If you own a small business, you know how critical it is to recruit and retain top talent. While you have to manage costs effectively, you also need to find ways to incent employees to do their best, and stay around for the long haul. Benefits offer a great way to do that — and you can flex your creativity as you design a benefit package.
Want to remain competitive among your peers? Do your best to offer health insurance and retirement savings plans. For example:
- Choose from traditional or managed care/HMO (health maintenance organization) health plans. Note: HMOs can help you save on costs, but they may provide fewer options for care providers.
- High-deductible health plans (HDHP) allow employees to save money in a health savings account (HSA) for future health-related expenses. This is an easy way to help them take on the higher up-front costs associated with these plans in the event of an illness or injury.
Most employees desire a good savings plan to help put them on the right path to a comfortable retirement. There are several options available: 401(k) plans, SIMPLE savings plans, and SEP-IRAs. Talk to a financial advisor to determine which may fit your company’s needs the best.
Other traditional options
Other traditional benefits could include things like:
- Life insurance
These policies generally provide employees' survivors a death benefit in a set amount or an amount based on salary.
- Disability insurance
These plans provide employees with an income stream should they become disabled. Benefit amounts are typically a percentage of salary.
- Vision and dental coverage
These plans tend to be highly valued by employees, as the costs associated with dental and vision treatments are generally not covered by health insurance.
If you want to take your benefits package to the next level, be creative. Perks like these can set you apart in a competitive marketplace:
Encourage employees to take better care of themselves with an incentive-based wellness program. This may include things like paying a portion of employees’ insurance premiums or deductibles, making an extra contribution to a tax-advantaged savings account, or offering gift cards, cash, or merchandise for employees who exercise regularly or reach specific health goals. You could also arrange to pay for gym memberships for employees.
Flexible work arrangements
These days, most people value time just about as much as money. A sound approach to work-life balance can go a long way toward good employee morale. Flexible schedules are becoming more and more popular across a broad range of industries. When possible, you may want to consider options like:
- Flex schedules, which allow employees to work slightly different hours to accommodate their family life. For instance, they might come in early and leave early, or come in late and work late.
- Condensed work weeks — for example, working four, 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days
- Telecommuting from home or another remote location
- Job-sharing, which allows two or more employees to "share" the same job, essentially doing the work of one full-time employee. For example, one person might work Monday through Wednesday morning, and another works Wednesday afternoon through Friday.
- Part-time hours, allowing employees to cut back their schedules during certain life stages
Depending on the needs of your employees and your business, you could also consider a combination of any of these approaches. For instance, perhaps a certain position requires some time working on-site with your team, but could allow for telecommuting hours for a portion of the week.
We all have emergencies and life needs to attend to at various times — from occasional doctors’ appointments to family commitments or sick relatives who need assistance. Having a process in place to support people through these times can create tremendous loyalty.
Schedule some casual time for people to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Have a lot of athletes on your team? Plan a hike or bike ride. Need some time away? Take your team out for a happy hour or dinner. For some, an annual retreat can be a great idea as well.
Consider partnering with other local businesses to provide discounted laundry services, dry cleaning pick-up/drop-off, or food delivery for your employees, so they don’t have to worry about personal needs during work hours.
Money concerns can distract employees. Consider having a local financial expert, such as a Horizon Bank Advisor, come into your business and speak to your team members about common financial issues.
Whatever you do, of course, it pays to talk with your employees first, to see what benefits would be most useful and beneficial to them.