The 10 Best UK Employee Benefits To Offer Your Staff…

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A good employee benefits package can play a big part in the success of any UK business. However, given that only 41% of UK workers feel satisfied with their benefits, it’s an area that’s ripe for improvement.

There are so many employee benefits to choose from. How do you know which ones are worth the cost and will make a real difference for your business?

This guide offers an overview of the best employee benefits and other perks that people really value.

Why Are Employee Benefits So Important?

On top of the obvious benefits each solution is designed to offer, in general a top employee benefits package:

  • Improves workplace morale
  • Reduces stress and associated staff absences
  • Boosts productivity
  • Helps set the tone for your company’s internal values and ethos
  • Reduces staff turnover by helping to retain existing staff
  • Makes recruiting top talent easier.

Stress and low job satisfaction are becoming pervasive trends within the UK workforce. In 2017/18, 74% of people reported feeling so stressed that they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.

Stress & Work Performance

Stress at work has been attributed to excess workload and lack of support among other things. However, it’s not always the job itself that causes people to experience stress at work.

Outside influences such as financial worries, mental and physical health problems all play a role in workplace stress. Often workers can’t help but bring such huge problems into their daily working lives.

A comprehensive employee benefits package can go someway in helping your staff work through these issues.

Best Paid Employee Benefits Offered at UK Companies

There are two main types of employee benefits:

  • Paid benefits (largely insurance products)
  • Perks and benefits that are low-cost or even free to implement (for example, flexi-time).

Group Personal Pension

A workplace pension with minimum employee and employer contributions is now mandatory in the UK. Beyond this requirement there is still a lot to consider to make your group pension a really great employee benefit.

When delivered correctly it changes from a mandatory requirement to one of the benefits your workforce will value the most.

To set up the best workplace pension for your business you should give real thought to the following questions:

  • What level of contribution do you want to provide?
    Do you provide the bare minimum or do you go above and beyond? What is competitive in your industry? What message do you want to send your workforce about the importance of their retirement?
  • What is the best pension provider for the business and your employees?
    Which provider offers the best terms? What are the charges? Fund choices? Are there specific retirement needs? Will it integrate with the rest of your business?

If an employee does not understand something they will not value it. We find this too often the case with a workplace pension arrangement and half the battle is good communication.

Whether it be retirement webinars or 1-2-1 financial education, helping your workforce to understand the importance of saving for tomorrow makes all the difference when it comes to valuing their group pension and what the business contributes.

In addition to sourcing our business clients the most suitable group pension arrangement, much of the work we do is providing the tools and support to deliver great communication to educate employees and increase their engagement with their workplace pension.

Corporate Health Insurance

At the end of March 2020, NHS data revealed that there were 4.24 million people on NHS waiting lists in England awaiting treatment. More than 20% of such people had been waiting more than 18 weeks.

If a worker had to wait 18 weeks for treatment with a debilitating health condition, this would have a considerable impact on their life. The business could also face difficulties. They may need time off sick to cope, for instance, or not be able to work to their full capacity due to their condition.

It’s here company-paid Private Health Insurance could step in.

What is Business Health Insurance?

Group Medical Insurance gives your staff access to top-notch healthcare in private UK hospitals. This lets them skip NHS waiting lists for eligible conditions. They therefore get treated faster and potentially get back to work sooner.

Here’s why mobile gaming startup Trailmix chose Health Insurance for their rapidly expanding team. Read on for the difference it’s made to every worker.

It’s very popular, being the insurance policy employees would most like to see their company introduce.

Death in Service Cover

While it’s likely that many households would struggle financially if a wage earner passed away, only around a third of UK adults have Life Insurance. This would leave a sizeable majority of families in difficulty.

That’s why company-paid life cover — also known as Death in Service Insurance — is a valuable perk of the job for uninsured Brits, who put it among the top five benefits they want their company to offer.

Cost is a big barrier to the uptake of individual Life Insurance. Offering group cover therefore not only shows your employees you care, but also takes a weight off their shoulders knowing that their loved ones have financial protection without having to pay a penny.

What is Group Life Insurance?

