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Unique employee benefits

Small Business Big World Episode 14: Unique employee benefits for the modern workforce– An interview with Nate Moody from Lebel and Harriman

This is Small Business Big World, our weekly podcast prepared by the team at Paper Trails. Owning and running a small business is hard. Each week we’ll dive into the challenges, headaches, trends, fun and excitement of running a small business. After all, small businesses are the heartbeat of America and our team is here to keep them beating.

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In today’s fast-paced business world, attracting and retaining top talent has become a paramount issue for many businesses. As the job market evolves, so too do the expectations of employees when it comes to benefits and perks. In this episode of ‘Small Business Big World’, we take a look at some unique employee benefits, guided by the expertise of Nate Moody from Lebel and Harriman Retirement Advisors. Join us as we explore how small businesses are redefining the employee experience through unique benefits to create workplaces that truly stand out.

The rise of unique employee benefits

Nate Moody’s discussion touched upon a significant trend: the move towards benefits that cater to the holistic needs of employees. This shift recognizes that modern employees seek more than just a paycheck; they yearn for support in various aspects of their lives. For instance, the prevalence of student loan debt among young professionals has prompted companies to explore innovative solutions like expanded Section 127 plans. By easing the burden of loan payments, employers not only attract top talent but also demonstrate a genuine commitment to their workforce’s financial well-being.

The power of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs)

Another highlight of Moody’s insights was the transformative potential of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). These plans go beyond traditional benefits by granting employees actual stakes in the business. In doing so, ESOPs align the interests of the workforce with those of the company, fostering a sense of ownership and investment. When employees feel like true partners in the business, they are more likely to be motivated, productive, and committed for the long haul.

Tailoring unique employee benefits for retention

When it comes to retaining talent, the conversation is no longer solely about offering competitive salaries and healthcare benefits. Moody underscored the importance of personalization in benefits packages, citing the conversion of Paid Time Off (PTO) into student loan payments as an emerging practice. This approach not only provides financial relief but also reflects a broader trend towards flexibility and customization. By allowing employees to tailor their benefits to their unique circumstances, companies show that they understand and prioritize their employees’ individual needs, fostering deeper engagement and loyalty.

Low-cost, high-impact benefits

In addition to addressing financial concerns, Moody emphasized the significance of offering low-cost yet highly valued benefits that resonate with employees’ interests. For example, providing AAA memberships to car enthusiasts or creating custom calendars featuring employee contributions can foster a sense of pride and community within the organization. These seemingly small gestures can have a significant impact on employee morale and retention, demonstrating that thoughtful perks need not break the bank to make a difference.

Navigating tax implications

Lastly, the discussion delved into the often-overlooked aspect of tax implications associated with various benefits. Moody highlighted Section 129, a tax-advantaged dependent care benefit, as a critical consideration for businesses, particularly in light of the challenges of affordable childcare. By understanding and addressing the tax implications of employee benefits, companies can make informed decisions that not only benefit their employees but also their bottom line.


In conclusion, this conversation with Nate Moody from Lebel and Harriman offers a comprehensive look into the evolving landscape of unique employee benefits. By redefining traditional approaches and embracing innovation, businesses can create a workplace culture that attracts, retains, and empowers top talent, setting themselves apart in today’s competitive market.

This podcast is a production of Paper Trails. We are a payroll and HR company based in Kennebunk, Maine, and we serve small and mid-sized businesses across New England and the country. If you found this podcast helpful, don’t forget to follow us at at Paper Trails Payroll across all social media platforms and check us out at for more information. As a reminder, the views, opinions and thoughts expressed by the hosts and guests alone. The material presented in this podcast is for general information purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice. By inviting this guest to our podcast, Paper Trails does not imply endorsement of or opposition to any specific individual, organization, product or service.