Which benefits do employees value most?

  • 04 Dec 2019

By Mike Davis, Head of SME Direct, AXA PPP healthcare

Every SME team is different, with different wants and needs in relation to workplace wellbeing programmes and employee benefits.  Some people may place the most value on having the option to be able to work flexibly, whereas others may enjoy having the opportunity to socialise with their colleagues outside of work.

With so many different options available, where does an SME owner start when introducing a workplace wellbeing programme and employee benefits package?

Which are the most valued benefits?

While all teams are different when it comes to what they want from their employee benefits package, there can often be some commonalities that arise when employees are asked about the benefits that they value. According to a survey conducted on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare, SME employees voted the following benefits as being the most important to them1:

  • Additional holiday for length of service (31%)
  • The ability to flex my hours at the beginning and end of the day (29%)
  • The ability to work from home (27%)
  • A day off for my birthday (24%)
  • Private medical insurance (23%)

This shows that employees often place value on the benefits that may be more beneficial to their long term health and wellbeing. Flexible working hours and being able to work from home may mean that your team can establish a better work life balance than the standard 9-5 working day may allow, which could make them happier and therefore more productive at work. According to a study by the University of Warwick, happy employees were 12% more productive2.


When asked about the benefits that employees think they get from the health and wellbeing strategy they have in place at work, 51% said it reduces stress, 44% said it improves mental health and 39% said it improves productivity1. However, despite this a recent survey of small business owners conducted on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare found that 82% don’t have a health and wellbeing strategy in place3.

What are the benefits for the business?

As well as having the potential to improve productivity and reduce stress for employees, including a benefit such as private medical insurance in your workplace wellbeing programme could help you to attract the best people to your business. And it could help you to retain your current team too. According to research by Canada Life, 85% of employees are more likely to work for employers who offer clearly labelled benefits4.

When creating an employee benefits package, it’s important for business owners to speak with their team to find out what they’d ideally like to see included in the package. It can often be tempting to develop a package that you think your team wants, however this can result in under-utilised benefits that can end up being costly. While you may not be able to implement all of your team’s suggestions, it will help you get a clearer view of what’s important to them and which benefits they place the most value on.

AXA PPP healthcare small business health insurance

You know your business better than anybody. That’s why at AXA PPP healthcare we think that the best way for you to get the healthcare cover that’s right for you and your team is to let you build your plan yourself. Perhaps your biggest priority is giving your team quick access to medical help when they need it. Maybe you only want cover for therapies like physio. You can create your healthcare cover plan by simply picking the cover options that you’d like*.

No matter which options you choose, all of our small business health insurance plans come with unlimited access to our online GP service, [email protected] (provided by Doctor Care Anywhere). With [email protected], you and your team can get a 20 minute online or phone appointment with a GP at a time and place that suits you. Appointments are subject to availability. Fair usage policy applies.


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

*Certain restrictions apply if you’re buying healthcare cover for 1 – 2 people only. More information can be found in our small business health insurance brochure.

Offer for FSB members

As an FSB member, when you take out small business health insurance with us at AXA PPP healthcare, each member covered under the plan can choose one of the following offers (terms and conditions apply):

  • FitBit Charge 3
  • AXA ActivePlus vouchers worth £150


Find out more about our offer for FSB members


Sources and references
1Research by onepoll on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare of 1500 employees working for companies of up to 250 people, May 2019
2University of Warwick
3Research by onepoll of 200 business owners/key decision makers of companies of up to 250 employees
4Canada Life, 2018
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