Great Ideas for your Small Business: Tailor Benefits to Employees’ Needs
In the small business world, one size definitely does not fit all. Every company has a distinct group of employees with varying personal lives, professional goals, and priorities. While big companies prefer to offer the same insurance benefits and options to everyone, small companies have an advantage in being able to tailor benefits to their employees’ specific needs. In many cases, your employees are covered by their spouses’ corporate benefits, and you won’t want to duplicate coverage.
If your business is really small, you might consider giving each employee a fixed amount of money each month that they can use to buy a particular benefit. A single person may want dental insurance, but a young mother might prefer that you help her pay for child care. Another employee might want legal insurance if they have legal problems relating to property or investments.
There is a wide array of insurance benefits and programs available to employers. One option is to hire a benefits consultant to tailor what is called a “cafeteria” program of bene- fits to your employees’ needs. You’ll also need professional help to figure out whether to pay for employee benefits with pre-tax or after-tax dollars.
Basically, as long as you spend the same amount of money on each employee, you’ll stay out of trouble. Even $150 a month goes a long way toward buying one single person’s coverage in a health maintenance organization (HMO) or other group insurance program.
Remember, some of the best benefits you can offer employees may not cost you much money at all. Flexible scheduling is one of the ways small business owners can retain good workers and boost morale. It doesn’t cost you any more money to stagger work hours to fit your employees’ needs.
If some people really want to be home when their children get home from school, why not let them work from 6 AM to 2 PM? This works especially well if you are a West Coast company dealing with East Coast clients. Job-sharing is another perk to consider. Often two working mothers or fathers will ask to split a job and split the benefits that go with that job.
When you think about benefits, don’t just think about insurance. Think of ways to address your employees’ specific needs; chances are, they will serve your business better in the long run.