The 20 Best Employee Benefits (Per 3 Studies)

Best Employee Benefits To Offer

We’ve determined the 20 best employee benefits to offer in 2023 based on primary and secondary research. These are the most desirable, in-demand benefits for workers based on studies from HBR and SHRM combined with our own research of 3,920 companies (and the benefits they offer). 

Learn more about the studies that have uncovered the best benefits for employees, then see the list of the best benefits organized into four types.


 

Which types of employee benefits do people value the most?

We’ve conducted our own research to determine the most desirable employee benefits based on which benefits companies offer the most. Then, we studied two benefit surveys from reputable sources, Harvard Business Review (HBR) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), to round out the picture of what employees want in job benefits. 

Here are the key takeaways from each study.

Employee benefits library download in Excel

 

Buildremote Research On The Best Employee Benefits

At Buildremote, we track all of the employee benefits offered by nearly 4,000 companies (at type of writing this in 2023). Here are the employee benefits that are offered the most to the least in our list of 20. 

This should be used as an indicator of demand from employees.

Employee Benefit

# Of Companies

% Of Companies

Companies in the Buildremote database: 3,920

🏥 Health Insurance

1,921

49%

🪥 Dental Insurance

1,597

41%

💰 401K Match

1,520

39%

🍼 Maternity Leave

1,413

36%

🍼  Paternity Leave

1,382

35%

🌎 Remote Work

1,146

29%

⚰️ Life Insurance

1,041

27%

📚 Learning & Development Budget

1,033

26%

🗓️ Flexible Schedule

936

24%

🌴 Unlimited Time Off

883

23%

🎓 Tuition Reimbursement

750

19%

💪🏽 Gym or Wellness Reimbursement

711

18%

🚑 Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

614

16%

💻 Work Stipends

429

11%

🧳 Company Retreats

378

10%

⏰ 4-Day Work Week

399

10%

💵 Employee Stock Purchase Program

289

7%

📕 Paid Sabbaticals

220

6%

✉️ Asynchronous First

66

2%

✈️ Work From Anywhere

58

1%

 

Harvard Business Review’s Research

According to a survey of 2,000 people conducted by Fractl and Harvard Business Review, here are the most desirable employee benefits. 

Best employee benefits by HBR

 

SHRM’s List Of Employee Benefits 

Each year, SHRM releases the “Employee Benefits Survey.”

In 2023, this is what respondents have deemed important for employee benefit categories:

List of employee benefits

 

Here is how those figures have changed over the years of the SHRM survey:

Popular employee benefits over time


 

Employee Health Benefits

Since the 1940s, health insurance has been linked to employment. Since that’s the way it’s been, people demand it as part of their employee benefits package. 

Health insurance benefits consistently rank as the most important benefit to offer. In Buildremote’s company database, “health insurance” is the most offered benefit and “dental insurance” is second. In HBR’s survey, “better health, dental, and vision insurance” ranks number one. And in SHRM’s survey, “health-related benefits” ranks first, as well.

 

πŸ₯ Health insurance

These companies provide healthcare coverage to their employees (and potentially dependents, too).

 

πŸš‘ Flexible spending account (FSA)

These companies offer a special account funded with pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care costs not covered by an insurance plan.

 

🍼 Maternity leave

These companies offer paid leave for mothers after the birth of a child.

See our full list of companies with 16+ weeks of maternity leave.

 

🍼 Paternity leave

These companies offer paid leave for fathers after birth of a child.

See our full list of companies with the best paternity leave.

 

πŸͺ₯ Dental insurance

These companies provide dental health coverage to their employees (and potentially dependents, too).

 

⚰️ Life insurance

These companies provide or subsidize life insurance coverage (a death benefit to the insured’s beneficiary) to their employees.

 

πŸ’ͺ🏽 Gym or wellness reimbursement

These companies provide a one-time or recurring amount of money to pay for gym memberships, workout equipment, exercise classes, etc.


