unique Offerings: Maybe you can’t offer a gym discount, but you can provide a supportive, flexible work environment that values employee input and work-life balance. Sometimes, it’s the small things that count.

What is the impact of benefits on employee retention?

A Strong Foundation: Offering a competitive benefits package can significantly reduce turnover. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that invests in their health, future, and well-being.

Boosts Morale: Benefits like PTO and wellness programs not only support physical health but also mental health, leading to happier, more productive employees.

Attracts Top Talent: When word gets out that you offer great benefits, you’ll attract high-quality candidates, creating a positive cycle of attracting and retaining the best talent.

Saves Money in the Long Run: While offering benefits might seem like a big expense, the cost of high turnover and the process of recruiting and training new employees can be even higher.

In conclusion, the best benefits for employees are those that address their most pressing needs and concerns, from health insurance to flexible work options. For small businesses, the key is to offer a thoughtful, well-rounded benefits package that supports employees’ well-being and work-life balance. This approach not only helps in attracting and retaining talent but also in building a strong, loyal team dedicated to the success of the business.

Moving forward, it’s clear that understanding and implementing the right benefits strategy is crucial for any business looking to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.


In wrapping up, it’s evident that the landscape of employee benefits has undergone significant transformation. Today, the best benefits for employees extend far beyond the basic offerings. They now include a diverse range of options from health insurance and retirement plans to mental health support and flexible working arrangements. These benefits are not just perks; they are essential tools for attracting, retaining, and nurturing talent.

At Tigner Financial, we understand the complexities and challenges businesses face in crafting a compelling benefits package. Our approach is grounded in the belief that every company, regardless of its size, can offer a competitive and attractive benefits package that resonates with current and prospective employees. We specialize in providing group insurance solutions that are tailored to meet the unique needs of your business and your employees.

The insights from top companies reveal a clear trend: businesses that prioritize the well-being and satisfaction of their employees not only stand out as desirable places to work but also enjoy higher levels of productivity and employee engagement. Whether it’s Netflix’s unlimited vacation days or Starbucks’ comprehensive education benefits, these companies demonstrate the powerful impact of thoughtful benefits on employee morale and loyalty.

For small businesses, competing in this arena may seem daunting. However, the key lies in understanding the specific needs and preferences of your workforce. By focusing on quality of life enhancements, professional development opportunities, and work-life balance, small businesses can craft a compelling value proposition that attracts top talent.

In conclusion, the journey towards building and maintaining a resilient, engaged team requires a strategic approach to employee benefits. At Tigner Financial, we’re here to guide you through this journey, helping you to navigate the complexities of benefits planning and implementation. Together, we can create a workplace that not only attracts but also retains the best talent, ensuring the long-term success and growth of your business.

Investing in your employees is investing in the future of your business. Let’s make that investment count.