Pariti Talent

The Importance of Comprehensive Employee Benefits in African Startups and Companies: A Win-Win Strategy for Growth

October 13, 2023
Osato Asabor

When asked, the average employee would generally retort that the salary package they are offered plays one of the biggest roles in determining where they work. While this might be true, in the past year we have spent connecting top talent to opportunities, we have seen first-hand the difference a comprehensive benefits package can make in swaying and/or retaining highly sought-after talent.

These benefits can range from health insurance to unlimited leave days and even company-sponsored gym memberships. Our in-depth salary benchmarks data reveals companies that offer a minimum of five such benefits, markedly enhancing their employee engagement and retention rates.

Employee Benefits Survey

It Boosts Employee Engagement

Intrinsic motivation goes beyond financial incentives. As simple as it might sound, it’s important to remember that employees are people first and want to feel valued. A good benefits package shows that a company cares about its employees and can enrich an employee’s work-life balance, promote skill development, and foster a sense of belonging, thereby keeping them motivated to do good work. Companies that invest in team events, for example, facilitate environments where employees can build rapport and cultivate better working relationships, ultimately leading to more synergy and productivity. At Tappi, Stacy, People Operations Lead, highlights that they have informal hangouts to “bring the team together and build healthy camaraderie. This has helped us break any existing silos.”

It’s A Great Retention Strategy

Recruiting talent is an investment; retaining that talent reaps the dividends. Benefits, like extended parental leave, pension contributions, and life insurance, can make it less likely that employees would need to worry about things like finances, medical expenses, and child care. If employees are more confident about personal matters before, during, or after work, they can pour their focus into their tasks and career advancement. As a result, they are less likely to feel the need to job-hop.

It Provides A Safety Net

Taking learnings from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s clear that if fundamentals aren’t met, it would be difficult for us humans to be motivated beyond it.

Health insurance and pension contributions aren’t just perks; they're a safety net that can greatly contribute to the well-being of the employee. These benefits minimize the stress often associated with health emergencies or retirement planning, allowing employees to have the bandwidth to focus more on their roles within a company. If employees are encouraged to stay healthy and given the tools to do so, they are likely to feel more empowered, have fewer sick days, and be more effective at work.

Employee Benefits Across Leading Companies: A Deep Dive

We spoke to some companies who take their employee benefits very seriously. These are some of the insights on how they do it and why it matters.

Turaco's approach to employee benefits, as explained by Martin, Head of People Operations, reflects their commitment to making every perk count. Rather than casting a wide net, they’ve channeled their resources into benefits that their employees will genuinely utilize. This philosophy is seen in their decisions to offer perks such as health insurance, pension, and stock options. With operations in multiple countries, Turaco has a unique challenge. They strive to ensure there's equity in benefits across borders, even as they navigate diverse local practices. Regular feedback is a part of their strategy. Monthly engagement surveys, for instance, help them gauge which benefits truly resonate with the team.

At Tappi, there's a noticeable emphasis on team dynamics. Stacy from Tappi believes in the power of informal hangouts and an open-door policy to bridge the gap between team members. This approach, she believes, has helped create an environment where silos are broken down, and healthy camaraderie thrives. The sentiment is echoed by Keith, a mid-level Engineer at Tappi, who feels that the company’s informal events, like potlucks, have added a layer of comfort in interactions. These events, in Keith's perspective, translate to smoother conflict resolutions and better collaborations.

When you speak to Mathias, CEO at Julaya, you get a sense of a company that’s deeply attuned to its employees’ basic needs. The foundational thought, he says, is freeing employees from worries about basic needs like food and health. This approach, grounded in the Maslow's pyramid, encourages employees to be more audacious in their roles. By closely listening to their team through quarterly people surveys, Julaya stays adaptive, recently introducing training programs tailored to the feedback they received.

Helium Health, on the other hand, is all about striking the right balance. Their benefits package is a reflection of multiple driving forces: staying competitive in the market, fostering internal equity, and maintaining a performance-based approach to compensation. They believe in ensuring that every employee, regardless of their tenure, feels a deep connection to the company's success and direction.

These companies, each in their unique way, are pioneering approaches to employee benefits. They demonstrate that perks are not just about attracting talent, but about nurturing an environment where every employee feels valued, understood, and poised for success.

Are Employee Benefits Beneficial for Companies?

The short answer is yes. Contrary to the belief that benefits drain resources, the opposite is often true. Having a motivated and loyal workforce can increase productivity, reduce turnover costs, and elevate the overall performance of the company. The costs associated with high turnover are better invested in getting the employees you already have to enjoy working with you and stay.

When employees are well taken care of, they are very likely to become a voice for your company, boosting the company's reputation and helping you to attract even more high-quality talent.

Although the ROI on comprehensive employee benefits might take a while to come to fruition, one thing is clear: offering a range of employee benefits is a win-win for both employers and employees. The role they play in employee engagement and retention cannot be overstated. As the African startup ecosystem continues to mature, companies that invest in comprehensive benefits will stand out as desirable places to work, attract top talent, and achieve sustainable growth. Win, win, win!

If you would like more specific insights into setting up a comprehensive employee benefits package, send us an email at or book time to speak with us here and we’d be happy to help.