Emmie Sahlan

Two Heads Are Better Than One: Why HR and Finance Should Team Up on Benefits

Is a fringe benefit pulling its weight? How does health care spending affect recruitment? Questions like these can only be answered by getting your head of finance and your HR manager together in the same room.

This kind of collaboration in the workplace can help ensure that your benefits offerings help you attract and retain talented employees without sacrificing the bottom line.

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Learning From Each Other

Your small business has a finance person and an HR person for a reason. Specialized roles help businesses work smarter. But that doesn’t mean that each person doesn’t have information, insights or perspectives that can help solve wider problems.

For example, your head of finance can give your HR manager an overview of information like cash flow and deficits that could affect the talent management budget. Your HR manager can keep finance up to date on benefits trends that may cause sudden cash flow changes, like a spike in new health care enrollments or wellness program incentive payouts.

Your head of finance can also help your HR manager crunch the numbers when it comes to insurance plans that offer premium discounts, cash rewards, gym memberships and other incentives to find out if they’re worth it.

Finance’s Role in Selecting the Best Benefits Package

In order to make budgetary decisions on health benefits, it goes without saying that your head of finance must understand the cost of current health care and its implications for the company.

But they also have to be aware of legal aspects pertaining to health insurance. They should understand, for instance, that small employers can purchase a group plan if they decide to offer health insurance, regardless of their employees’ health status. The larger your group, the more likely it is that your premiums will be lower. Partnering with other businesses in your state and expanding your group plan if your business has fewer than 10 employees can reduce costs.

As another way to keep premiums low, have your head of finance look into health savings accounts (HSAs) as an option for your small business. Used to pay for certain medical expenses, these tax-exempt accounts could reduce health insurance expenditures and save employees money at the same time.

Ways to Collaborate

Bringing staff together is about taking a bigger-picture view and using all available resources to reach a common goal. With this in mind, clear and open communication is vital.

To facilitate collaboration, staff should:

  • Conduct regular meetings to communicate changes and needs
  • Offer timely assistance and share relevant data
  • Agree on and prioritize organizational goals
  • Develop a common language that facilitates the exchange of ideas

Through thoughtful collaboration in the workplace, HR and finance can effectively support new affordable health insurance initiatives, explore innovative ideas and cut costs. If your teams aren’t already working together, don’t wait. Get them talking together today.

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