Searching for quality talent can prove to be difficult, especially in the face of rising health care costs and health care reform. In fact, a recent NFIB report (PDF) found that 41 percent of small business owners reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions and 19 percent reported having job openings they could not fill in the current period.
To maintain the best employees for your business, it’s imperative for business owners to take necessary steps to keep current top-tier employees satisfied in today’s economy. So what can small businesses do to make sure their key players stick around instead of window shopping for new opportunities? One way to retain current personnel and attract superior applicants is by offering strong benefits packages.
According to the 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report (AWR), nearly half (49 percent) of employees say that improving their benefits packages is one thing their employer could do to keep them in their job. And with 51 percent of small business professionals at least somewhat likely to look for new employment in the next 12 months, strong benefits packages are necessary to encourage top talent to stay.
One way to keep workers satisfied is to add wellness programs to existing benefits offerings. These programs don’t need to follow suit of large companies that pay monthly gym fees or provide daily healthy lunch substitutes.
An easy way to start off is to simply show employees the company cares about health and wellness. Organize after-hour fun runs or invite nutritionists to come into the office for lunch-and-learns. Place fruit bowls in office common areas, email wellness tips or provide information about free local exercise events.
These are effective ways to improve office health at little to no cost and demonstrate that your staff’s well-being is important to you.
Put Voluntary Into Action
If you’re afraid that strengthening benefits packages will put a burden on company finances, consider this: Voluntary insurance policies.
Many supplemental policies are offered at no additional benefits cost to the company. Companies can choose to contribute a portion of the premium or simply make the product available for employees to purchase. Some carriers even offer payroll deduction without added direct cost to businesses.
Be a Benefits Marketer
Offering strong benefits to your employees just isn’t enough – you have to expand your benefits communication beyond the open enrollment season. Seventy-nine percent of small business employees agree that well-communicated benefits programs would make them less likely to leave their jobs, according to the AWR. Since benefits are generally deducted directly from paychecks, it’s easy for workers to forget about the great aspects of their benefits package.
Plan creative ways to communicate about the total compensation, employee assistance programs and wellness incentives you offer on an ongoing basis. Here are ways you can market your benefits options:
- Post benefits tips, reminders and employee testimonials on bulletin boards in high traffic areas.
- Print benefits communication on colored paper instead of white paper to quickly grab the attention of personnel.
- Mail benefits information directly to the homes of employees to increase employee awareness and encourage conversation with family members.
- Plan benefits “office hours” when employees can drop by to discuss anything benefits related with a HR professional or a visiting agent or broker.
- Carve out time in a staff meeting or town hall to give an overview of the different benefits available for employees.
With an undeniable connection between benefits and employee loyalty, you need to make sure employees are not only armed with options suitable for their individual lifestyles, but also that they are fully aware of their choices.
Wellness Photo via Shutterstock/small>