Contract Risk Academy Blog

22 Affordable Employee Benefits That Boost Employee Morale

employee benefits employee morale team building volunteer Mar 15, 2024

an article by Noelle McCall

Employee benefits are crucial for a thriving organization, enhancing job satisfaction, attracting and retaining talent, and promoting overall workplace morale. Even with budget constraints, there are numerous low-cost and no-cost benefits that can significantly impact employee happiness and productivity.  

Here are 22 budget-friendly employee benefits that appeal to team members, some of which I've used myself:

  1. Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer flexible work hours or remote work options to improve work-life balance and reduce stress.
  2. Flexible Vacation Policies: Implement unlimited or flexible vacation policies to give employees autonomy and reduce burnout.
  3. Wellness Programs: Organize yoga classes, meditation sessions, or health challenges to promote physical and mental well-being.
  4. Family-Friendly Policies: Provide parental leave, flexible childcare arrangements, or assistance with adoption expenses to support employees with family responsibilities.
  5. Professional Development Opportunities: Invest in online courses, workshops, or conferences for employees to demonstrate a commitment to employee career growth.
  6. Employee Recognition Programs: Establish systems for publicly acknowledging and rewarding outstanding performance to boost job satisfaction.
  7. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Offer confidential support for employees dealing with personal or work-related issues to promote well-being.
  8. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) or Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): Allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars for medical expenses to reduce financial burden.
  9. Financial Education Workshops: Provide resources or workshops on personal finance management to alleviate financial stress.
  10. Mentorship Programs: Facilitate knowledge transfer and career development by offering mentoring resources within the organization.
  11. Paid Volunteer Time: Grant paid time off for employees to volunteer with charitable organizations to foster a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Giving back to the community fosters a sense of
    purpose and fulfillment. You can also offer these as company-sponsored volunteer days for groups of employees who want to volunteer together, which has the added bonus of promoting team bonding. 
  12. Casual Dress Code: Relax dress code policies to increase employee comfort and morale, such as casual Fridays where employees have the option to wear blue jeans and sneakers. 
  13. Summer Hours: Offer summer hours, such as closing early on Fridays, to demonstrate flexibility during vacation season.
  14. Employee Discount Programs: Provide discounts on everyday purchases to improve financial literacy and boost company loyalty. Remember that exclusive discounts depend on partnerships and negotiations, and their benefits may vary for each employee based on their interests and preferences.
  15. Health and Wellness Resources: Offer access to mental health hotlines, virtual counseling sessions, or fitness apps to prioritize employee well-being.
  16. Employee Activity Team: If you have a larger office, consider allowing employees to form an Employee Activity Team led by employee volunteers. This team could then plan fun employee gatherings. They might also publish an employee newsletter once a quarter where they pick a different employee each time to interview and feature in the newsletter as the employee of the quarter to help people get to know each other. 
  17. Gourmet Coffee: Invest in a gourmet coffee maker with easy-to-use coffee pods for your employee break room. Many employees appreciate this "perk"! (Pardon the pun. I couldn't help myself!)
  18. Company Events: Have special employee appreciation events, such as a company-sponsored Fall or Spring BBQ at a local park on a weekday afternoon when the weather is nice. 
  19. Ice Cream Social: In the summer months have an ice cream social. Bring in lots of ice cream, along with fun toppings, and fresh fruit. Let employees create their own sundaes and ice cream cones. You can also hire an ice cream truck to park outside your office and give each employee a ticket to get one ice cream treat of their choice. This also will give employees from different departments a chance to chat and get to know one another. 
  20. Candy Hunt: Choose one day before Easter &/or Halloween and hide candy around the office. Let employees hunt for the candy.
  21. Costume Contest: Near Halloween, have a costume contest where employees can dress up in costumes. Have prizes for the top 3 costumes. Vote on the contest by gathering employees and having them clap for their favorites to choose the winners.
  22. Thank You Cards: Provide employees with thank you cards (can be printed or virtual) and encourage them to give one to another employee who helps them or who does a great job. A simple thank you card can make someone's day so much brighter!  

These low-cost or no-cost benefits can create a supportive work environment, attract and retain top talent, boost morale and productivity, and strengthen the organization's overall success and reputation.

True Story: Many years ago, I created and led a group of 14 volunteers at my office to plan fun employee events. We called the group the Employee Activity Team (or "EAT" for short, which was aptly named as we did a lot of eating at the employee events). We had 2 goals: to help employees get to know each other (as we were spread out across 3 floors of our office building after we merged with another company), and to improve employee morale (which had decreased due to the merger). As time went on, we saw a remarkable increase in employee morale and team bonding. We also had a lot of fun and made some wonderful memories along the way! 

#employeemorale #teambuilding #employeebenefits #volunteer


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