As many business leaders spent the last year focused on cutting costs and staying competitive, small-business employers specifically took measures to hold fast – making careful choices about hiring, compensation and employee benefits options.
The 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report for Small Business found that only 12 percent changed employee hours from full- to part-time in 2013 while 34 percent said they gave employees smaller raises than in previous years. As these decisions were made by small-business owners, the study found that 64 percent of employees at small businesses are extremely or very satisfied with their job, compared to 17 percent of employees at large companies and 19 percent at medium-sized companies.
Maintaining a happy workforce, while keeping an eye on the bottom line, is a tough job to juggle. Below are three important ways your company can gain momentum in a slowly rebuilding economy and changing health care landscape:
1) Cultivate Your Current Business Model for Future Growth
Stability in the marketplace is a good sign. However, small employers are still not seeing enough growth to impact their hiring trends for 2014. The study revealed that employers reported relatively stable sales and revenue trends, yet hiring is still down. Do not let financial fear paralyze you or your business growth. Re-evaluate and innovate your current business model and workforce strategies. Consider 2014 to be a time for strategic planning and use your past successes as a base for how to spark future growth.
2) Boost Your Employee Benefits Package with No-Cost Added to Your Bottom Line
As a small-business owner, your employees may be more satisfied, but many think there’s room for improvement when it comes to their benefits packages. Only 12 percent are extremely satisfied with their benefits options and only 14 percent believe their benefits package meets their current family needs extremely well.
One way to contain costs when it comes to benefits and keeping your talented workforce in tact is by offering robust benefits options. Consider private exchanges, the government SHOP Marketplace or self-funding options to help meet your employees’ health care needs.
And remember, no matter which benefits delivery option your company chooses, offering voluntary benefits options can help employees build a financial safety net for rising out-of-pocket expenses without impacting your bottom line. Voluntary insurance – such as accident, disability, critical illness or hospital plans – enhances your benefits offerings at no additional cost to your company.
3) Rely on Insurance Brokers or Agents to Understand the Changes and Effects of Health Care Legislation
You probably understand some aspects of the new health care legislation, but key pieces of it may appear as a mystery. Small companies with fewer than 50 employees have fewer requirements but they aren’t completely off the hook. Work with your insurance brokers and benefits advisors as resources to guide you through new communication and reporting requirements.
Continue building for the future. Many small businesses show positive signs with stable revenue and sales, and an improved understanding of the changing health care landscape. But there’s plenty of room for progress in the years ahead. Build off of the momentum you already have and add in new ideas to carry your small business toward continued success in 2014 and beyond.