Group Life Insurance pays out if one of your workers sadly passes away while under contract with your company. You set the payout, which is represented as a multiple of each worker’s salary.

A typical payout is between 2 and 4 times salary. However, cover for up to 15 times earnings is possible.

Find out why Michelle at Profile Pensions saw implementing employee life insurance as a no brainer. Our employees get comfort from knowing it’s there and we’re proud to provide this cover for our staff

The policy pays out into a company-owned trust. From there, it’s distributed to the employee’s family, sidestepping any inheritance tax issues on the payout.

The family can use this payment to cover funeral costs, pay off loans or meet everyday expenses.

Group Income Protection

22% of UK employees report feeling stressed as a result of money worries (CIPD). This makes financial concerns one of the biggest stressors workers face.

Employers can help by making employees feel more financially secure. One way to achieve this is introducing some form of comprehensive sick pay so staff know their income won’t just drop off a cliff if they’re unwell.

This might include a set number of days / weeks of full pay if workers are ill, over and above the very limited Statutory Sick Pay the government says you must pay.

However, for further protection, you could consider offering Group Income Protection Insurance.

What is Group Income Protection?

Group Income Protection pays out if an illness or injury prevents your staff from working. This can be a vital lifeline for those without savings or any other means of supporting themselves if they’re ill.

If an employee is too ill to work, Group Income Protection pays out monthly benefits (a proportion of their wages) to support them.

Employees can claim for 1, 2 or 5 years or, alternatively, you can buy a policy that covers them until retirement.

Group Critical Illness Cover

The risks of developing a serious illness during your working life is higher than many might think.

For example, according to Cancer Research UK, half of adults born after 1960 will get cancer. Meanwhile, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) says that more than 100,000 hospital admissions in the UK each year are due to heart attacks. That’s a heart attack every 5 minutes.

What is Group Critical Illness Cover?

Group Critical Illness Insurance pays out a tax-free cash lump sum if one of your staff is diagnosed with a critical illness. The top three claims on such policies are for cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

The payout is typically between 1 and 5 times an employee’s annual salary.

Most policies cover around 12 critical illnesses as standard, with the option to add an additional 20-25 illnesses for an extra premium.

Additional Services

Most policies come with a range of additional benefits on top of the core insurance. For example, these include:

  • Employee assistance programs
  • Digital GP service (read our director’s experience using it)
  • Second medical opinion service / best doctors (offering access to leading global experts if an employee becomes ill and wants a second opinion on their diagnosis or treatment)
  • Mental health support service
  • Physiotherapy
  • Medical helplines staffed by trained nurses.

Most importantly, most of these can be used whenever. The individual doesn’t have to be in the middle of a claim. As such, they can be a powerful tool for businesses to support employee health, wellness and wellbeing.

They can assist workers by addressing niggling issues before they become full blown health concerns needing treatment, time off work or a claim on an employee benefits scheme.

A past survey from Aviva revealed that 75% of the employees these services supported returned to work within 6 months.

Need Help?

We have a team of expert employee benefit consultants who provide an independent advice service comparing all the leading group insurance providers in the UK including Aviva, AIG, Bupa, AXA, Legal & General and Vitality.

If you are looking to set-up an employee benefits package or want to review any existing schemes give us a call on 02074425880 or email help@drewberry.co.uk

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Best Cheap / Free Benefits and Perks for Your Business

As well as paid insurances, you can also introduce an array of low-cost or even free benefits. Despite their low price tag, they can nonetheless still be a core part of your overall proposition and make a real difference to your workers.


Many employers are adopting flexible working, also known as flexi-time, allowing employees to decide their working hours.

Flexible working is one of the fastest growing workplace trends. It’s only accelerated since the mass shift to home working seen during the coronavirus lockdown.

According to PowWowNow…

  • 67% of employees wish they were offered flexible working
  • 70% feel that flexible working makes a job more attractive
  • 58% of people believe that working away from the office would help them become more motivated.

Considering the cost of introducing flexi-time is so low, it’s one of the best perks to start with.

Increased Holiday Allowances

While all employers are legally obliged to offer staff at least 4 weeks of annual leave, others are luring in top talent by increasing allowances.

