Small business employees in a meeting

Which benefits do employees value most?

20 February 2023

Employee benefits can sometimes be an overlooked aspect of recruitment and employee retention, with salary often being viewed as the primary motivator for candidates. Salary does, of course, still play an important role, with one survey from Canada Life finding that 34% of employees would like their company to offer salaries or bonuses at or above the industry average.1 However, employees and job seekers are increasingly placing a priority on the overall benefits package on offer when job hunting. 

This is evident in the fact that one research study found that 69% of employees would choose one job over another if it offered better benefits.2 The same study found that 75% of employees are more likely to stay with their employer because of their employee benefits package.2

As well as having benefits for your team, an employee benefits package can also have a positive impact on your business. Research from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) found that 60% of SMEs acknowledge that providing health and wellbeing benefits has a high impact on supporting the productivity of their company.3 

The impact of Covid-19 on health and wellbeing benefits

The focus on health and wellbeing has become more apparent in recent years. Research by Unum found that more than four-fifths (86%) of employers are changing their approach to employee health and wellbeing due to the Coronavirus pandemic.4 The study found that 95% of employers said that the pandemic has impacted their need to make employees feel more protected.

So which benefits do employees value most?

Flexible working

During the Coronavirus pandemic, many people found themselves working from home for the first time. While some people missed the office environment, many found that they enjoyed the flexibility that can come with working from home. It now looks as though this sway to a more flexible style of working is here to stay. 

Research by TUC found that more than four out of five (82%) of workers in Britain wanted to work flexibly in the future.5 The most popular forms of flexible working identified amongst respondents were remote working, flexi-time and part-time work but workers also liked job sharing, annualised hours, term time only working, compressed hours and mutually-agreed predictable hours to be made available to them.

Private medical insurance

A survey by Canada Life found that private medical insurance was the second most desired benefit after pay rises, with 29% of those surveyed saying they would like their employer to offer this benefit.1 Only 15% of respondents said they currently received private medical insurance from their employer.1 Private medical insurance can have a number of benefits for your business if it’s added to your employee benefits package. These can include:

  • More flexible medical appointments and more choice over where and when you are seen
  • Helps to get you and your team back on your feet quickly with speedy access to diagnosis and treatment
  • You’ll often have access to online GP services meaning that you won’t need to take time out of your day to visit a GP

What other employee benefits can I offer my team?

Alongside the above benefits, you could also consider including the following in your employee benefits package:

  • Discounted gym membership and other wellbeing incentives
  • Life insurance
  • Family leave
  • Continued education and professional development
  • Retirement planning

How we can help

With small business health insurance from AXA Health, you’ll show your employees that you really value what they do for you. That you’re ready to invest in their health and wellbeing – and in getting them back on their feet again quickly if they become unwell.

We think that the best way for you to get the healthcare cover that works best for you is to let you build your plan yourself. That’s why we offer you a range of cover options to choose from, so you can get the cover that works best for your business and your budget. 

Regardless of the cover options that you choose, you’ll have access to the following benefits included as standard:

  • Access to our 24/7 online GP service, Doctor at Hand. With Doctor at Hand, you and your team will have access to phone or video appointments with a GP at a time and place that works for you (Appointments are subject to availability)
  • Wellbeing incentives. Up to 40% off monthly gym membership* for you and your employees
  • Cancer and heart care. Support and reassurance at the end of the phone from our team of dedicated nurses
  • Bone, muscle and joint support. Get to the bottom of aches and pains with no need for a GP referral. Speak to the right expert online or over the phone. Our Working Body service is available to members aged 18 and over.
  • Health support line. Our team of nurses, counsellors, midwives and pharmacists are on hand to support you and to help put your mind at ease.

Find out more about our business health insurance, including what is and isn’t covered, and get a quote today

Sources and references

1Canada Life, 2022

2Employee Benefits, 2019

3ABI, 2021

4Unum via Employee Benefits, 2020

5TUC, 2021

*Discount applies to Nuffield Health fitness and wellbeing centre monthly individual membership only. Your employees must provide proof of membership and/or employer. You, your spouse, partner or dependent must be a named member on a current AXA Health  healthcare plan to get a 40% discount and be 18 years or older. As a member, you can access your home club (the one you select on joining) as well as many more clubs around the country. These depend on your home club. You must use your home club at least 50% of the time. The joining fee is £39 and may be subject to change by Nuffield Health. Existing members of Nuffield Health who transfer to a 40% off AXA Health discount will be charged a £39 administration fee by Nuffield Health. Read full terms and conditions at

40% off Nuffield Health 24/7 online memberships - available to all your employees and their spouses when you take out a healthcare plan with AXA Health. Read full terms and conditions at

40% off the purchase of a Hussle Monthly+ pass is available to members on an AXA Health healthcare plan. A partner or spouse and direct dependants included on their healthcare plan can also get 40% off the purchase of a Hussle Monthly+ pass. 33% off a Hussle Monthly+ pass is available to employees of AXA Health healthcare clients not covered by a company healthcare plan. They must provide proof of employer. Read full terms and conditions at