Top 6 employee benefits ideas for startups in 2022

Entrepreneurs and business owners look at employment benefits from different perspectives. While some people want to get by with as few employee benefits as possible, others understand its true value. Instead of looking at them as additional expenses, we should start seeing them as a worthwhile investment. 

Employee benefits can differ a lot depending on what your motive is. If you are only trying to comply with regulations and laws, all you need are the standard insurance schemes and minimum stipulated leaves. But remember, minimum efforts will also give you minimum results. Another issue that startups face is the lack of funds for extensive insurance coverages and paid leaves. Many bootstrapped startups cannot afford these perks but still want to do something meaningful for their employees.

Outstaffing software development. Developers working as a team.

Today we will show you how startups can give great employee benefits without going bankrupt. Employee benefits can range from free coffee to comprehensive health insurance. However, it is not always about the money involved in the benefit that makes the difference.

If you align your startup’s benefits around promoting a healthy work culture, overall productivity and efficiency will increase significantly. Here’s how you can do it.

1. Offer flexibility in work options

In 2022, we are no longer stuck with a single office model. Today we have completely remote offices, hybrid offices, and employees working from home at regular intervals.

The benefits of remote work are well researched and documented.

Giving your employees the option of working from home is one of the biggest benefits you can give them. For many employees, the opportunity to work and live around their family means more than financial perks. At the same time, your startup would not be losing anything by letting employees work from home.

On the contrary, their productivity may even increase. It is one of the simplest yet most rewarding benefit ideas for startups of all sizes. Before you start giving out work from home (WFH) benefits to employees, make sure that you have a solid structure. Plan well ahead in time to ensure that not all employees work from home at the same time.

Custom software development. A photo of a cup and a laptop.

The best option is to integrate WFH benefit days with your default leave system. It would save you additional time, money, and hassle. Once your employees adapt to periodically working from home, it would also increase your team’s morale during tough times. However, ensure effective communication between all team members even when some of them are working from home.

2. Perks for employee’s families and loved ones

While it might be beyond the scope of your startup to offer insurance for employees’ families, you can still offer meaningful perks.

Caring for the employees’ families will also send across a very positive message. It will greatly improve employee morale and encourage them to give their best for the startup.

78% of employees report being more eager to work for an employer when they offer suitable benefit plans

Taking care of their families will definitely help you retain your best employees. There are many ways of offering perks and benefits to employees and their families. Hosting monthly or quarterly kids’ movie nights can be an inexpensive yet valuable perk. By taking responsibility for the kids for a few hours every month, the parents will get a much-needed break. They can take the time to themselves and spend some quality time, without worrying about the kids.

Similarly, you can offer a short weekend trip for your employee’s family. It would not be a huge cost to the startup but will make employees feel valued and respected. The families of employees would also appreciate such perks.

Extending perks and benefits to the employees’ families is a simple yet touching thing to do. As a team leader, it will earn you respect and appreciation from the employees. As a result, they would feel good about being a part of the team and continue giving their best.

3. Take care of employees health and wellbeing

Entertainment options are not the only thing you can buy for your employees. 

There is a  wide range of offers and perk schemes that can provide discounts for staff. It can be discount coupons for departmental stores, gym memberships, wellbeing services subscriptions, and a lot more.

Giving discount coupons is not only to make your employees happy on a materialistic level. By encouraging them to go to the gym with discount gym memberships, you are actually making a positive change in their lives.

The same goes for mental health. If you are buying your employees a meditation app subscription, you would be doing much more than offering temporary gratification. Mental health is often overlooked in corporate setups. Fortunately, the scenario is now changing and more and more people are opening up about mental health issues.

 Technology is also entering the space and making diagnostics more accurate.  Taking care of your employees’ mental health is even more important than urging them to go to the gym. Buying therapy for employees suffering from mental illnesses might be a bold step but will give you returns like nothing else.

 Make your office conducive for health and well-being. Promote healthy snacking and short workouts. If it’s possible, get your team to work out together or join fitness boot camps. These small steps will go a long way in making the team more connected.

4. Paid leaves for volunteering

A successful company is one that gives back to society. It is not only about improving brand image and awareness. Sometimes, it is just about experiencing the sheer joy of giving back. As an organization, you can inculcate this culture into the workforce by allowing them to take paid leaves for volunteering.

Online sales. People selling goods.

Volunteering is a broad term and can have various meanings. It is up to the team leader to determine what counts and volunteering for the greater good and what does not. However, it is always a good plan to get in touch with not-for-profits and organize special volunteering days.

If you can organize even one volunteering day every two months, it will have a huge impact on the work culture. Not only will it improve team morale, but also inculcate a sense of gratitude. Volunteering can be an eye-opening activity that can change a person for good.

Volunteering would not be a day-off for employees but will give them a break from regular work. However, relaxation and unwinding are not the motivations behind volunteering days. Its purpose is much deeper and will reflect on the overall team dynamics within a short time.

5. Offer incentives for innovation

Gamification is not only a marketing strategy. You can apply the same principles in your office structure to promote healthy competition among employees. To do that more effectively, you can introduce incentives for innovations.

You can organize monthly or quarterly innovation contests where employees have to come up with a breakthrough idea that will help the startup move forward. The incentive can be anything from an additional paid to leave to a gift voucher of shopping websites.

Reports suggest that employees engage with their tasks by more than 48% when there is a competitive factor involved.

The contest ideas can range from problem solving or coming up with a new product or marketing idea. There should also be a fixed metric for evaluation, which will make the event even more credible and engaging. Give every employee an opportunity to showcase their talent and get incentivized for it.

This strategy will not only help you give your employees a better experience, but also promote a sense of invention and innovation within your office. The ramifications will show up steadily and will add a lot of value to your startup.

6. Pay your employees to upskill

When we think about employee benefits, the first thing that comes to mind is a financial perk. In the pursuit of a little more wealth, both employees and employers lose sight of the long-term goals.

While money would not hurt, education and training will make your employees even more valuable. If your employees get a great opportunity to join a course or seminar, encourage them to give it a shot and offer paid leaves for the same.

 Alternatively, you can organize workshops and mentorship programs within the office space.

Pair up senior employees with junior employees for a mentorship program, and invite guests to deliver special lectures. Talks at Google is one such endeavor that has become extremely popular on YouTube. Such initiatives add a lot of value to the office structures, work cultures, and employee morale.

 When you offer incentives to employees to upskill, you are making a safe and effective investment. More skilled employees will give your better returns. They will also be better prepared for the future of work.

Apart from that, it will send a message to the employees that they can continue growing while working at your startup. It is one of the most underrated employee benefits for startups.


There is no shortage of great employee benefits ideas for startups that do not have a huge expenditure budget.

As we have shown, it is not always the money that makes the difference. Sometimes the value these benefits provide makes all the difference.

With these ideas, you can also come up with great employee benefit plans for your startup team.