Stephanie Dwilson

Health Care Budgets: How an SMB Uses Strategic Thinking to Attract Top Talent

In our running series, we talk with SMB executives about the challenges they encounter providing health care coverage to their employees. This entry shows you how to use your insurance benefits to attract and retain top talent at your company.

Being strategic with health care budgets is a vital part of staying competitive. As a small business, you want to attract top talent, even if you can’t compete with the salaries a larger company can afford. You can make up for this with other types of benefits, including health care coverage. Mungo Creative Group, a digital content marketing agency, does just that by covering the total cost of health insurance for full-time employees. Jake Messier, chief operating officer and principal of Mungo, explained that this not only attracts new talent but helps keep the quality employees they already have.

Finding a Plan That Works with Remote Employees

One of the driving factors behind Mungo’s health care choice was finding a plan that could be used by everyone, including those who worked remotely. They ultimate chose to offer a Gold-level plan with vision, dental and life insurance as part of the benefits package. They pay 100 percent of the health insurance premiums for full-time employees, and if employees are married or have children, they pay 50 percent of the difference in the upgrade, Messier explained.

Choosing the right plan took a lot of research.

“We went through a variety of options but because much of our team is remote, we had to find a plan that covered the seven to eight states that our employees are in,” said Messier. “I think that was the biggest driver.”

Budgeting for Health Care

For Mungo, finding room in the budget for the health care plan is worthwhile because it lets both current employees and prospective hires know just how much they’re valued. Hiring isn’t just about offering a salary, but about offering a full package to potential candidates. To make room in the budget for every new hire, they add 30 percent to the hire’s salary, ensuring they can cover the health plan expenses for the long term.

“It’s not just about the money,” Messier explained, “it’s the perceived value that our employees get when they realize that we don’t want to have them worry about health care from an insurance standpoint. It’s a differentiator for us to talk about in a very crowded environment.”

Providing Safety and Security

Messier explained that by offering health care, the business can meet the unique needs of their millennial hires. As a start-up, Mungo can’t compete with bigger competitors on things like salary, but they can offer other benefits that are appreciated even more.

“As we’re a company of millennials, we knew that (salary) isn’t the only driver of that generation,” he said. “Safety and security — which comes with the insurance itself, as well as a feeling of belonging — which comes from our team investing in the employees, are often big drivers for our millennial team members.”

Meeting these unique millennial needs has meant a lot to both new hires and current talent.

“We do find when interviewing top talent that our health care plans are a big attractor for those making a decision,” Messier said. ” … (And) employees have told us that they feel part of the team immediately knowing that the company is investing in them starting day one.”

For Mungo Creative Group, providing security and value through health care budgets is the perfect investment.

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Stephanie Dwilson has extensive experience providing expertise on topics including health, law and marketing. She’s a science journalist published by Fox News, a marketing expert and a non-practicing attorney with experience in personal injury law. She’s also a small business expert featured by Businessweek and has worked as a PR lead for one of the largest churches in America.