Practicing Business Retention to Maintain a Competitive Hiring Advantage
While employees might be more interested in the salary that is attached to a job, they are also looking at the benefits you can offer. With rising healthcare and insurance costs, they want to make sure you are including benefits that matter to them, and that will keep them from having to pay more out of pocket.
However, being competitive with your benefits package will come at a cost to the company. At the same time, there are ways for you to manage this concern as well as the concerns of a prospective team member.
What Benefits Should You Offer?
With all of the things your company has to offer, the benefits package needs to be carefully considered. Although you might have an exciting opportunity for a new team member, you cannot simply hope they overlook a weaker benefit package.
The common benefits to offer at a company are:
- Health insurance. This insurance covers the health needs of the employee and their family, for example, doctor visits, medications, hospital stays, and others.
- Dental insurance. These plans cover basic preventative care, as well as procedures and dental appliances.
- Vision insurance. The plans will include preventative exams, some corrective lenses, and/or contact lenses.
- Disability insurance. With this insurance, the employee will be able to continue to receive pay when they are considered disabled because of an accident or injury.
- Life insurance. In the event of the premature death of the employee, this insurance will help the benefactor or the family with financial concerns.
- Retirement accounts (401k). You will want to make sure your employees know you are committed to them for the long term by offering them retirement options. You do not have to offer a large plan in some cases, but you will want to give them the option to begin saving for the future.
- Vacation time, Sick time, Holidays. The more time you can give to an employee to use for his or her own reasons, the more the employee will feel valued. This is especially important if your company has talked about being focused on a life-work balance.
- Employee wellness. In some cases, a company might decide to have an employee wellness program so they are supporting the needs of the employees, even in addition to the health insurance benefits.
- Childcare services. At companies who have more workers with families, it might be helpful to have onsite childcare so the families do not have to spend that extra money each month. In addition, it can make working more convenient.
- Work from home options. While this might not seem like a benefit at first, the more flexibility an employee has, the more they might want to work at a company, especially if they have a family or they have a longer commute time.
You can already see how long this list is, and how it might be unreasonable for all companies to offer the entire list of benefits at first.
What you need to think about is the value of benefits to employees. Benefits help an employee:
- Stay healthy.
- Keep their families healthy.
- Maintain their financial stability in crises.
Though you might be looking at the price tag for such benefits, you need to think beyond that.
Remember, when you want to retain employees, you need to be ready to pay for their time and their loyalty, or else someone will.
However, what benefits are the most important ones to have for your team? That is a question only you can answer. Though you might be interested in offering the basic benefits, you need to consider what you say is valuable to your company as a whole.
For example, if your company states that it wants its employees to feel like family, then the offered benefits will need to reflect this promise.
How to Be Competitive
When you are looking at the benefits you will offer to your employees and prospective employees, you cannot avoid looking at the costs. Though you may want to offer your employees everything, it may not be feasible.
However, you can still be competitive, even with a reduced budget for these benefits.
- Consider the employee's value. Just as with any financial decision, it is best to think about what the benefit of giving someone benefits will be. If it means you will hire someone who is going to help your company make money or cut costs, the investment may be worth it. Moreover, you will encourage that talent to remain in your company.
- Consider the employee's role(s). Though all roles are important at companies, there is a certain hierarchy to a company. You will want to look at the employee to see if they are just starting out or if they are in the middle of their career. Although you might entice a lower level employee with good benefits, perhaps you can give a higher level benefits to a lower rank when they have become more established as the company.
- Start with basics. You will want to make sure that you start out with the basics of benefits when you first start to create a benefits package. You do not have to offer everyone the highest level of benefits at once, or you can give them the option of adding more, at a cost to them.
- Offer discounted options. When you are buying insurance for a company, it is a group policy, so you get discounts as the business. This means that you can pass on those savings to your employees. If you want to offer your employees more benefits, but you cannot afford to pay for them, then you can show your employees how they can add on those benefits at their expense. This option will be cheaper than if they paid for these benefits on their own.
- Look at your competitor's benefits. If you are not sure where to begin with a competitive benefit package, you may want to look at the job postings of your competition. Find out what an entry level and upper level employee gets in return for their work.
