For hiring managers, recruiters, and business owners alike, employee retention is always a hot-button issue. It’s hard enough to find and hire good staff members, and you don’t want to lose them. Salary and benefits packages are always the biggest carrots to dangle, but it seems like more and more, people appreciate non-traditional employee benefits; fringe perks that make them feel valued. A Paychex Pulse HR survey of small businesses found these five to be the most popular.

Voluntary Benefits

While voluntary benefits are technically still a “traditional” benefit, so few employers offer them today.  Certain benefits such as cancer and critical illness insurance are highly valuable to employees that may have a history of cancer or heart conditions in their family.  Or if employees have active kids, offering an accident insurance plan can help them avoid financial surprises when injuries occur whether around the house or on the sports fields. 

Free Food

Not surprisingly, employees respond to a free cafeteria, or vouchers or gift cards for meals. Employees who get regular lunches or dinners at work tend to stick around.

Financial Guidance

It may seem strange, financial guidance sessions are important non-traditional employee benefits. It’s an area that affects everyone but is often overlooked by HR departments.

Event Perks

Do you do business with a local sports team or concert venue? If not, could you? Free tickets or passes, especially for events that employees can take their whole families to, are slam-dunk nontraditional employee benefits.


Depending on your business, you may have employees whose work is mostly done over the internet. If it doesn’t affect your operation negatively, you could consider allowing them to telecommute, even if it’s only a day or two a week. If an employee is trustworthy and driven, they may appreciate the opportunity. It will be easy to tell if their work remains consistent, suffers, or even improves!

Nontraditional employee benefits can help you retain and recruit. Think about what people respond to, and see if you can implement any of them at your company!