A competitive salary is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to employee benefits that attract and retain the best workers in your industry. Hiring and training new employees is no small feat, and it can add up in time and resources. So how can companies recruit top employees and keep that talent on board? Custom employee benefits packages that go above and beyond health insurance and paid time off are one way to do it.

What custom employee benefits should businesses consider?

Getting paid fairly is a start. Having adequate health insurance and time off for personal, sick, and vacation time is the next step. From there, companies can tap any number of competitive employee benefits to rise above other companies vying for the same talent pool. Some customizable options include:

  • Childcare/elder care subsidies
  • Paid maternity/paternity care that extends beyond sick days
  • Retirement savings matching programs (4% matching is a base standard, closer to 10% is considered competitive)
  • Financial wellness resources
  • Legal insurance
  • Employee discounts
  • Flexible scheduling/work-from-home options
  • Free meals
  • Paid time off to complete community service
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Wellness resources – like gym memberships and smoking cessation options

Thinking of people in terms of their entire well-being, and not just what issues they encounter on the job, goes a long way toward making them feel valued. Companies that show appreciation for workers through the employee benefits are usually highly sought after in the job market.

Where should I start?

Not every company can afford to offer all of the custom employee benefits on this list. Each company culture varies so some perks may make more sense for one company, but not another. Generally speaking though, start with these three areas when considering custom employee benefits.


A survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 88% of workers feel adequate, affordable health insurance options from an employer are extremely important to job satisfaction. Other health perks to consider are vision, dental, and wellness options.

Financial Wellness

A Bankrate.com study found that 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, with no real savings stored up for emergencies. People in all income brackets were represented in these numbers meaning it isn’t the rate of pay that leads to the lack of funds — it’s the money management. Financial wellness is an important component of employee culture because when workers feel that their paychecks meet their needs, they have higher job satisfaction.

Flexible Scheduling

Economic expert Sallie Krawcheck believes that flexible scheduling and work-at-home options for mothers would boost the Gross Domestic Product by at least 9%. Mothers are the most obvious group, as 60% percent say they wish their employer had a more flexible scheduling option but all workers (including dads, people with chronic illnesses, college students, and people with disabilities) could benefit from a less-rigid approach to their work schedules. For businesses where remote work is possible, having a work-from-home policy in place is very attractive. The bonus for employers is that business operation costs actually drop when at least some of the staff works from home at least part of the time.

How to Implement Custom Employee Benefits

Start small as you roll out new options. Prioritize the employee benefits that make the most sense based on your employee base and budget, then go from there. Maybe start with better health insurance options, then add in financial wellness services next year. Every benefit you implement that goes beyond the basic offerings is appreciated by employees and will lead to higher retention and stronger workplace morale.