Are you wondering what the best employee perks for small businesses are in this competitive labor market? We've got you! As a small business, you can usually make up for what you lack in corporate advantages with more closely knit teams and fewer layers of management and HR to navigate. However, you also have to compete with larger firms when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, and that can be tricky. It is especially so when you do not have the budget for it. This is where having out-of-the-box recruitment strategies and offering unique employee benefits come in. This blog will focus on the latter of those two things. It will tell you why those unique benefits are so significant, and we will share a few employee perks for small businesses specifically to help you find the right perks for your employees.

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Article Contents
6 min read

Why are employee perks important? What employee perks can you offer employees as a small business Offer Family-Friendly perks Encourage Self-Care & Wellness Help with Professional Development Conclusion FAQs

Why are employee perks important?

Employee perks or benefits significantly impact employee satisfaction, recruitment, and employee retention - three key items that are directly tied to the success of any company. When the employers and employees win, the entire organization wins. The reality is that the right set of employer and employee perks can increase the value of working for a specific company and improve your employees' health and quality of life, which in turn has some advantages for the overall company: 

What employee perks can you offer employees as a small business:

Traditional benefits include health insurance, life insurance, paid time off (vacation and personal days), and retirement savings options. While these are some of the best employee benefits you can offer, they are also the most common, meaning that they will not help your company stand out to candidates when you are recruiting, and they do not offer much increased value for your employees. In addition to providing these benefits, we recommend including a few non-traditional employee benefits and perks in your compensation packages, or forming some employer partnerships to diversify the benefits you can offer your employees.

Struggling to find the best employee perks to offer as a small business owner? Through an employer partnership with BeMo's employee benefits program, you can offer your employees perks that are unique without going over your budget. In fact, you'll save money and keep your best employees with you. Through BeMo's employee benefits program, your employees will have unparalleled access to our top career coaches and admissions experts for professional development or furthering their education.

Offering these unique or non-traditional benefits doesn't necessarily mean you have to break the bank. The key is to focus on quality over quantity by providing your employees with perks that will be more impactful than flashy. For example, let's say that you are a small tech start-up, and you want to make the work environment more inviting. While a juice bar, ping pong tables, and bean bag chairs may sound fun, they likely aren't the kind of things your employees care about most. Furthermore, once the novelty wears off, employees will still not feel individually valued and respected by you, which is what is most important in the long term. 

To help you get started, here are a few ways small-business owners can deliver impactful employee perks without having to break the bank:

  1. Family-friendly perks and benefits
  2. Mental wellness initiatives
  3. Professional development

Offer Family-Friendly perks

Family-friendly employee benefits are perks, policies, and programs that make it easier for employees to balance work and family responsibilities and support employees through different life stages. These are some of the benefits that fall in this category: 

The list above is not exhaustive, but it does include some of the best family-friendly perks out there. Often, when we speak about family-friendly benefits, employers assume that you need to offer some of the more expensive perks - like coverage for fertility treatments, for example - to stand out, but this is not the case. By doing little things that make it easier for employees to care for and spend time with their families, you are making them feel valued and happier. 

For context, let's consider some of the employee perks that we listed above. Take flexible work arrangements, for example. Making it possible for certain employees to choose their own schedules (within reason, of course) or work remotely wouldn't exactly be expensive, but it can make a world of difference for employees. Parents may get to spend more time with their children or save money by making alternative childcare arrangements. 

Education consulting is another family-friendly employee perk that is great for small businesses because employers, employees, and their families can use it. As an employer, you can choose to cover an academic consultant's total or partial cost. These consultants provide invaluable help when it comes to the process of applying to and preparing for different forms of higher education - college, law school, medical school, graduate schools, etc. This means that when an employee is overwhelmed because their child ( who is finishing high school soon) does not know how to write a college essay, they can reach out to a consultant instead of stressing about it and researching tips during work hours. 

Encourage Self-Care & Wellness

Most people want to be physically and mentally healthier, which is why the terms 'self-care' and 'wellness' have practically become buzzwords. Plus, even for those few employees who might not necessarily want to be healthier, knowing that your employer cares about your overall health can go a long way. That is why there are a number of employee perks for small businesses that fall in this category:

As an employer, you can support employees' fitness and health goals by offering different wellness perks. Some employees simply need access to resources and information to have a healthier lifestyle, others might not have the money or the time for it. By making it possible to either have access to these services for free or at a discounted rate, you are telling them that their health matters to you and that you are willing to invest in it.

