Suzanne Lucas

How to Market Your Health Benefits to Job Candidates

Doing your job well is difficult when you’re constantly fretting about what would happen if you got sick and didn’t have the money to pay to see a doctor. That’s just one reason health benefits are so important — they offer your employees an extra level of security that allows them to work with fewer distractions.

But small business employee benefits can vary wildly. If you have fewer than 50 full-time employees, federal law doesn’t require you to provide health insurance at all. On the other hand, choosing to skip over benefits could make it more difficult to attract quality employees.

But if you’re going to offer strong benefits, take care to market them right. After all, health insurance isn’t a topic that excites most people, and some may even just assume it will be available. So how can you sell your benefits to help win over potential employees? Here are four tips for making sure candidates see your benefits package as an attractive perk rather than a baseline expectation.

Prepare Your Elevator Pitch

When you meet a potential employee for the first time, they’ll probably have a little speech already arranged to get across exactly who they are and what their goals are. You should come in equally prepared. After all, interviews are a two-way street, and especially in a tight job market, it’s important to convince candidates that your business is a great place to work. Now, of course, you should always be 100 percent honest so that you get someone who’s a good fit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t accentuate the positive.

When you speak to a candidate, lay out a short explanation of what makes your small business employee benefits better than your competitors’. Do you have a variety of options? Or do you cover the entire cost? Does your insurance cover the local hospital? Help pay for child care? Whatever it is that makes your benefits special, be prepared to foreground that aspect so that it sticks with your candidate.

Widen the Context

Yes, health benefits step in when people get sick and need medical care, but a really solid benefits package should be about more than just helping with damage control after the fact — it should develop employees’ overall wellness. This can mean anything from gym memberships to flexible schedules that can reduce stress for your employees. Make sure your job candidates leave knowing all the ways your benefits could improve their lives.

Translate Your Benefits Into Dollars

Most discussions on the terms of employment will center on salary. It’s a popular driver of job acceptance, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. But remember that health insurance can be a significant cost benefit to employees.

When you talk salary, bring benefits into the conversation. Let candidates know that while the salary may be $48,000 a year, they’re also receiving approximately $12,000 in health insurance. While you need to be clear that if they reject the health insurance, they won’t get a $12,000 salary bump, you can demonstrate the financial value of benefits that normally don’t come with dollar signs attached.

Put It in Writing

When a candidate speaks with you about a job, both sides of the conversation are going to be rushing to absorb as much information as possible. For the job seeker, it’s a new company, a new position and probably unfamiliar territory. Meanwhile, you’re gathering details on their background, their expectations, their skills and a dozen other considerations. It’s fairly common to leave an interview or hiring discussion without the candidate having taken any notes, so make things easier for them by offering written information about your benefits package. This way, anything they missed during your conversation is there to keep positively shaping their impression of your company.

Whether a candidate ultimately receives — or accepts — a job offer, it’s a good practice to market your benefits package as a true selling point. You’ve already put so much work into carefully choosing your benefits. So the next time you’re scouting talent, let your offerings shine through.

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