Small Scale, Big Impact: Crafting Effective Benefits Packages In Small Businesses

benefits packages small businesses

With nearly 44% of the United States economy being made up of small businesses, it is safe to say that small businesses play an important part in the economy's stability. Sadly, despite this significant presence there is a consistent, and often frustrating downside to working for a small business: the lack of benefits packages. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that small business owners and employers are far less likely to give benefit packages to their employees. Most often, and perhaps most concerningly, this can be said of health insurance packages. This is very commonly and understandably related to the exorbitant healthcare costs and medical insurance rates that have been steadily rising for the last half century or so, making it too expensive for many businesses to offer. 

The ability or inability to entice and hold on to the employees, in turn, ironically limits the ability of small business to grow. No matter what the reasons may be as to why a benefits package may be currently out of the question, every business owner should do their best to consider and, hopefully, be able to eventually make such benefits packages accessible to their employees. 

Here are some things to consider when it comes to crafting great benefits packages for small scale businesses. 

Out With The Old 

It is no secret in the business world that, often, the best employees go where the most enticing offers exist. The importance of being able to maintain a competitive advantage against other businesses in the quest to attract and hold on to great talent is of foundational importance in the success or failure of a business model. 

When it comes to owning and running a small business, the first few years of trial can make or break a long-time dream of success. That success is very often directly related to who is being hired. If the plan is to scale and grow, but the employees needed to accomplish that are all signing with other businesses, large or small, then it is time for a change. That change often means crafting and offering more enticing benefits packages, but how can a small business do this successfully? 

It is important to remember that benefits packages are made up of much more than wages and health insurance— especially with the radically changing desires of employees today. Where, for older generations, most people wanted and expected a pension plan, that trend has long since faded. These have been replaced by other retirement benefits, such as 401(K) retirement savings, which is less costly to companies. 

While these have become commonplace, there are still plenty of other options of what can be put together in a benefits package. Being that the standard or popular benefits packages of the past are, in many ways outdated, understanding what job hunters are interested in now can give a huge advantage in the ability to attract and keep the right talent. 

Modern Wants And Needs 

Nowadays, especially post-covid, employees are much more interested and vocal about their wants and needs of a job that provides things like flexible hours, remote work options, or more PTO and vacation days than stock options or even 401(k) plans. Freedom and flexibility are like a new form of currency to the emerging generations. 

When combining this with the acknowledgement that there is a broad range of needs depending on family, lifestyle, and personal preferences, the standardized packages of the past are oftentimes far less enticing. This is where open-mindedness, creativity, and adaptability as a business owner will make a major difference. Being open and able to work with and negotiate customized benefits packages is not only likely to attract and keep great talent, but it’s also a wonderful way to get noticed. 

When employees are happy, they talk about it gladly. Great reviews means more people will want to work for that company in the future as they start comparing their current job with greener grass. 

Blending It All Together: Types Of Employee Benefits 

While the future of healthcare will always be a concern and a desire of most employees when considering a benefits package, there are other major categories that can be creatively combined to craft an enticing offer. Looking to a broader range of perks will make it easier to provide desirable benefits while being much less likely to break the budget. 

Financial Benefits 

Most everyone goes through financial troubles from time to time, and the stress induced by those situations negatively impacts life on every level, personally, emotionally, and professionally. A good way to alleviate the possible cost of lost productivity from an employee is to buffer that with financial benefits. 

These can come in the form of more traditional things like pay raises, employee stock options (ESO’s), 401 (k) plans, the modern creative employer will look beyond that and even go so far as to ask what they can do to help support their employee. Student loans have become a real issue, and the difference of a few thousand dollars in salary can easily persuade someone to work for another company. 

In this way, student repayment loan programs, or even paying for further education is a wonderful alternative. Additionally, with gas prices steadily rising, offering a company car to save on gas, or maybe subsidizing public transportation costs is helpful as well. 

Fringe And Alternative Benefits 

Fringe Benefits, or those which are supplemental to traditional health insurance policies, are a great way to proactively support employee health without incurring the staggering costs. Dental and eye care plans are typically not as costly. There are also other alternatives to health insurance in the form of flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements and premium only plans. 

When combining these with options for prescription drug care coverage, this may be enough to help employees feel safe financially and physically to alleviate much of their fears due to a lack of health insurance. 

Ultimately it will better serve American workers and greater public health to offer employees better and more specialized healthcare packages.

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