Take gym memberships, for example. As a small business, building an onsite gym may not be possible in the short run, but partnering with a local gym company to offer a discounted rate for your employees is feasible. Consider ergonomic accessories, as well. While paying for new sets of keyboards or buying new chairs for the employees at the office can be expensive at first, think about how much more energy employees have when they are working in a more comfortable environment and how less likely they are to develop issues like carpel tunnel over time.

Help with Professional Development

One of the many things employees are looking for is opportunities for growth and development. Recently, the Randstad Work monitor report conducted a study and found that 60% of employees are interested in workshops and further education that will allow them to earn more money, and 40% of them want to learn how to advance their careers. In other words, employee development programs and perks are essential for employee job satisfaction. Here are a few employee perks that fall in this category:

Supporting employee development is especially great for small businesses because it benefits the company in two ways. First, it makes employees feel valued and supported, which in turn motivates them. Secondly, it is a great way to ensure that your employees are armed with the skills, knowledge, and resources that will allow them to succeed in their positions and help the company achieve its goals.

As a small business, you might not be able to afford to pay for an MBA program for your management team or employees who show leadership potential, but you can support them in other ways. For example, remember those academic consultants that we spoke about earlier? One of the many things they can do is help employees navigate the complex and lengthy road of admissions to graduate programs such as MBAs. 

Furthermore, employers sometimes underestimate the impact of covering the partial cost of something as expensive as education. Most Americans are not exactly swimming in money, so anything that an employer does to help them stretch every dollar goes a long way. Providing a specific amount of money for employees to use on education, for example, can have a huge impact. To save even more on costs, you can think of these types of benefits as part of your employee reward systems. Make this education stipend or the services of an academic consultant available to employees who show specific traits or who go above and beyond for the company. 


When you are a small business, your company culture plays a big role in your hiring process and the satisfaction of your current employees. And your benefits package says a lot about your company culture - it tells employees what you value, what you reward, and whether you think outside the box. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you are offering a compensation package that communicates that you care about your employees and you don't need to break the bank to do so. Start with the list of employee perks for small businesses above, consider your goals and budget, and start working toward offering the perks that will be most impactful for your company. It is definitely well worth the cost for happier, more productive, and more loyal employees.


1. Why is it so important to offer additional perks for employees?

 The labor market is changing, and if you want to compete with some of the bigger firms for the best candidates, you need to offer unique benefits that will attract and retain them. These perks also are a great motivator for employees, which means a more engaged and productive workforce.

2. What is academic consulting?

Academic consultants are admissions professionals who provide expert advice and guidance on various aspects of the higher education admissions process. There are various forms of academic consulting – from college advisors to PhD admission consultants, graduate school advisors, MBA admissions consulting, etc., meaning that they can help employers, employees, and their families as well.

3. What makes academic consulting a great employee benefit?

Academic consulting can be useful for employees' professional development and for employees with dependents who are navigating the complex world of academic admissions. Making it one benefit that provides multiple impactful services, thus giving you more value for your money.

4. What are the most affordable employee perks for small businesses to offer?

This will depend on the size of your business, your budget, company culture, and goals. However, generally speaking, small companies can partner with other businesses to offer services like daycare, gym memberships, or even food at a cheaper cost. Additionally, academic consulting firms typically offer payment plans which makes it easier to afford this great benefit.

5. Are family-friendly benefits mainly for women?

Family-friendly perks like parental leave, fertility treatments, childcare & education benefits, etc. are especially great for women and members of the LGBTQ+ who are looking to start a family. Still, everyone can use them, and everyone benefits from them.

6. Are benefits more important than salary?

This is not a yes or no question because there are several factors to consider on a case-by-case basis. There are employees who have other sources of income and are more interested in benefits, and there are employees who care about both equally. With that being said, you should remember that any company can offer higher pay and a retirement plan. But not every company can provide some of the more unique and impactful benefits that we discuss in this blog post.

7. What kind of perks are employees looking for?

Employees are looking for employers who will care for more than just their financial needs. They want employers to invest in their future, help them fulfill their familial responsibilities, and allow them to have a healthy work-life balance.

8. Where should I start if I'm interested in offering academic consulting as a benefit to my employees?

You can start by contacting us here for a free chat. One of our team members will be happy to tell you more about how we can help you and tell you what you need to know in order to get started!

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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