As a small business owner, you want to look out for the wellbeing of your employees as much as you possibly can. After all, employees that are happy, healthy and feel well cared for will be even more motivated to help grow and improve your business. But as far as benefits like health insurance, paid time off and other work perks are concerned, what should you be offering?
Trey Taylor, owner of Taylor Insurance Services, works with small businesses to help inform owners on the offerings that best suit their needs. Here’s what he had to say about how to offer affordable benefits to your employees that will keep them invested in working for your studio.
Take advantage of loopholes that benefit small businesses
One of the biggest barriers for small business owners looking to provide health care benefits to employees is the price point. And rightly so, since medical coverage can get very expensive. But according to Taylor, small businesses do have certain “leg ups” when it comes to providing health plans for their staff members. “Small employers need to realize that their nimbleness and adaptability are advantages to use in their own favor,” he says. “For example, the Affordable Care Act now provides for health underwriting on a community-rated basis for companies under 50. This means that the actual health conditions of employees in a group may not be considered, or even queried, in determining the price of the insurance provided.” Meaning, you could end up getting a more competitive rate on a health insurance plan than if you were a larger corporation.
Get creative with the benefits you’re offering
If you’re unable to offer the traditional model of health insurance, Taylor recommends exploring other options to see what would be doable for your business. “We have recently introduced an app, Healthjoy, that provides a host of medical services to employees on a 24/7 basis,” he says. “For less than $20 per month, an employee has access to a doctor for treatment, and a concierge to assist with scheduling appointments, researching providers to find the right doctor, reconciling bills, and consulting on pharmacy benefits.” Similar apps like FreshBenies have health care offerings as well, so it’s worthwhile to do your research and make a few calls to see which will provide the best group rate for your business.
Offer benefits that don’t have a direct cost
Since there’s no getting around the cost of insurance, Taylor recommends utilizing the power of offering benefits that don’t have a hard dollar amount attached to them. “Our own firm offers ‘T-days’ four times a year where an employee takes the whole day (paid) off in the middle of the week to work on personal projects, decompress, or take care of something family related,” he says. “The rest of us cover the phones and email, and the employee comes back refreshed and ready to go again. Large companies can do this (and some do), but at a much greater cost and hassle to their HR departments.” Offering benefits in the form of incentives that build camaraderie among your team members will also help keep morale high. “A client of ours takes his employees out to dinner at a nice restaurant every time he or she receives a compliment from one of their clients,” says Taylor. “The CEO explained to me, ‘I have to eat anyway, and doing so in a situation where I can reward the person whose hard work makes me successful is an honor.’ By leveraging the small size of his company, our client can do something meaningful for his people.”
Find an advisor that can help
Unfortunately, figuring out health insurance options and other benefits for your employees isn’t a straightforward process. If you’re considering providing coverage for your staff members, Taylor recommends consulting with an expert in the space who’s up to date on all the latest offerings that would benefit your small business. Doing so ensures you’re taking full advantage of all your options. “An employer has to make a value judgment on whether sourcing, hiring and keeping good talent is worth the cost of paying some portion of the cost for benefits,” Taylor says. “At the end of the day, a client needs a broker who is small business focused. These brokers often know the challenge of running a small business because they are small businesses themselves, and can share best practices from other small businesses with whom they work. There have been many times when a client of mine asks a question and another client provides the answer.” Ask for recommendations from other small business in your area to find a trustworthy broker in your town.