 

Work Location Benefits

Some of the best employee benefits offered these days are simply built around where work gets done.

“Remote work” was the seventh most offered benefit in our company database, “work-from-home options” ranks as the fourth most valued benefit in HRB’s survey, and “flexible working benefits” ranked as the fourth most important benefit category in SHRM’s survey.

 

🌎 Remote work

Companies that offer fully remote work have removed the office and the commute which returns time and flexibility back to the employee. 

Other variations of remote work to offer as a benefit include:

  • Hybrid work: Partially in an office, partially remote
  • Remote-friendly: The company is hiring remotely and embraces remote work, but does have offices

See our full list of companies going remote.

 

🧳 Company retreats

These companies have committed to in-person meetups for team building, bonding, brainstorming, and more activities outside of day-to-day work. 

Here are some great ideas for your next company retreat to consider:

 

✈️ Work from anywhere

The company has a program in place that allows employees to perform their jobs outside of the office, the home, and outside their home state or country.

See our full list of work-from-anywhere companies.

 

Work Schedule Benefits

Another way to provide a desirable benefit is to shake up the 40-hour work week. Job candidates are interested in more flexibility in the hours and schedules they work.

In HBR’s survey, “more flexible hours” ranks second and “more vacation time” ranks third. In SHRM’s survey, three scheduled/time-off benefits rank in the top five: “leave benefits” ranks third, “flexible working benefits” ranks fourth, and “family-friendly benefits” ranks fifth.

 

⏰ Four-day work week

These companies have removed a work day completely (and usually reduce weekly hours to 32).

Here are some additional ways to learn about if the four-day work week is right for your company:

See our full list of four-day companies.

 

βœ‰οΈ Asynchronous work

Colleagues work on their own schedule (not necessarily at the same time). 

Learn more about asynchronous work by reading this guide.

See our full list of async-first companies.

 

πŸ—“οΈ Flexible schedule

Employees at these companies are empowered to pick their own start times, end times, and when hours are logged throughout the day.

Learn more about running a company of a flexible work schedule.

 

πŸ“• Paid sabbaticals

Employees can take an extended break from work (like a month), retain their salary, and not use vacation days.

Should your company offer sabbaticals as a new type of employee benefit?

See our full list of companies with sabbaticals.

 

🌴 Unlimited PTO

Employees can request off as many vacation days as they choose without a cap.

Unlimited PTO is not all positive, though. Get a full view of unlimited PTO as an employee benefit in this series of articles:

See our full list of unlimited PTO companies.

 

Financial Benefits For Employees

Companies are able to offer financial benefits beyond salary, bonuses, and commission. Typical financial benefits include retirement account programs, stock purchase programs, and stipends for specific uses.

Non-salary financial benefits typically rank as the second most important category behind health insurance. In Buildremote’s company database, “401K match program” is the third most offered benefit. In HBR’s survey, two financial benefits rank in the top 10: “student loan assistance” (5), “tuition reimbursement” (6). In SHRM’s survey, “retirement savings and planning benefits” ranks second and “financial (non-retirement) benefits” ranks seventh.

 

πŸ’° 401K match plan

Companies on this list contribute a certain amount of money to an employee’s 401k retirement plan if the employee contributes themselves.

See our full list of the best companies for 401k match.

 

πŸ’΅ Employee stock purchase program (ESPP)

These companies allow employees to purchase company shares, often at a discounted price, as part of their benefits package.

 

πŸ’» Work stipends

These companies provide a one-time or recurring amount of money to be used for a home office, coworking membership, or travel (for the digital nomads).

See our full list of companies that offer work-from-home stipends.

 

πŸ“š Learning & development budget

These companies offer a reimbursement program dedicated to covering employees’ costs for professional development activities, such as courses, books, certifications, or conferences.

 

πŸŽ“ Tuition reimbursement

These companies offer to pay – partially or in full – for its employees to pursue a higher education degree. 

See our full list of  companies that pay for college.

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