How to Expand Your Employee Benefits Offering

One of the most common questions in the HR world is “How do I keep employees happy?”. Well, aside from having a great company culture, one of the major ways of retaining your employees and keeping them happy is by offering them a good benefits package. Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking they cannot afford to offer benefits, but the truth is that offering a robust benefits package to your employees will have a positive effect on your bottom line. After all, it’s your employees who keep the company running. Happy employees lead to a successful business. With how competitive the job market has become over the past few years, offering good benefits should be a priority. There are some traditional benefits that are often included in a benefits package. These include health insurance, 401K, paid vacation time, health plans, dental and vision plans, life insurance plans, paid holidays, and so on. However, nowadays companies are offering other benefits aside from the traditional packages in order to stay competitive. If you already offer some benefits, expanding employee benefits can also be helpful for improving employee morale and productivity. If your employees believe you care about them and their well-being, they'll care more about the job that they do for you and be more invested in your business' success. The following are some perks and benefits you should consider offering to your employees.

Unlimited PTO

I know, even the thought of this is scary. Why would you offer unlimited paid time off to your employees? What if they start abusing it? Research has proven that employees who vacation are happier with their jobs, more engaged, and less likely to quit than those employees who don’t take time off. Companies who are actively seeking top talent are starting to make this a priority in their benefits package. Before you toss this idea out the window, it is important to know that companies who offer unlimited PTO have had success by acting in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Don’t leave your employees guessing. When Salesfusion established their unlimited PTO policy, employees started taking less time off because they were unsure how much vacation was too much. How did they fix this issue? Well, they created a document outlining employee's most frequently asked questions and they detailed what he maximum amount of days of vacation employees could take at a time, as well as the process of arranging that time off.
  • Measure employee performance. Before establishing this policy, you need to make sure you have communicated with all employees what your expectations regarding their performance are. Obviously, if an employee has nothing to show by the end of the week, that employee should not be taking time off. Make sure that managers set clear goals for their team and that they are constantly making sure those goals are being met.
  • Make sure they unplug. A vacation means clearing your mind from everything that causes you stress. Therefore, when an employee takes a vacation, make sure you encourage them to not check their email or even check in with their supervisors.

Not only is unlimited PTO beneficial to your employees, but it will make your job easier.  By offering unlimited PTO, you will make your company stand out from competitors in the job market. What’s more, research shows that employees rarely abuse unlimited vacation. If they do, it is usually a sign that something is wrong and you’re better off letting that employee go.

Wellness Programs

This may sound unnecessary, but trust me, your employees will appreciate it! Big companies like Google go as far as having on-staff physicians, but of course,  this probably won’t be in the budget for smaller companies. Having healthy snacks around the office such as fresh fruit and granola bars can be beneficial. Last week I shared some tips on how to squeeze healthy habits into your life, and one of the tips was to not skip breakfast. Realistically, there may be days when an employee might have a rough morning and had to leave the house without eating anything. Having healthy snack options in the office may be helpful in this case. Also, some of us are stress eaters, meaning we like to snack when we are under stress. Instead of having your employees run to the vending machine to get a bag of chips, they can grab a granola bar or some berries to snack on instead. Another option can be having in-house yoga classes, like we’ve done here at Dominion, or invest in massage chairs. There are a number of ways you can improve the overall well being of your employees, and when you do you’ll notice drastic improvements in productivity right off the bat.

Student Loan Debt Reimbursement

Fact: about four in ten adults under the age of 30 have student loan debt. According to U.S. News, research increasingly shows a student loan repayment benefit to be a powerful recruitment and retention tool. In fact, 76% of respondents to American Student Assistance’s “Life Delayed" survey agreed that all other things being equal, their choice to take a job would be considerably affected or decided based on an employer's willingness to offer a student loan repayment program. Another interesting fact is that less than 5 percent of companies offer student loans repayment assistance. Therefore, if you become part of that 5 percent, it will make your company stand out. I understand that a small company cannot necessarily afford to pay every employee’s student loan debt, but some employers contribute $50 or $100 a month, which can be a big help for employees who usually make monthly payments of $300 or less. This small contribution can set your company apart from the rest, improving your recruitment and retention rates and your public image.

Snow Days!

Who doesn’t love a good snow day? They are not just for students - or at least they shouldn’t be. If you are based out of a snowy state just like us, then you understand the struggle of having to shovel your driveway every morning, digging your car out of the snow, and calling the tow truck if you get stuck in a ditch. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just stay home and avoid all that? The employees at Burton go skiing whenever they have a snow day, and the company provides all employees with season passes! Again, this isn’t exactly feasible for most companies. However, if your business is located in one of the snowiest states in the U.S., having policies in place to keep your employees safe when the roads are bad can do wonders. Consider offering your employees to work from home if possible. By showing employees that the company is willing to go out of the way to make sure they’re safe and comfortable, you’ll earn their respect and create a fun atmosphere around the office.

Once you have determined what benefits to offer to your employees, you will most likely need a Benefits Administration software to help you plan and administer employee benefits packages and ensure compliance with government regulations. Benefits administration softwares are used to manage employee benefits, such as insurance plans and stock options, and facilitate open enrollment periods through an administrative dashboard. Organizations also use these programs to view and adjust employee benefits packages. Dominion’s Benefits Administration Software is designed to be user-friendly. We've created an interface designed to simplify your open enrollment by creating an interface that reflects an online shopping platform. If you are interested in seeing how a Benefits Administration software can help simplify your open enrollment and help administer your benefits packages, request a demo below!


Sources:

http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2015/06/time-to-expand-your-employee-benefits.html

https://www.inc.com/magazine/201606/minda-zetlin/unlimited-vacation-benefits.html

https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/student-loan-ranger/articles/2016-03-09/more-employers-offer-student-loan-repayment-benefits