While the desire to create a great small business benefits package may not have been one of the reasons you decided to go into business, if you want your company to thrive, the benefits you offer are of the utmost importance. Your benefits help keep your employees healthy, engaged and satisfied and are indispensable tools for recruiting and retaining talent. Getting benefits right does require hard work and resources, but the results can easily justify the investment.
Each business is different, and yours needs an employee benefits package that’s customized to serve the needs of you and your staff. Here’s some advice for navigating your options.
Prioritizing Health Insurance
Even though every business is unique, there is at least one common denominator: Any quality employee benefits package needs good health insurance at its base. After all, without healthy workers to staff it, your business can’t run. And health insurance was rated the top employee benefit in recent surveys by both Glassdoor and Fractl.
You may have lots of options if you’re located in a big city, and only a couple if you’re located in a small town. Make sure your in-network doctors and hospitals are convenient to where your employees live and work. If everyone is in the same small city, that’s pretty easy. But if people have long commutes or work from home, you’ll want to make sure everyone has the chance for coverage. Health insurance doesn’t mean much if you can’t actually see a doctor. Remember that telemedicine options can help bridge these gaps — and save money — so ask about them as you shop around.
Keep overall costs in mind — not just premiums. Perhaps a health savings account (HSA) paired with a high deductible (low premium) plan is right for your employees. Ensure that your prescription drug plan includes what your employees need as well.
And don’t forget about dental, vision and life insurance when you’re looking at health plans. While these benefits are traditionally considered “supplemental,” “voluntary” or “nice to have,” they help provide your employees with care that’s central to their lives both in and out of work. As WorldatWork notes, these benefits are increasingly considered vital. For advice on how to use voluntary benefits to take your health plan to the next level, be sure to get in touch with your insurance broker.
Filling Out Your Small Business Benefits Package
Once you’ve gotten health insurance squared away, you might think you’re done. But many other benefits make your workplace a great place to be. Some are options that cost you directly, while others are of no cost to you — and a few can even make you money. For instance, flexible schedules have been shown to increase productivity. That’s money in your pocket.
Similarly, as a complement to your health insurance offerings, a wellness program can be inexpensive and have a high return on investment. The Society for Human Resource Management reported on studies finding returns of between $1.50 and $6 for every dollar spent on wellness programs. Like your overall employee benefits package, these can comprise a variety of options — from smoking-cessation programs to discounted gym memberships — so choose the ones that make the most sense for your workforce.
Benefits that make life easier are often easy for a small business to integrate. Allow employees to have their online shopping delivered to the office, for example. Or, if your dress code is somewhat formal, get a local dry cleaner to pick up and drop off at the office, saving everyone a trip. Consider subsidizing meal kits that allow employees to make their own food at home without a trip to the grocery store.
With all these options, you can’t offer everything. This is why it’s important to learn what your employees want. Because each business in each town is different, the best way to know which benefits are right for your team is to ask them. Host discussions or take polls — and be sure to revisit your options each year to make sure your employees are happy with what’s in place or whether you should look to make changes. If you’re not sure how to make what your employees want into a reality, be sure to talk to your broker.
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