Large corporations such as Netflix and LinkedIn offer unlimited holiday, going so far as to encourage employees to take regular time off to get away from their desks.

While this might not be suitable for every business, there are some excellent benefits to giving employees more holiday.

Why Increase Annual Leave?

For example, one of the downsides of offering a limited holiday allowance is that many workers adopt the habit of saving their allowance instead of using it in case they make plans later on.

This means that at the end of the holiday year many employees with holiday allowance remaining will try to use it up all at once.

From a business perspective, these absences, usually taken by several employees at once, result in a serious loss in productivity.

From the perspective of employees, saving their holiday allowance instead of using it throughout the year means that they aren’t getting the regular breaks that they need to de-stress.

Having unlimited holiday, or simply more holiday, could reduce such situations.

Childcare Resources

For parents, one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining a full-time job is arranging childcare. This is partly down to a lack of services.

However, cost is also a major barrier. In some instances, the cost of childcare can result in a financial loss if both parents work full-time as opposed to one parent staying at home. As a result, many parents find dropping out of the workforce is actually less costly than paying for childcare.

Employers offering childcare resources can relieve some of the stress associated with this. You might, for example, introduce:

  • On-site childcare facilities
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Directories and information for local childcare options
  • Reserved places at local nurseries for staff to use in emergency circumstances.

What you’re able to offer will obviously depend on your business. Larger companies are clearly better suited to offering on-site nursery facilities, for instance. However, a more affordable option for smaller businesses could be childcare vouchers.

These offer parents the freedom to choose childcare facilities close to home and are among the most common ways employers help staff with the cost of childcare.

Even something as simple as providing information about local childcare options can reduce some of the stress involved in arranging childcare.

Employee Education

27% of employees say that their job doesn’t offer opportunities to develop their skills. In addition, 44% of workers say that their job fails to offer prospects for career advancement.

These numbers may partially explain why workers increasingly migrate from job to job instead of staying put. Without opportunities to learn and progress, staff may turn to a new job to achieve career development.

To combat this, some of the most common and cost-effective options you could offer include:

  • Training in new tools / methods
  • Access to learning resources
  • An in-house library
  • Sending employees to seminars and events
  • Cross-departmental training
  • One-on-one coaching / mentoring.

Why Offer Training and Education Benefits to Your Workers?

Training employees can open doors for your workers and your business. It can help your company stay up to date with industry trends and give you an advantage.

Meanwhile, training employees for management roles allows for better internal mobility. Internal hiring tends to boost morale and increase engagement. It’s also generally more cost-effective over hiring externally.

An employee who sees they’re able to move up and develop within their current organisation is less likely to feel that they need to leave in order to take the next step in their career.

Healthy Living Benefits

A combination of stress and inactivity are becoming some of the biggest health concerns for UK workers.

In terms of inactivity, around 2 million adults in the UK are physically inactive.

Meanwhile, stress has caused 46% of employees to adopt unhealthy eating habits, while 29% report increasing their alcohol intake.

To ensure these habits don’t lead to long-term health problems, employers can help staff take care of both their physical and mental health. For example, you might look at offering:

  • Discounted gym memberships
  • Health education
  • Healthy snacks / breakfast
  • Showering facilities for employees with an active commute
  • Stipends to spend on sports equipment.

While top global employers can offer onsite gyms or lunchtime yoga classes, the most popular healthy living benefit small and medium-sized businesses offer is discounted gym memberships. Increased exercise is well-known to offer a boost to physical and mental health.

However, if your business has a small budget, there are alternative benefits that can still promote a healthy lifestyle, such as:

  • Providing healthy snacks
  • Arranging exercise-based team building exercises and outings
  • Giving employees regular breaks to get up and walk around.

Increased Pension Contributions

An alarming 10% of UK workers think that they may never be able to afford to retire according to our 2017 Wealth & Protection Survey. As people get further in their career, the threat of being unable to afford retirement begins to loom. It can prove a significant source of stress and worry.

Why Boost Pension Contributions?

Since auto-enrolment, the number of UK workers saving into a pension through their employer has risen considerably. However, many workers can feel underwhelmed by the minimum contributions employers must make.