- Increase benefits gradually. One way to make sure that you are not spending your entire budget on benefits is to increase the benefits you offer in relation to the profits of the company. You may even offer this to employees as a choice, a higher salary, or better benefits. This will then show employees that the harder they work, the more they can expect in return.
- Focus on the value of benefits to your team. As you thought of your company brand and your ideal employee, think about what your team values within their lives. If you can consider who they are and what they want from you, it will be easier for you to choose the benefits that make the most sense for their needs and goals.
There are certainly a number of benefits that you can offer as an employer, and only you (and your budget) can determine what works best for your company.
Selling Your Benefits Package
Once you have an idea of what your benefits package might look like, it is a good idea to start selling this package to the team you have and the prospective new team members.
You can sell your benefits in a number of ways, which will encourage employees to become excited about what you have to offer, even if you cannot offer them all of the benefits at no cost to them.
- Be clear. When you are trying to get someone excited about your benefits, you need to be clear about what they will get and what that means. Creating a booklet of the details will ensure that the prospective employee understands what it all means for them and their family.
- Show the costs. Though the costs of healthcare are higher than you might like, the more clearly you can show the costs of a benefits package to the prospective employee, the more of an informed decision an employee can make. In addition, you will not be accused of hiding the truth of your benefits' cost.
- Show the benefits. Outline what each of the benefits are, what the levels of coverage might be, what the packages include, and other information.
- Show the savings. Show the standard cost for the benefits package if a person were to buy them outside of the group policy, and then show the price that the group policy affords them. The difference is the savings that an employee is getting.
- Show how this adds to the salary. You can take the savings and then show how this adds to the salary of the employee. Not only are they being paid, but they are also saving on something they would have to buy for themselves.
- Show the potential for increased benefits. If you are thinking about creating a staggered benefits system, one that increases the benefits with time, then you will want to display this to a prospective employee. This may encourage loyal team members to be even more interested in working with you.
You can also sell your benefits package by announcing it at the interview and in the job posting. This will increase the interest in the job and it might entice those who were not completely sure if the job was for them.
Additionally, if you are offering new or unique benefits as a part of your benefits package (for example, massage, acupuncture), you will want to include that as a part of your 'sales pitch.'
Devising an Effective and Desirable Corporate Wellness Program
When you think about your employees, you know they are resources for your success. If they are not taken care of, they are not going to perform the way you need them to perform.
This thinking has led to the creation of corporate wellness programs, or programs that are designed to help employers create stronger and healthier teams. Healthier teams are advantageous to the bottom line and to overall company growth.
While these are often enacted in larger companies, know that smaller companies can also use these programs to entice and to retain their valued staff members.
These programs help to encourage employees in their health goals and activities. A program might look like an organized weight loss contest or routine health examinations to ensure employees are taking care of their bodies.
The thought process behind corporate wellness is that when you have a larger group working on the same goals together, the participants will inspire each other and they will see better results.
In addition, there are other benefits to having a corporate wellness program:
- Reduced sick days. A person who is actively taking care of himself or herself is going to stay healthier for the entire year. This employee is going to have a stronger immune system and one that will ensure they are at work when they need to be.
- Increased job satisfaction. Studies have also shown that people who are healthier tend to be happier when they are at work. By providing some sort of wellness program, employees can release tension and stay calm during even the toughest work periods. In addition, it has been shown that those who exercise and eat right are more resistant to stress.
- Improved productivity. People who are healthier and happier will produce more when they are at work. They are more focused on their jobs and they are more energized during the day. Many companies have found that the implementation of a corporate wellness program has been more effective than other productivity enhancement strategies.
- Increased teamwork. When people work together on personal goals, they will work together well in the office also. Wellness programs can create a sense of camaraderie, one that spills over into work assignments as well.
- Fewer healthcare expenses. If you have a workforce that is not sick, you will not have healthcare costs as high. Your employees will not have to use their benefits as often, and they will be able to have lower cost plans.
While a corporate wellness program is easy to implement and to maintain, it is one of the best things you can do to benefit your employees. All you need to do is to figure out what the team wants and how you can motivate them to take part.
What Does Your Company Need or Want?
Very often, employees may start their own wellness programs, without your input. This is seen in smaller companies with people who have known each other for a while, as they are closer and more willing to share their weight loss goals, for example. They might get together and decide to put $20 into an account for a certain period. Whoever loses the most weight in that time will then collect the money.
