How To Create a Scalable Benefits Package

January 13, 2014 5:00 am0 comments

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Ensure Employee Retention For Your Business With Usable Perks Even If You Can’t Afford Insurance

Running a small business is like being the ruler of a small country. Just because you’re new and small, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to provide for your people. In fact, it’s almost more important. If you don’t show your employees they are valued—if you don’t make it worth their while to stay—then nothing is stopping them from looking for work at more established businesses that will give them the benefits they deserve.

People will stay with a company that they believe in, but they also have to know that the company believes in and appreciates them. While creating a comprehensive employee benefits plan is a very involved technical process, it’s worth the effort to establish yourself as a desirable employer.

SEE ALSO: Shopping For Health Insurance: Strategies and Tools to Help You Slog Through the Masses

Here is a step-by-step process of establishing a scalable benefits plan, from the very beginning.

Step 0: Atmosphere

The truth is, there is most likely going to be a period of time at the birth of your company when you can’t offer your employees benefits such as insurance or paid time off. But you can offer them the benefits of working for your company and not just a paycheck. The atmosphere at your business can also be a benefit. If people like where they work, they can be patient while you lay the foundation.  There are a lot of ways to reward employees and not all of them cost a lot of money. These benefits include:

  • Personal Space

Each employee needs an area to call their own, whether it’s an office, cubicle, desk, locker, or cubby. Just make sure they have a place to put personal things and encourage them to personalize their space with pictures, plants, and other items that will allow them to relax and enjoy their work environment.

  • Food

Everybody loves free food. Once a week, once a month, after a special project is completed, it doesn’t matter when you do it, just take the time every once in a while to order lunch in for employees or take them out. Take a moment during the meal to express your appreciation for their hard work.

  • Resources

Even if you can’t provide formal benefits yet, you can make it easier for employees to obtain the services they need. Create an announcement board with local events and deals. Provide banking and investment information. Try to make deals with local gyms or restaurants to get your employees discounts or perks.

  • Assurance

Always show that you’re working toward benefits. Get input about what kind of health coverage employees would find most useful. Ask what other perks they would appreciate. Show that you’re making the effort, that you want their input, and that you’re looking for the best options available.

Step 1: Health Insurance

Health insurance is the most expensive and involved benefit to obtain. It is also the most important, considering the new healthcare laws. Take the time to look for the best coverage options. Get quotes from multiple companies. You’ll probably have to have your employees fill out some information in order to get group rate quotes. This might be an inconvenience (no one likes paperwork), but it will also show employees that you are actively pursuing health insurance.

Step 2: Paid Time Off

After insurance is established, you can focus on smaller, but important benefits. Life is full of surprises, and there are days that employees can’t make it to work because of illness, accidents, or family events. Most people also need at least a few days a year to decompress, whether they go on a formal vacation or just relax for an extended amount of time. It’s stressful to worry about losing money in order to deal with life events. It’s pleasant to know that you’re able to take a trip because you earned time off.

Establishing a paid time off policy is vital to employee morale. This ensures them that they won’t be punished for life’s curve balls; that can take a great weight of stress off their shoulders. Many companies are eliminating the distinction between paid vacation and sick days because employees are adults and can use their time off as they like. They simply create a protocol for paid time off and hold everyone to it. This also prevents those who have no health problems from feeling jipped for not getting as much paid leave.

Step 3: Life Insurance

Life insurance isn’t offered by every company and it’s not mandatory. That being said, it’s a great way to invest in your employees’ futures, and if you can afford it, employees often appreciate work-sponsored life insurance.

Insurance is a difficult world to navigate, so many individuals often put off applying for optional insurances like life insurance, but it’s especially important for employees with families. By providing life insurance as a company, you might be able to achieve lower rates for your employees than they’d receive individually.

Talk to your business advisor about the best employee life insurance plans and compare programs. If you can get life insurance providers competing for your business, you might be able to get an even lower group rate.

By providing your employees with the benefits they need to be secure, you are creating people who are invested in your company. The more you care for your people, the more they care for you. So if you’ve been dragging your feet on all the paperwork, buy your employees lunch tomorrow and have a sincere discussion about benefits.

Image: iStockphoto

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