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    When Should my Small Business Start Offering Benefits?

    You've built your team of trusted and knowledgeable people who are helping lead your business. Now might be the time to consider offering employee benefits to retain these valuable assets. With the recent national uptick in turnover rates caused by the pandemic, small businesses are taking steps to combat high employee turnover and increase employee retention by offering employee health and wellness benefits. In addition, benefits are one way that businesses recruit and retain top talent.

    Employee benefits, also known as indirect financial compensation or non-wage compensation, may consist of mandatory and voluntary benefits. Mandatory benefits are the benefits that employers are required to provide by law. On the other hand, voluntary benefits provide a cost-effective way for employers to provide valuable benefits and perks to employees that typically are covered 100% by the employee or at a nominal cost to the employer.

    How to Get the Best Bang for Your Buck

    Small businesses may not have the financial means to offer a comprehensive benefits package, as benefits are commonly one of the most significant expenses for business owners. Small businesses must have a clear understanding of their goal, and it should be financially realistic and as competitive as possible in order to get the most out of their benefits package. Consider these steps to get the best bang for your benefits buck:

    Create Your Goals and Budget

    Having goals and a budget will keep you focused and realistic as you decide which benefits you want to offer based on what you can afford to spend. As a small business, you won't be competing head-to-head with more prominent companies and only paying what your budget allows. It's good to know what your competitors are offering their employees so that you have a better understanding of why top candidates choose to accept positions with them.

    Know the Required Employee Benefits

    The law is constantly evolving, and with the myriad of options for providing employee benefits, it can be difficult for business owners to keep up! With the plethora of employee benefits options, small businesses need to know which benefits are required by law. Here is the list of employee benefits from the U.S Small Business Administration that are required by law:

    1. Medicare and Social Security Contributions
    2. Workers' Compensation Insurance
    3. Unemployment Insurance
    4. Health Insurance (for businesses with more than 50 full-time employees)
    5. Family and Medical Leave

    For more detailed information about the required benefits that businesses must provide, our expanded blog: 5 Employee Benefits You Are Legally Required to Provide, gives an excellent overview of these five benefits' rules and expectations.

    Related Reading: Do I Have to Provide Health Insurance to Offer My Employees Voluntary Benefits?

    Include Voluntary/Optional Benefits in Your Program

    Voluntary benefits give employees more customization options and have become a key component for many small businesses. As new generations of employees enter the workforce and have different priorities for a benefits package, employers feel pressured to get creative with their benefits. Voluntary benefits offer high value to employees, require only minimal effort and cost, and are usually paid for by employees. Still, there are some cases where employers also contribute to the benefit cost. For small businesses to attract and retain top talent, they may elect to offer:

    • Vision and dental insurance
    • Short-term and long-term disability
    • Critical illness and cancer insurance
    • Term and whole life insurance
    • Accident insurance
    • Employee discount programs
    • Financial planning
    • Retirement savings
    • Identity theft protection
    • Paid time off (PTO)
    • Flexible work hours
    • Remote work opportunities

    Offering voluntary benefits will provide value through cost efficiency and increased convenience for your employees while building loyalty and improving retention, thereby reducing the costs associated with employee turnover. Talented employees know the value they bring to a company, and it's important that they receive a compensation benefits package that meets their needs.

    Related Reading: Successful Strategies For Offering Voluntary Benefits to Your Employees

    Given that 61% of employees say they would accept a job with a lower salary with a more competitive benefits package, adding a voluntary benefits program could help your organization become more competitive in a tight labor market. Voluntary benefits are a flexible and cost-effective solution to help you build a more robust benefits package—without breaking the bank!

    Implementing an employee benefits program can be a daunting task, and many small business owners don't have the time to find the right program and make it successful.

    If you want to launch an employee benefits program and are unsure how to optimize your benefits strategy, let our SWBC Employee Benefits Consulting Group give you the expert help you need.

    Download the checklist today!

    Related Categories

    Employee Health & Wellness

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