Smart Business spoke to Leslie Balm-forth, chief operating officer of Tauber & Balser, P.C. about how employers can entice applicants and employees with their benefits packages.
How valuable is a benefits package?
Turnover costs can easily range between 50 percent to 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary. Clearly, you want to hire the right people and avoid having to quickly replace them. However, you must be able to offer applicants and employees benefits they value or you’ll struggle to recruit and retain them.
What standard benefits should you offer?
By law, employers are generally required to provide workers’ compensation insurance, withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes, and provide time off to vote and to fulfill civic obligations such as jury duty and military service. Additional requirements may apply, depending on the state.
Employers typically offer a standard benefits package, which usually includes: health insurance, often with dental and vision plan options; disability insurance; life insurance; a retirement plan; paid vacation, national holidays and sick leave; and paid or unpaid time off for religious holidays and bereavement.
These benefits are considered staples to attract potential employees and retain them once they’re hired. Health benefits are particularly important, because they can be difficult and costly for employees to obtain on their own, especially if the employees are older or have existing health conditions.
What are some creative benefits that will add more sizzle to the package?
Some added benefits employers are throwing in to attract and retain employees include:
Child care assistance. If your business employs many working parents of small children, you may consider teaming up with a local day-care provider to offer a subsidized program for employees.
Education assistance. Employers may offer to pay for part or all of employees’ continued education or training as it relates to current jobs or future job potential. This includes tuition, books and any required supplies.
Health and wellness solutions. Helping employees attain and maintain wellness not only boosts their productivity, but also can reduce your business’s insurance costs. Offerings include on-site exercise facilities or a subsidized program with a local health club and health seminars for employees.
Product and service discounts. Another cost-effective employee benefit is a discount on your company’s products or services. You also may find local vendors willing to negotiate discounted arrangements for your employees. For instance, you might approach a local bank, financial planning or legal firm, clothing store, dry cleaner, restaurant, hotel or cinema.
Commuting assistance. Commuting costs can run high for employees who have to travel long distances or live in major metropolitan areas. Consider subsidizing the cost, for instance, by offering free monthly passes for public transit or parking garage spaces.
Flexible work arrangements. Balancing work and personal life is a challenge for many employees these days whether they’re trying to attend school or manage a long commute. They may also have to care for young children, elderly parents or both. To help employees achieve better balance, some employers are offering modified work schedules.
For instance, you might let workers start and leave earlier, or later, to avoid rush hour traffic jams or accommodate dropping off and picking up children at day-care or school. Other flexible arrangements include having employees work four 10-hour days with the fifth day off, or work from home and come to the office only for training and staff meetings.
Concierge service. For busy employees who find it difficult to tend to essential personal errands and home maintenance issues, some companies are appointing an individual or team to handle these chores.
Special pampering. Massages, spa days and even vacation cruises are a great way to reward hard-working employees.
Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
Beefing up your business’s benefits obviously requires you to bear some upfront costs. In the long run, however, you stand to improve your ability to recruit and retain top talent, and increase employees’ morale and productivity. Meet with your accounting and legal advisers and a benefits consultant to evaluate potential options and perform a cost-benefit analysis.
LESLIE BALMFORTH, CPA, is a principal at Tauber & Balser, P.C. and serves as chief operating officer. She is responsible for managing the financial and operational aspects of the firm including human resources, marketing, employee benefits, technology, facilities management, cash management and internal accounting. She is also a member of SHRM and Tauber & Balser’s Family Business Services Team. Reach her at (404) 814-4985 or email@example.com.