The most valued Employee Benefits for Startups

Companies compete for the best talent, and employee benefits can make a difference when building a successful venture. Find some ideas for the best employee perks.

Benefits of offering perks to employees

Having a strong team is one of the competitive advantages that companies can have over their competitors. A committed team, aligned with long-term goals and with excellent performance is key. Worker benefits help companies hire, improve and retain talent. In detail:

  • Attraction and retention of talent: workers increasingly value having certain benefits, and work is an important part of their lives. Giving the right benefits can make all the difference in terms of having a better team.
  • Performance enhacement: Current employees will be more aligned and their performance will be higher if they are well treated and offered continuous training.
  • Tax deductions: depending on the country and the social benefit, the company and the employees can optimize their tax filings by making use of one of the social benefits mentioned below.

The Best Employee Benefits for Startup Employees

Stock Options

Stock options or any of form of Employee Ownership Plan are a great addition to the overall employee compensation, in which workers acquire the right to buy shares or their economic right if they maintain their long-term employment relationship with the company. Involving employees in this type of plan helps in many ways:

  • Attract experienced talent in the early stages at a lower cost than the market, since the lower base salary is compensated with a good package of company shares. The employee communication strategy should be on point to make sure they understand and value their equity compensation.
  • Alignment of long-term objectives: ESOP usually have vesting periods of 4 years, which encourages employees to trust the company in the long term.
  • Commitment: by making the workers participate in the success of the company, it also increases their commitment and overall performance. They will be owners, not employees.

Payroll advance

Companies pay employees for their work done once or twice a month, but a lot of companies are starting to allow workers to get their salary when it suits them. With payroll advance, companies let their employees decide when to get paid, without impacting payroll management or accounting.

The payroll advance has become popular in R&B and logistics as an alternative to payday loans, which usually have much less advantageous conditions for employees.

Health insurance

Sponsoring a private health insurance plan is one of the most popular employee benefits worldwide, especially in countries where public health is not super popular. Employers can fund part or the whole insurance bill, include additional services like dental and extend it to the family. Both employer and employee enjoy tax benefits when the company shares pays for part of the premium.

Retirement fund

Companies can provide for their employees even after they retire by funding or providing a retirement fund. Employers can transfer some of the employee compensation straight into the retirement fund, which ensures their long term financial safety while providing short-term tax benefits.

It is quite common in the US (401k or traditional pension plans), but in Europe only corporations offer it to employees due to its complexity, legal requirements and the fact most citizens will receive a public retirement pay.


Companies are struggling to facilitate work-life balance, especially for the employees with children. Some businesses offer paid daycare services, either by funding part of the costs or by providing the service at the office. In some countries, the company can get tax cuts when providing with such perks.

Restaurant vouchers

One of the most popular perks are restaurant vouchers, which allow companies to pay for the workers' meals. Although these vouchers used to be on paper, in recent years they have been digitized and now employees get a pre-paid card. Companies top it up once a month, and only what is spent is deducted from the payroll. In some countries, employees get tax deductions when using restaurant vouchers, and they are allowed in restaurants but also in other R&B establishments.

Public transport

Companies with remote employment policies that want to encourage their employees to work from the office are subsidizing the cost of public transport. In addition, in some European countries it can be deducted from the total payroll, benefiting the worker fiscally.

The perk can be managed via an application, where the use of the credit is limited to public transport only. Normally, taxi or Uber are not allowed.

Mental health

In recent years there has been a boom in mental illness awareness, and companies have caught up. The team is the most important part of a company, and investing in the well-being of the workers always has a positive ROI. There are several options:

  • Apps: companies can give their employees access to a mobile app with personalized programs. The best known are Calm or Headspace.
  • Sessions with experts: for those who prefer talking to a specialist, there are services that allow workers to book sessions with psychologists, coaches, etc. The company may cover part or all of the cost.

Courses and education

Employee training and developing a career plan is one of the most important parts of satisfying the team's aspirations. Much of the training can be done in-house, but there are multiple services that help train employees externally:

  • Upskilling: for employees who want to expand their knowledge in their area. The company usually offers their employees to attend conferences or seminars, courses, etc. The main objective is for employees to improve their performance in their current role, or to be promoted within the organization.
  • Reskilling: for workers who want to start in another function within the company, they are trained in the basics so that the learning curve is faster. It is quite common in large companies, and allows employees with better performance and alignment with the company to grow.
  • Languages: one of the main limitations in the globalized world in which we live. Oftentimes companies offer ffree classes to learn a key language for the development of their functions or to get promoted to another role. These are usually classes with a teacher, but some companies also offer unlimited access to apps like Duolingo.


Related to mental health, it is key that workers maintain a healthy life. Some options:

  • Gym subscription: reaching an agreement with a gym near the office or with a service that allows access to several is a great option. It allows employees to have access to a wide range of options, such as yoga, pilates, various classes, spinning, etc.
  • Team sports: Some companies have team sports teams that compete against other companies. In addition to the benefit of physical exercise, it is a good way to improve the relationship between workers and generate employer branding content.
  • Apps: The cheapest option is to give access to applications where employees can exercise on their own.

Tax advice

Perhaps it's one of the most neglected perks, but every employee needs it. Companies can offer a tax advisory service that helps employees optimize their tax return, in addition to clarifying doubts about stock options or phantom shares.

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