The top 25 SMEs leading the charge in employee benefits
Employee benefits are rarely the main reason a great hire will come to work for you, we know. At the same time, a well-chosen set of offerings can boost your team’s mood, productivity, and make your company one to shout about to their great friends. We’ve all heard the legends of Google and Facebook’s benefits - gourmet food on tap, generous parental leave, and 20% of your time to work on a personal project (plus dogs, we’ve heard there are dogs.) But how do you compete without a Google-sized budget? Lots of small- and medium-sized companies are showing us the way.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration for your company’s benefits, here we’ve put together the best 25 UK start-ups and scale-ups for employee benefits.
Health and Wellness
Top perk ⭐️ Personal wellness budget
Everything else: 2 x annual volunteering days, L&D budget, Friday team drinks
This digital assets checker knows the value of team wellbeing. With a personal wellness budget, people can look after themselves with services that best match their needs.
Top perk ⭐️ 24/7 private GP access
Everything else: Life insurance, life coaching, EAP services, Calm subscription, FIIT subscription, gym discount, ride to work scheme, nutritionist access, discounted shopping vouchers, season ticket loan, 6 x night nanny nights for new parents + Curve Metal subscription
This “your wallet in one card” provider offers extensive benefits to keep their team healthy and happy - think a meditation subscription, free workouts and even access to a nutritionist.
Top perk ⭐️Free yoga
Everything else: Share options, Perkbox subscription, cycle to work scheme, 10% off at Cubitts
Here team members can align their chakras - and their back - every week with weekly yoga classes. Other top perks include share options and flexible working hours.
Wealth and Finance
Top perk ⭐️ Choose your own salary
Everything else: £2000 L&D budget, 3x annual volunteering days, subsidised health insurance, weekly team lunch allowance, 18 weeks paid maternity leave, 4 weeks paid paternity leave, interest-free personal loans, cycle to work scheme, wellness & fun days, office snacks
Deciding how much you earn doesn’t sound real, but these government funding experts do a lot of things in their own way. Other benefits include a £2000 L&D budget, 18 weeks paid maternity leave and volunteering days.
Top perk ⭐️Income protection
Everything else: 6x salary life insurance cover, full access to the YuLife app, monthly wellness allowance, regular health and wellness sessions, employee assistance platform access, weekly team breakfasts
This company wellness and life insurance provider gives its team full access to its product, on top of exercises classes, a running app and an extra day off for your birthday.
Top perk ⭐️5% bonus on Chip account
Everything else: Share options, Classpass or gym membership, 5% Chip account bonus, £1500 annual training budget
These guys help their customers save better - and they help their employees do the same while they’re at it. As well as an extra bonus on their Chip savings, everyone gets a sizeable learning and development budget, a gym membership and unlimited holiday.
Learning and Personal Development
Top perk ⭐️Business coaching
Everything else: in-house counsellor, productivity & wellness budget, personal development budget, working from home supplies, company merchandise
The English learning app for kids values its team’s development too. As well as finding everyone a business coach, they offer a wellness budget, an in-house counsellor and (best of all?) plenty of company merch.
Top perk ⭐️3 flexible development budgets
Everything else: Private health & dental insurance, cycle to work scheme, personal fitness & wellness budget, weekly team workouts
Here you get to use your learning and development, health and wellness and hobbies budgets exactly how you feel you’ll benefit most. That’s on top of free team workouts and your own Fiit device and subscription (so not the place for couch potatoes 🥔)
Top perk ⭐️Paid volunteering
Everything else: Weekly team lunch, employee assistance programme, 1 x volunteering day per quarter, Audible subscription, weekly yoga classes
With these data researchers you get paid to give something back - for a cause of your choice one day every quarter. You also get an Audible subscription, weekly yoga classes (currently on Zoom) and paid socials.
Top perk ⭐️Unlimited annual leave
Everything else: Full private healthcare, 26 weeks fully paid parental leave for primary caregivers, 4 weeks for secondary caregivers, discounted gym membership, life insurance
There’s no need to obsess over how many annual leave days you get here - you just take them when it’s best for you and the business. Other perks include private health care and a dog-friendly office.
Top perk ⭐️Team trip to a secret destination
Everything else: Stock options, choice between London & Athens offices
If you like surprises, you’ll like Plum’s annual mystery destination trip (unless the destination is a conference centre in zone 5). You also get the choice to switch between their London or Athens office when you like.
Top perk ⭐️Summer camp
Everything else: Weekly company lunch, monthly team events
Whether you enjoyed Summer camp or not as a kid, Echobox’s week of learning, creative brainstorming and bonding should be an improvement. They also offer free lunch once a week and a generous pension contribution.
