Things to consider when growing your business

Employee benefits are a critical consideration for small business owners

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You’ve developed the value proposition. You’ve put in the hours. You’ve landed the clients. You’ve even hired the key personnel. And now you’re growing. Congratulations — growth is a good problem to have! But while growth is good, there are some challenges that come along with it.

Many small business growth challenges relate to the financials: growing revenue, increasing profit and managing cash flow top the list. Others relate to employee benefits, namely health care. And right at the top is hiring new employees. Workers at small businesses are, overall, less happy and less loyal to their employers than they were two years ago.1 This is because employees’ expectations around work have changed. Read on to learn more about what contributes to small business employees’ job satisfaction.

Health care

Businesses generally must provide certain benefits: Workers compensation, unemployment insurance, Social Security, and family and medical leave, depending on the number of employees.2 Whether you offer the full menu of benefits or the bare minimum, you may want to consider additional benefits to attract the best talent and keep your business growing.

Mental health care now plays a significant factor in the well-being of your workforce, and in your small business’ retention rate. In fact, nearly half of small firms now offer a wellness program compared to just 23% in 2018.2 The most important factor for an employees’ mental health is flexibility.Forty-three percent of employees whose organizations allow remote work rate themselves highly at taking care of their mental health compared to just 37% of employees for whom remote work isn’t an option.3

 

Hiring new employees 

A small business runs on talent. Seventy-three percent of small business owners report they’re currently hiring full- or part—time employees, yet nearly 9 in 10 of those hiring find it difficult to recruit qualified candidates.4 So, your differentiator as an employer is to offer benefits that will attract and retain top-notch people — something that’s especially important in taking your business to the next level. As for existing employees, 80 percent say they’d select additional benefits instead of a pay increase 5

Offering workplace benefits  

When you were starting out, you may not have offered benefits at all, or you may have offered discounted plans for employee purchase. Now that you’re growing, you may consider offering or subsidizing your employees’ benefits. There are many supplemental benefits like medical coverage, that can be crucial for attracting top talent as you grow your business. This often consists of retirement packages, disability insurancelife insurance, and dental and vision insurance. A well-rounded benefits menu can help attract and retain top talent.

  • Retirement plans help your employees save for their retirement. This is important because Social Security only pays an average monthly benefit of $1,537.In addition, you also benefit by participating yourself, through a tax credit, for costs associated with starting a 401(k), SIMPLE, or Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan.
     
  • Disability insurance is another attractive benefit for the employee because it helps protect a portion, typically 40 to 60 percent, of an employee’s income if he or she is unable to work due to an accident or illness. Consider offering supplemental disability insurance to cover even more of your employees’ income, often for an extra cost to them.
     
  • Life insurance is an important benefit you can offer to talent. If employees pass away, term life insurance provides their beneficiaries with a cash benefit, while permanent life insurance lets employees build cash value (in addition to the cash benefit) that can be used during their lifetimes.
     
  • Dental and vision insurance are often a complement to health insurance and round out a strong benefits package to attract employees. By providing such insurance benefits, you can differentiate yourself from competitors, while helping employees save money on costly services.

The extras that can add up

While offerings like life and disability insurance can be significant steps in professionalizing your business and attracting and retaining employees, they may not cover all the costs associated with accidents or major illness. With nearly half of small business workers indicating that they participate in a high deductible health plan ($1,300 individual deductible or $2,600 family),7 employers growing their businesses can consider offering supplemental insurance benefits that, depending on your plan, could help cover certain critical illnesses, cancers, and hospital stays. You can choose to subsidize these insurance benefits yourself, or offer them as voluntary benefits, meaning your employees pay for them if they opt in.

Small business workers surveyed report lower overall understanding of their benefits. Nearly a third rate their benefits knowledge “low” compared to just 21% who work at companies with between 100-999 workers.7 More than 3 in 4 minority- and women-owned businesses prioritize helping employees make better benefits decisions.8 So, when offering benefits, don’t forget to make sure your employees are aware of their full package and enrollment options.

To find out more about small business benefits, visit https://www.guardianlife.com/small-business.

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Disclaimer

1, 2, 3, 7, 8 10th Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study, Inflection Point: How small businesses are emerging from COVID-19, 2021 https://www.guardianlife.com/reports/inflection-point/small-business

4 Goldman Sachs, 2021, https://www.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/10000-small-businesses/US/voices/index.html

5 Human Resources Director, 2021, https://www.hcamag.com/us/specialization/benefits/salary-vs-employee-benefits-which-is-better-to-offer/318056

6 Social Security Administration, March 2022, https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/

 

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