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Things to Consider When Growing Your Business

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Questions about workplace benefits?

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Employee Benefits are a Critical Consideration for Small Business Owners

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.1

Health care

By law, businesses generally must provide certain benefits. Workers compensation, unemployment insurance, Social Security taxes, COBRA, and family and medical leave, depending on the number of employees, are the big five.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.

The 50-employee mark

The 50-employee mark is considered a major milestone. That’s when the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) kicks in as a legal requirement and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax penalty takes effect for employers, mandating that qualified and affordable health benefits be made available for workers.3 If the tax penalty isn’t enough of an incentive for you to offer health insurance, know that 88 percent of workers rate employer-provided health coverage as very or extremely important.4 Similarly, only half (49 percent) of small business workers feel their medical insurance plan is enough to help them cover the cost of any major medical event that may occur.5

Hiring new employees 

Fifty percent of small businesses cite hiring new employees as a significant concern.6 Of course, a small business runs on talent. And offering the right employee benefits is a good way to attract and retain top-notch people — something that’s especially important in taking your business to the next level. Why’s that? Fifty-seven percent of people report that benefits are a major factor when taking a job.7 As for existing employees, 79 percent say they’d select benefits instead of a raise.8 Further, only 3 in 10 small business workers are highly satisfied with their employee benefits package as compared with nearly 5 in 10 who work for larger firms.9

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 should start to consider offering or subsidizing your employees’ benefits. There are many supplemental benefits that are, like medical coverage, crucial for attracting top talent as you grow your business. This often consists of retirement packages, disability insurance, life 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 $1,200.10 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 protects 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. The more employees you have, the larger your group, and the lower the cost per employee.

Life insurance is a value-added 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. To incentivize company loyalty, a term-to-perm option, in which term life converts to whole life, could be a good option.

Dental and vision are often a complement to health insurance and round out a strong benefits package to attract employees. By providing such 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 are 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),11 employers growing their businesses should consider offering supplemental insurance that covers critical illness, cancer, accidents, and hospital stays. You can choose to subsidize these benefits yourself, or offer them as voluntary benefits, meaning your employees pay for them if they opt in.

Surprisingly, only half of all small business workers surveyed believe they receive adequate information to help them understand how their benefits programs work compared with nearly two-thirds of those working for larger firms.12 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 offering these benefits to employees — and taking steps to attract the best talent — speak with one of our specialists who can help.


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1, 6 State of Small Business Report, 2017

Patricia Lotich, “5 Employee Benefits Required by Law,” November 6, 2015

Suzanne Lucas, “5 Signs That You Should Hire an HR Person,” November 19, 2014

Paul Fronstin, “Offering Benefits Still Gives Employers a Competitive Advantage,” November 14, 2013

5, 9,11, 12 Guardian’s 4th Annual Workplace Benefits Study. All data below are from consumers who work for companies with 5-49 employees (small business workers)

7Glassdoor’s 5 Job Trends to Watch in 2016,” January 12, 2016

8 “4 in 5 Employees Want Benefits or Perks More Than a Pay Raise; Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey (Q3 2015),” October 2, 2015

10 “Lots of Benefits - when you set up an employee retirement plan,” April 27, 2017

*All whole life insurance policy guarantees are subject to the timely payment of all required premiums and the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Policy loans and withdrawals affect the guarantees by reducing the policy’s death benefit and cash values.