As we wrote in our first blog, attracting and retaining great employees means more than offering competitive salaries. Smart employers today know that competitive compensation comes in many forms, not just base salary, and that not offering benefits means they could be losing out when it comes to competing for top talent. Nearly half of Canadian workers say benefits play a key role in their decision to stay with an organization; they also say they would choose benefits over a salary increase.
With benefit programs making up a significant proportion of total compensation costs, (an average 14.3 per cent of total compensation costs) it is important to make sure you’re getting it right. Unfortunately, recent surveys show that almost two-thirds of employers aren’t quite there: 62 per cent of small- and medium-sized business owners know that their benefits programs don’t completely hit the target when it comes to satisfying HR and business objectives.
Therefore, if you are one of these businesses smart enough to know you need to do more to keep and attract top employees, ask yourself these questions – and don’t be shy about getting some help from experts to help you answer them:
- What benefits can I afford?
- What benefits attract and retain the employees that I need for my business?
- What business objectives will benefits help me achieve?
Starting from scratch? Or simply not sure if your business is “big enough” to have a group benefits plan? Keep these important points in mind:
- You are never too small to offer some type of plan. Plans can cover as few as two people, though the value of any group benefits plan will improve with five or more employees.
- Experts always know more. Find a company that you trust to help you learn about your options, the costs and key features of effective programs.
- Don not “set it and forget it.” Your business is always changing, and so are your employees and the business environment in which you compete. Make sure you regularly revisit your benefits program to remain confident that it is meeting your needs and helping you stay competitive.
- Numbers count. You can see how well your program is performing by checking on key data such as turnover, absenteeism, employee feedback and productivity. Depending on the story these numbers tell, your expert advisors can always help you tweak your program to improve your program’s performance.
- Consider a tiered approach. What does this mean? Some plans will allow you to extend coverage and options, which could be a perk or incentive for top performers or employees with long service in your company.
Whatever options you decide are best for your organization and employees, it is critical to make sure you have accounted for all the legal, tax and compliance implications of your approach. It’s always smart to ask an expert for advice.
Finally, it cannot be said enough: business is always changing and so are your employees’ needs. Competitive organizations recognize the value of ensuring their benefits programs help satisfy both HR and business needs. Knowing what you can afford to pay for your benefits program; what benefits will help you attract and retain workers; and what benefits will help your business achieve success are important questions to set you on the right track.
In part three of this series, we will talk about why cash is not “always king.”