However, how do you turn that idea into something that can be implemented on a larger scale?
You may want to start with a survey of your team to see what their health concerns might be. This will give you a sense of where you might begin the program and what you might plan for the company as whole.
Some of the most common starting points and goals are:
- Weight loss.
- Blood pressure control.
- Smoking cessation.
- Physical fitness.
You want to choose something that as many people in your company as possible can follow. Alternatively, you might choose multiple programs so that you can have the entire company involved, though they may not all share the same goals.
Look around your office to see what you think the best wellness program might be. You might also begin a program about what you perceive to be the main concern in the office and see how that is received.
Often, it is a good idea to start these programs when it is the beginning of the year, as many people are already thinking about how they might change their health.
With all of this in mind, it can be tricky sometimes to think about what a company needs, as it might cause some employees to feel as though they are being singled out or judged.
Instead, you might want to begin with a campaign about the health concerns that are showing up, and talk with some people in the office who are already motivated to change.
By empowering people in the office, you will find that people are ready to follow those examples. In addition, you tend to get more buy in for the programs when it is not management doling out what 'needs' to be done.
Consider what your office needs, and from there you can assess the different kinds of wellness programs to see what fits best for everyone.
If you are still not sure about what plans to use, here are some basic guidelines that can help:
- Determine the problem. Start with one problem that many people may have listed in an anonymous survey.
- Turn the problem into a goal. Focus on creating a goal that people can work toward, one that is measurable and realistic. For example, you might start a weight loss program in which everyone tries to lose 10 percent of his or her body weight (if they are determined to be overweight).
- Help employees measure their starting point and their progress. You will want to have a way for employees to determine where they are and how they are progressing. You might offer to have scales, tape measures, or phone apps available so everyone can continue to measure him- or herself. Then, someone who is in charge can keep track of these numbers.
- Provide the time, equipment, and resources. Of course, you do not want to start an employee program and then not give your team the time or the resources to follow through. You might want to set aside time during each day for people to work toward their goals. Not only will this give them some additional downtime, but it will also increase their chances of success.
- Make the actions public. The more you can make the measurements public and the more you can make the activities seen, you will encourage people to stick with their plans to reach their goal(s).
- Have incentives. Many people respond to wellness programs when there are incentives or rewards. While this may not be the only reason that they may decide to lose weight, for example, it can help to create energy and excitement when motivation starts to wane.
- Ensure that this is a priority. No matter what you decide to do for the wellness program, you need to make sure the team knows that the program is a priority. You cannot simply start a program and hope that people will feel the same way you do about the plan. Talk up the corporate wellness program, share your results publicly, and continue to be excited (and managers should participate too!).
The more you can work on the wellness program, the more successful everyone will be, and the more results the program will have after it is done.
Incentives for Employees
There are a number of ways to motivate employees to accept the corporate wellness program in your office. The use of incentives is one way. While you might think that just having the time to take care of themselves would be enough incentive, when you are starting out, you might need to do more to coax people to participate in the process.
Here are some of the most common incentives you might choose at the start.
- Cash or gift cards . The easiest and most common inventive is cash or a gift card for 'winning' the wellness challenges or meeting certain goals. While these are certainly valuable to employees, sometimes these types of rewards take away from the personal motivation that a person should have when they are trying to improve their health. Ideally, they should want to do the program, even
- if they do not win anything in return. Moreover, these types of incentives are taxable since they are income.
- Plan based. Some companies might choose to decrease the health insurance premiums for those who participate in wellness programs, which can be advantageous for the employees. The only trick with this type of incentive is that some employees will wait until the insurance payment changes and then they stop the new habits since the insurance cannot be changed again until an open enrollment period.
- Negative. In some companies, they might choose to penalize the employees who are not taking advantage of the wellness programs by taking back a payment for the program or by garnishing some small percentage of wages for not meeting goals. Research simply does not support this type of negative incentive system. More often, employee morale decreases and the idea of management presiding over employees become more prevalent.
- Eligibility. Other companies might choose to allow only certain people into the wellness program at all. For example, some people might be able to apply and be in the program if they are already healthy. However, this might also be discriminatory, so companies should check with their legal team before setting up this system.
As you can see, even incentives can be tricky when you are working with a wellness program.
Instead, it might more effective simply to get people in the company excited about signing up and improving their health.
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