HomeStartup InsightsWhat Benefits Do Startup Employees Want?

What Benefits Do Startup Employees Want?

As the startup landscape continues to evolve, it’s crucial to understand the benefits that employees truly value. We’ve gathered insights from 12 industry leaders, including CEOs, founders, and directors, to shed light on the top benefits that startup employees desire. From empowerment and having a voice to equity, experience, and contacts, discover the perks that can help attract and retain top talent in your startup.

  • Empowerment and Having a Voice
  • Dental Benefits 
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Continuing Education Perks
  • Social Responsibility Focus
  • Mentorship Programs
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Performance-Based Paid Leaves
  • Wellness Resources
  • Pension Benefits
  • Competitive Pay
  • Equity, Experience, and Contacts

Empowerment and Having a Voice

A voice is important for employees who join a startup, as they seek a place to feel empowered, have ownership over their work, and take the initiative. A startup needs this type of empowerment, ownership, teamwork, and collaboration to succeed and thrive. 

Allowing employees to have a voice, share their opinions, and be part of the decision-making process is a significant factor in their choice to work at a startup.

John Berry, CEO and Managing Partner, Berry Law

Dental Benefits 

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Dental health is linked to many different diseases, so offering dental benefits can be an important part of an employee’s total compensation package. 

For example, one company offered a dental discount plan for only $10 a month or $120 a year. Consider the market rate for employee benefits when determining compensation.

Dr. Ben Gibson, Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Award-Winning Pharmacist, Awesome We Can Do It Better Together

Networking Opportunities

Employees value opportunities to build their network, and companies should strive to provide this for them. 

Seminars, workshops, and events are excellent venues for employees to meet others in their field and expand their network. Creating opportunities for employees to attend these events is crucial, as it allows them to build a strong network and ultimately advance their careers.

Adam Wright, CEO, Human Tonik

Continuing Education Perks

Continuing education, either through an assigned budget or an in-work benefit, is a great perk for startup employees. This group tends to be younger on average and motivated to learn new things. Providing continuing education is also valuable for the company, as employees may change roles quickly and need resources to learn as they take on new responsibilities.

Trevor Ewen, COO, QBench

Social Responsibility Focus

Employees want to work for a company that cares about social and environmental responsibility. Startups should show a strong sense of social responsibility and commitment to positively impacting the world. This can include initiatives such as charitable giving, community outreach, or environmental sustainability programs.

Nilesh Rakholia, Director, Abelini

Mentorship Programs

Startup employees often desire mentorship from someone within the organization, ideally through a formal company-wide mentorship program. In today’s world, employees want to continue growing their careers, and finding support within their current company’s infrastructure is ideal.

Megan Dias, Career Services Coach, Parsity 

Work-Life Balance

Startups often have a more flexible work culture than traditional companies, which can include options for remote work, flexible hours, or unlimited vacation time. Providing a work-life balance is an important benefit that can improve employee happiness and job satisfaction.

Alice Hall, Co-founder and Creative Director, Rowen Homes

Performance-Based Paid Leaves

Startup employees often focus on the long run, which means maintaining a healthy mindset and work-life balance. One way to achieve this is by offering additional paid leaves based on performance. 

This not only motivates employees to produce their best work but also rewards them with time to regain balance. Offering paid leaves as incentives can lead to many positive outcomes.

Harry Morton, Founder, Lower Street

Wellness Resources

Since 2020, wellness has become increasingly important, and employees are more aware of its significance. 

To keep employees satisfied, connect them with various wellness resources to help maintain work-life balance. This can include licensed mental health professionals, paid retreats, additional leaves, or flexible hours. Employees are likely to prefer any benefit that adds balance and wellness to their lives.

Robert Lang, Director of Sales, Vivint.Security

Pension Benefits

A pension shows an employer’s commitment to their employees’ long-term well-being. The lack of a pension is often cited as a reason for rejecting a job offer. In a time when employee well-being and personal concerns take precedence over company interests, providing pensions and benefits is a vital component of retaining professionals.

Marco Genaro Palma, Co-founder, TechNews180

Competitive Pay

A competitive salary is a benefit that startup employees want. Although monetary compensation may not be the most important aspect for startup employees, it is still a key consideration. Employees want to be compensated fairly for their work and contributions to the company. Offering competitive pay is one way for startups to attract and retain top talent.

Daniel Foley Carter, Founder, Daniel Foley 

Equity, Experience, and Contacts

Startups may not always have the budget to pay employees what they could earn in an established corporate setting. Therefore, it’s important to compensate them in other ways. 

Startup employees want value that can’t be measured in dollars, which comes in three forms: equity in the company, experience, and contacts. Providing equity helps employees feel like owners who are part of something bigger than themselves. Allowing them to take on higher-level work and wear many hats helps them find their genuine passion. And, assisting them in building their network with business contacts can lead to long-term loyalty.

Dennis Consorte, Digital Marketing and Leadership Consultant for Startups, Snackable Solutions

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