To counter this, you might consider matching your employees’ pension contributions rather than just paying in the bare minimum. As well as generating good will among staff, this could help cut your corporation tax bill, as employer pension contributions are usually written off as a business expense.

Gifts and Rewards

When employees don’t feel valued, they see no reason to stay.

It doesn’t take much to show employees that you care about their contribution to the business. Giving deserving employees a reward or gift when they have worked particularly hard can make times of stress feel worthwhile.

Finding the best perks, gifts and rewards to give employees offers the opportunity to get creative. For example, you might offer:

  • Event tickets
  • High street vouchers
  • Social outings
  • Charitable donations
  • Additional time off.

Why Reward Your Staff?

Recognising the effort someone has made gives them incentive to be more engaged with the organisation.

Rewards also motivate workers and help businesses maintain high productivity and employee satisfaction. Happier employees mean better employee retention.

The Best Benefits from Top Global Firms…Plus Affordable Alternatives for You

Employee Benefits are just as important for small businesses as they are for big corporations. However, fewer small business owners offer an employees benefits package.

This is often down to a limited budget, despite the fact that not offering any benefits makes it more difficult to gain the competitive edge companies need to attract new talent.

Yet offering benefits doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some of the best employee benefits and perks offered major international corporations offer, as well as potentially more affordable alternatives for you to try for your business.

The Best Business Perks for Work-Life Balance

  • Hotjar: Gives new employees €4,000 to build their own office space at home.
  • Netflix: Unlimited holiday allowance and no official work hours.
  • AirBnb: $2,000 stipend to travel to any Airbnb location.
  • Daimler: Employees can choose to have work emails deleted automatically when on holiday.

Affordable Alternatives

  • Flexi-time.
  • Extra holiday days for length of service or days off for workers’ birthdays.
  • Regular time off or reduced work hours (WWF have ‘Panda Fridays’, allowing workers to take every other Friday off).
  • Time off for charity and volunteer work.

Benefits to Improve Employee Engagement

  • Money.co.uk: An in-office Star Wars themed cinema with regular film screenings for employees.
  • JustEat: Weekly wind-down events with free food and drink and a live DJ.
  • Buzzfeed UK: Regular live performances from British artists for employees.
  • VisitBritain: Regular giveaways of West End theatre tickets and trips to top attractions and events across Britain.

Affordable Alternatives

  • Company organised social events and wind-down activities.
  • Employee rewards and public displays of appreciation.
  • Free gifts as a bonus e.g. cinema / event tickets, high street vouchers, or a bonus payment.
  • Education and training opportunities.

Best Benefits to Support Employees’ Families

  • VisualSoft: No set work hours and the ability to work from anywhere.
  • Brewdog: Pawternity leave, which is one week paid leave to help new dogs settle in.
  • Google, Nestlé, Amazon, Etsy, and Ben & Jerry’s, and more: Employees can bring their dogs to work.
  • Netflix: Unlimited parental leave.

Affordable Alternatives

  • Childcare resources (Adobe provide weekly £55 per week in childcare vouchers).
  • Sufficient maternity and paternity leave.
  • Flexible hours.
  • Opportunities to work from home.

Financial Support for Employees

  • Starbucks US: Full tuition reimbursement.
  • Facebook: Free accommodation for interns with a free shuttle service to and from campus.
  • Google: Death benefit of 50% of worker’s salary paid out for 10 years.

Affordable Alternatives

  • Group Life Insurance.
  • Group Income Protection.
  • Matching employee pension contributions.
  • Student loan support.
  • Season ticket travel loans.

Compare Employee Benefits Quotes & Get Expert Advice

Setting up and maintaining a competitive Employee Benefits package can be a bit of a headache. We do the heavy lifting for businesses of all sizes throughout the UK so they can focus on what they are best at: Delivering their own proposition.

Why Speak to Us?

We started Drewberry™ because we were tired of being treated like a number.

We all deserve a first class service when it comes to things as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.

If you need help setting up a group insurance or reviewing existing cover give us a call on 02074425880 or email help@drewberry.co.uk.

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