Are You Just Paying Lip Service?

In these rocky economic times, business owners have to make tough decisions to keep their businesses healthy and, hopefully, growing. Often when it comes to budget cutting and belt tightening, the first thing to go or to be cut back are employee benefits.

I challenge you to think differently.

Many businesses say that they value their employees, but then they don’t follow through with that statement. If If employees don’t think you care about them, they won’t care about you. In our business, we say that our people are our most important asset, and one way we show it is by providing our employees with a generous benefits package. It’s a win-win. Great benefits help us attract employees who are in it for the long term and keep them happy and engaged. Happy, healthy employees are better for our business.

This is some of what we offer:

  • 85% employer-paid medical insurance premiums for employees and dependents
  • 401(k) plan with 100% employer match up to 3% of pay, then 50% up to the next 2% of pay; average employee deferral of 8.9%
  • 100% employer-paid premiums for short- and long-term disability insurance
  • 100% employer-paid premiums for long-term care insurance

Now you may say, “Well, we just don’t have the money to do that.” That may be true, or it may be a case of mistaken investment. When it comes to budget time, are you investing in a new roof for your building or in hiring a new salesperson? Or are you making a direct investment in your employees by making sure they have the benefits they need to stay healthy—physically and financially—and happy?

The key is understanding what your employees really want. Surprisingly, many times it’s not more money. While people are certainly motivated by money, you may actually get a better return on your dollar by putting money towards generous benefits instead of raises. A great benefits package allows you to attract a higher level of talent and gain greater engagement while they are at work. We also make sure that we remind employees that they have a rich benefits plan, so that they don’t take it for granted.

Altruism? Or better for the bottom line?
We also offer something that many other companies do not: a long-term care insurance benefit. We’ve found long-term care to be a growing concern for many employees. We pay for 100% of their basic benefit, and offer the opportunity for them to pay for increased coverage as well as get coverage for their spouse. In addition, we searched until we found a policy that is portable. That means they will be able to access their coverage during the years that they will most likely need it most—post working years. True, our company may not see a tangible “benefit” from offering LTCI because the employee will no longer be working for us when using the benefit, but it does send an important message. Offering long-term care insurance tells our employees that we truly value them now—and in the future.

Our goal is to be an employer of choice. One important way we accomplish that is by offering a generous benefits plan. If you believe that people are your most important asset, you must make the investment in them with sufficient measure that they know you care today and into the future.

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