4 Aspects of Employee Benefits You’re Overlooking

Finding great employees is tough, particularly if you own a small business. It’s difficult to compete with the salaries and benefits packages large companies can offer. Still, small businesses are duty bound to try. It’s the benefits that go above and beyond the norm that will attract and retain the best talent.

The chief return on your benefits investment, of course, is great employees. However, some employee perks can even benefit your company’s bottom line. As you consider your benefits package, here are four aspects of employee benefits you might be overlooking.

1. Retirement Plans Can Be Within Reach for Small Businesses

Most employees don’t want to work forever. That means they need to save for retirement, and a Social Security check alone won’t cut the mustard.

Mostly long gone are the days when retirement plans were pensions guaranteeing a set monthly payment to retired employees. Such plans were likely never viable for small and medium-size businesses. Now retirement benefits involve 401(k) plans, which are not only more affordable, but also more portable when an employee moves on.

Moreover, small business 401k plans come with a range of options. Employers can contribute to, match, or not contribute to their employees’ accounts at all.

There are also choices for managing 401(k) plans. Some companies charge less than $50 as a base fee and as little as $8 per employee per month. In exchange, they do all the heavy lifting with regard to recordkeeping, tracking contributions and earnings, and managing payroll withholding.

These companies can ensure compliance so small business owners don’t run afoul of IRS and ERISA rules and regulations. Just make sure you shop around. Dive into the fees of different companies and see which ones fall in line with what you can afford based on your company size.

If you thought offering retirement benefits to your employees was too rich for your blood, think again. Find the plan that fits your budget. Then, offer a benefit that might have prospective talent thinking again about working for you.

2. There’s More Than One Way to Offer Health Insurance

Would employees take a lower-paying job in exchange for better health benefits? A recent survey found that 30% of its respondents would trade a higher salary for better benefits.

It’s no surprise that health insurance is one of the most attractive benefits around. Even with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance is cost-prohibitive to many in the workforce. Small employers in particular simply have been unable to afford to provide it.

The health insurance landscape is changing, however, and that’s great news for businesses of all sizes. Not only are there more ways they can offer the benefit, there are tax advantages to employers who do.

A Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) lets employers to reimburse employees for health insurance and medical expenses. For example, you could give each of your employees $400 a month to use to buy their own insurance. The payment is tax-free to employees and a tax deduction for employers.

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) also save employees on taxes and allow employers to write off expenses. The ACA offers the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) for employers with 50 or fewer employees. Chambers of commerce are even offering affordable plans by creating local insurance pools combining small businesses.

You no longer need a huge pool of employees to invest in a company health plan. New options make offering this benefit affordable to every employer. Use one to hook those recruits and reel them in.

3. You Can Put a Little Flex in Your Scheduling Step

One of the great lessons of the pandemic was realizing how much work employees could do from home. Of course, WFH doesn’t lend itself to some businesses, such as retail and hospitality. Nonetheless, the lesson of flexibility can be applied across a range of business types.

Flexible scheduling, part-time work, compressed work weeks, and WFH arrangements are great perks for employees. They offer a better work-life balance that’s especially valued by Millennials in the workforce. Flexibility has been shown to attract and retain employees, increase productivity, and reduce absenteeism.

Flexibility in paid time off (PTO) policies is also an attractive benefit. With PTO, you give employees a certain number of days off with pay to use however they wish. Healthy employees get more vacation days, and those who often have to stay home with sick kids aren’t penalized.

Employers might also consider unlimited PTO. This allows employees to take off as much time as they want. So long as they’re still carrying out their responsibilities and not hurting the business, they can enjoy more hours off the clock.

An increasing number of employers are also developing more generous family leave policies. These might include longer parental leaves for both women and men. Family leave policies that go above and beyond FMLA requirements are an employee magnet.

Flexibility in time spent on the job and off is undoubtedly an investment in employees. The returns on that investment may entail more than retaining good workers. It might make them happier and more productive employees to boot.

4. Little Things Mean a Lot

It really is the little things in life that make a big difference. A company’s investment in employees might reap substantial rewards. And some may not cost anything at all.

A small business may lack the financial resources to go big on perks. However, unlike companies with hundreds of employees, the perks may be uniquely personalized to individuals.

For example, say you strike a deal with a local gym to offer free access to your employees. But what about those who aren’t into weightlifting, spinning, or yoga? That gym membership won’t be much of a draw.

Consider offering those employees movie theater or museum passes or Starbucks gift cards of equal value. The fewer employees you have, the more tailored your perks can be. The more tailored the perks, the stronger the recruitment and retention tool they are.

How about those employees who use their personal mobile devices for their jobs? Providing an identity theft protection plan keeps them and your business secure. There’s also that choice parking spot for the peer-selected employee of the month, which costs nothing to provide.

Employers don’t have to spend massive amounts of money to keep employees from straying. Look at the benefits packages offered by big companies then right-size them for yours. Just don’t overlook the aspects that may make those benefits a boon for everyone.

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