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A Small Business Approach to Employee Benefits

Small BusinessFor a small business, it’s not easy to keep up with the employee benefits that the big guys are offering. You’re faced with the ultimate dilemma– Do you spend more so you can offer a better benefits package? Or do you cut costs by skimping on benefits but offer employees other types of perks instead? Benefits are not “one size fits all,” so consider these factors when customizing your employee benefits package.

Demographics

Take a look at the people that make up your company. Do you have a large base of working parents? Are there many employees approaching retirement age? What are the main age groups that your employees fall under? All of this can help you determine what benefits are important to them. Keep in mind, it never hurts to ask. Send out a survey to your employees to find out what benefits they value the most.

Objectives

What are your goals? Where is the company headed? Think about if you’re expecting large growth in the future or if your workforce is expected to remain relatively steady. It’s better to keep your benefits consistent for the most part and avoid drastic changes from one year to the next that will confuse and upset your employees.

Competitors

What are your competitors offering their employees? Benefits play a big part in employee recruitment and retention. The latest MetLife U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study shows that 43% of employees say that benefits were an important reason why they chose to work for their employer, and 50% of employees say it’s an important reason why they stay with their employer. Keeping tabs on your competitors’ benefits can help you structure an attractive benefits package that will set your company apart from the rest of the pack.

Types

And of course, the million dollar question. What types of benefits do you want to offer? Health insurance will of course be first and foremost on employees’ minds when it comes to benefits. A study by Monster showed that employees value a healthcare plan as the most important benefit, followed by vacation time. Paid time off can often be a more affordable benefit for small businesses to offer employees. You may want to consider flexible working arrangements, like a four day work week or telecommuting, as a trade-off for not offering more specialty benefits like Dental or Vision. A retirement plan is another important benefit to consider, 401(k) plans being the most common. However, these plans can be costly in both time and money.

As a small business, you face a tricky balancing act in picking the right employee benefits package, but that doesn’t mean your offerings should be any less effective. The challenge is finding the perfect combination that fits your company culture, satisfies your employees, and stays within your budget. When structured correctly, your employee benefits can be the key ingredient to maintaining and growing your workforce. Don’t let them go to waste!