Navigating Benefits

Benefit Offers: How Small Businesses Can Attract Big Talent

  • One-third of organizations have improved benefit offers in the last 12 months
  • In 2016, 49% of small businesses offered financial advice benefits as compared to 23% in 2014
  • Small businesses can leverage supplemental insurance to add more value to health care plans

Posted by September 27, 2017

In the midst of talent shortages and health care reform, companies have been making strides to improve benefit offers to attract top talent. According to a 2017 Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) report, around one-third of some 300 organizations polled have increased employee benefit offerings in the last 12 months. The biggest increases were health insurance (22 percent) and wellness benefits (24 percent). Financial advice nearly doubled from 2014 to 2017. While all of this is positive, what does it mean for small businesses that don’t have the big budgets to offer as much as larger competing firms? How can they still provide attractive benefit packages to potential hires?

How to Attract Talent

Designing benefit offers that can attract talent comes down to understanding what individuals want and how to make it affordable. The vast majority of young workers are experiencing changes in their lives that require customizable benefits. Many smaller employers focus on standard health care plans that offer low monthly premiums, but, unfortunately, there are high deductibles associated with them. Health care savings arrangements, supplemental insurance options and corporate matching of retirement savings can add more value to benefit offers, while maintaining costs.

The largest group of talent in the market today is comprised of millennials (ages 25-35). A study conducted by Fit Small Business in May of 2017 places emphasis on the benefits that millennials want the most. In this case, 34 percent chose standard health care benefits as a primary need. Other perks desired by respondents included: more freedom with schedules, the opportunity to learn and develop career skills, and plenty of vacation time.

Other ways that small businesses can provide better benefit offers that may appeal to talent include:

  • Telecommuting and work-from-home options
  • Profit-sharing and employer savings programs
  • Financial advisor sessions and debt management support
  • Employee assistance programs for 24/7 help
  • Family friendly company events and outings
  • Lunch and learns, onsite certification training and mentoring
  • Supplemental benefits like hospital indemnity plans, pet insurance and more
  • Corporate discounts for local vendors and resources
  • Onsite wellness facilities and support
  • Free and low-cost credit union and bank services
  • Transportation stipend for public transportation
  • Day care and apartment rental discounts with local providers

Why Small Businesses Are Worthy

Small businesses are able to connect on a more personal level with employees than larger businesses. This provides ample opportunity to find out what employees want to get out of their work experience and what perks and benefits they need the most. A smaller worker-to-manager ratio can enable leadership to learn more about employee career goals and personal needs, which can be gathered and considered for additional benefit offers.

Businesses with less than 50 employees may believe that they don’t have a lot to offer talent. However, millennials and Generation Z candidates are looking for opportunities to learn and move up in ranks rapidly. These are some of their core values. A smaller business provides a much wider range of career experiences and puts people into higher levels of responsibility sooner, based on each individual’s own merits. This can be a very empowering aspect of being employed by a smaller company. Leverage this when advertising for job openings and discussing career opportunities with candidates.

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