Top perk ⭐️Cheese day
Everything else: Share options, buy & sell holiday benefit, subsidised Classpass or gym membership, healthcare cash plan programme, discounted ISA account, L&D budget, money to invest through the Seedrs programme
Yes, you read that right. A day of cheese on the company account - sounds pretty gouda (sorry, that was cheesy). Their team also gets a monthly contribution to Virgin Active or ClassPass plus a discounted Smarterly ISA account.
Top perk ⭐️IKEA discount
Everything else: L&D budget, health insurance, monthly TaskRabbit budget, free daily lunch, weekly meditation sessions, Fit Club
No home is complete without at least one item from the Swedish flatpack giants. As well as your IKEA discount, these guys give their team weekly meditation classes and a monthly TaskRabbit budget (where they can book someone to assemble their new flatpack furniture!)
Top perk ⭐️ Company retreats and team offsites across the UK or abroad (if corona-proofed)
Everything else: Flexible working, private health insurance, gym discounts, in-house yoga classes, nursery benefit, enhanced maternity and shared parental leave, L&D budget
When the office (or working from home) gets a bit repetitive, iwocans love going to places like the Alps or Sicily for a change of scene. Flexi working, medical insurance, subsidised childcare as well as food, drinks and games in the office are some of the many perks iwocans get to enjoy.
Top perk ⭐️Matched charity contributions
Everything else: Private health insurance, Classpass membership, carbon off-set matching, £600 quarterly L&D budget, season ticket loan, cycle to work scheme
Whatever cause is close to their team members’ hearts, Portify gives charity donations that match theirs. They can also keep fit at whatever class suits them with a ClassPass membership, and they get private healthcare too.
Top perk ⭐️£500 work from home allowance
Everything else: £1000 annual L&D budget, healthcare cashback scheme, £500 work from home budget or Runway East hotdesk
These guys made working from home easier - before it was cool! They’re also flexible with working hours and provide a generous L&D budget too.
Family & Kids
Top perk ⭐️A “loved ones” travel budget
Everything else: Perkbox subscription, Headspace subscription, 36 days paid annual leave, Health & Wellbeing scheme, Professional Development budget, one “unsick day” per year for health admin
For workers missing family and partners overseas, Impala dishes out to bring them over. And if that doesn’t warm your heart, they also give free access to mental wellbeing apps Headspace and Calm to keep everyone feeling their best.
Top perk ⭐️Generous parental leave
Everything else: Gym membership, childcare vouchers, private health insurance
This repairs software company offers well beyond the statutory maternity and paternity package. They also pay for childcare vouchers and private health insurance.
Top perk ⭐️Pawternity leave
Everything else: Stock options, Perkbox subscription, enhanced parental leave
No, that’s not a typo - family includes our furry companions too. In the times when everyone isn’t working from home anyway, they let workers do so when they get a puppy - so they can bond! For the arrival of human babies, they also offer enhanced parental leave.
Food and drink
Top perk ⭐️Free lunch every day
Everything else: Monthly gym budget, private health insurance, lunchtime exercise classes, abroad offsites
Stuart’s team can pick their daily deliciousness with a generous food allowance. They also have offsites abroad and a monthly gym allowance (to work off all the free lunch).
Top perk ⭐️Thirsty Thursdays
Everything else: Flowers discount, twice weekly yoga classes, weekly team drinks, workplace nursery scheme, enhanced parental leave, health cash plans, season ticket loan, cycle to work scheme
When they’re office-based, the team can clock-off early and unwind with beers in the office. They also offer free breakfast every day and an overflow of office snacks.
Top perk ⭐️Free CityPantry deliveries
Everything else: Private health insurance, critical illness cover, childcare vouchers, travelcard loans, life insurance, beer taps in the office
Team members here get free gourmet food deliveries to their home. That’s on top of childcare vouchers, life insurance and private medical insurance.
Top perk ⭐️Free membership to Wine Society
Everything else: Free Wagestream access, 12 weeks paid maternity leave, 4 weeks paid paternity leave, cycle to work scheme, Calm subscription
Here they help their team stay mentally well with a Calm meditation subscription, and jolly with a membership for The Wine Society home delivery service.
Top perk ⭐️ Santander cycle keys
Everything else: Free career coaching and psychotherapy, stock options, company merch, 24 weeks paid maternity leave, 6 weeks paternity leave,
This company helps their team get around London without setting foot on the tube - with free Santander cycle keys - getting a good leg workout while they’re at it. They also help everyone get in a good place mentally - with free counselling and coaching.
Looking at the huge array of benefits these companies offer, it’s clear that you don’t need to fly your team to the moon to create a great company culture to give those tech giants a run for their money. Rather than dishing out all the benefits money can buy, the key is picking useful, delightful and flexible offerings that fit your team’s needs.
Think your company deserves to be on the list? Get in touch and let us know.