The dilemma is common.
Should your small or medium-sized company lavish employees with fabulous benefits and forgo profits or should you penny pinch and risk losing your best employees?
Most small and growing companies can’t afford to provide the unique benefits of Google, Pinterest or Spotify. Offering a year, or even months, of paid family leave, travel benefits, or Fridays off costs too much for most small employers.
What can you do?
First, make sure you understand which benefits are the most important to your employee. Too many employers spend money on benefits such as free snacks or meals when their employees place that benefit as one of the least important. Don’t spend money on an on-site gym when your employees really value a more flexible schedule.
Instead. . .
Check out this list of the top sought-after employee benefits and how your small or medium-sized business can better afford to offer them. Although, the exact ranking of employee benefits varies, depending on the study, we’ve captured the benefits that consistently show up in the top ten.
1. Employees Care About Choice
Employees care more about choice than any other single benefit.
Whether it’s having more than one option for medical insurance, the ability to have flexible schedules, or work from home capabilities, a choice is important.
This is especially true of Millennials, who value choices above traditional benefits.
The good news is that employers who understand the power of choice can offer it to employees through benefit choices.
Managers and executive teams can look at innovative ways to offer choices to employees. They can offer longer shifts and more days off (in states where this is allowed).
Employers can offer employees the ability to train in various areas of the business as a means to expand employee knowledge and to explore other job responsibilities the employees would like to move into.
2. Health Care Insurance: Medical & Dental
Rising health care costs have increased the costs of insurance, while the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has changed the types of insurance plans offered. Health Savings Account and Health Reimbursement Plans have exploded in popularity because they offer a more affordable premium.
Although the ACA requires medical benefits to large employers, even employees of small and medium-sized businesses rank health care benefits as one of the most sought-after benefits. The good news is that there are options for these employers.
Small employers can offer cafeteria plans to employees, which provide access to Flexible Spending Accounts. The money employees delegate to these plans goes in pre-tax.
Another option for employers is to offer employees a choice of health care coverage or a wage premium. Nevada minimum wage laws are based on whether or not employees qualify for their employer’s health care plans. Those that don’t get benefits are paid a higher hourly wage.
Thus, employers can use this example as an option to provide employees choice, especially part-time employees who don’t usually qualify for health insurance and who may prefer the choice of a premium wage.
Likewise, employers can determine a set budget per employee that can be applied toward health care insurance. Employees can then be given choices on the types of coverage, the level of family coverage, or whether to have that amount placed into a reimbursement account. This allows employers to control costs while still offering choice and benefits to employees.
3. More Flexible Hours and Schedules
Flexible hours rank as high as #2 in employee surveys. From baby boomers to millennials, the home-work life balance has become the mantra of employee satisfaction. Studies show that millennials value freedom in the workplace above medical and health insurance or the retirement planning benefits their parents value so highly.
Flexible work hours and schedules don’t mean that you, as the employer, are clueless. You aren’t left wondering if Susan is coming in today.
Instead, flexible hours translate into greater communication.
It means that one week Mike may work 40 hours and the next week he works 30, but since he’s just finished that major project, he’s not sitting around the office burnt out and killing time just to complete his hours.
SwipeClock’s TimeSimplicity provides employers the ability to schedule employees optimally. It allows managers to see what times are most critical to have employees working and when flexibility can be arranged.
WorkforceHUB allows employees to request schedules so that employers can be more flexible. This doesn’t mean that employees suddenly “rule the roost.”
Instead, it means that on Sunday when Jim learns of his brother’s performance in a week, he can request to come in an hour early so he has the flexibility to leave earlier. That request must still be approved or denied by Rosa, Jim’s boss.
Rosa is also benefited. She is checking out Instagram when she gets a text alert of Jim’s request. Approving it is as easy as a click on her phone.
If Jim’s request means time off during critical hours, Rosa can check out SwipeClock’s workforce management tools to make sure that she has the coverage she needs. This means that Rosa doesn’t decline requests unnecessarily and risk creating Jim’s resentment of missing important personal events, but, it also means that Rosa doesn’t approve requests that would create issues for the business.
Another benefit is that Rosa can quickly approve the request, and Jim, checking on it 15 minutes later, feels immediately relieved when he can confirm to his brother that, yes, he can make it.
In an ideal world, employees provide notice and all shifts run smoothly. Fortunately, here on Earth, SwipeClock tools make up the difference!
4. Retirement Planning
Despite the belief that millennials suck at savings, studies show that millennials actually save more for retirement than any previous generation. One of the reasons for this is that many millennials have negative expectations about Social Security. They don’t expect it to be around when they reach retirement age.
As a result, the average age for a millennial to start saving for retirement is 24. This is much lower than baby boomers, who started saving at the age of 33.
The good news. . .
Retirement planning is one benefit that will be important to your entire workforce and you don’t have to buy into big programs tailored to large corporations.
Did you know. . .
You may have missed the news. but SwipeClock and PAi have partnered to provide employers an affordable and simple solution. Employers using SwipeClock’s Time and Attendance software can now offer employees a simple portal that shows their retirement outlook, paystubs, W’2s and other HR services and documents!
Consequently, small business employers can now afford to offer the same access, flexibility, and benefits that were traditionally only affordable to large employers.
This means less hassle for both you and your employees. It also means that small businesses have more options for retirement planning benefits.
5. More Paid Time Off
Paid Time Off (PTO) provides the ability for an employee to not work and get paid. Who doesn’t love that?
Paid time off has become such a hot topic that many states have started passing laws that force employers to offer paid time off in the form of paid sick leave or paid family leave. These laws require employers to allocate paid hours in proportion to the number of hours that employees work.
But that’s not all. . .
Even if you don’t have to comply with local leave regulations, you still want to offer benefits that will attract the best employees to come and stay with your company.
The good news. . .
SwipeClock’s workforce management suite offers employers an easy way to give PTO to employees. Whether you are granting paid sick leave to comply with your local regulations or you want to compete for talent, SwipeClock’s software is the solution.
Employers can program accrual rules, front-load PTO, and provide employer notices to employees. This is vital for complying with employer notification laws.
Additionally, Employees can log in to their dashboard to request sick leave or other time off.
Plus, records are kept which helps the employer to stay in compliance with labor laws and to defend in the unfortunate situation of an employee complaint or lawsuit.
6. Work from Home
Technology has changed the way business runs. The country has moved from a manufacturing age to an information age.
As a result, more positions are being offered as flexible jobs that allow work from home capability full or part-time.
Surprisingly, studies have found that employees who work from home tend to be more productive than in the office. This could be because employees have a point to prove and want to make sure it’s a benefit their employer continues to offer or it may be their ability to customize their environment or work during peak hours.
That means that offering flexible work from home options may yield great dividends.
Don’t assume that offering this type of flexibility means you have to turn your entire workforce into a remote workforce.
Certainly, certain positions can be worked 100% remotely, but work from home options can also include options for employees to take a laptop home and stay with a sick child. Employees able return to work after a disability or family leave can have greater flexibility to work according to their physical abilities during recovery.
This allows your company to offer more flexibility around FMLA and other leave schedules. It also means that employees recovering can contribute from home, even if they aren’t ready to come back to the office and contribute full time.
For example, an employee who has been out of FMLA after the birth of a child may not return to work for several months during their transition to new parenthood.
However, by offering flexible working arrangements, employers can allow a new mom to start working part-time from home while the baby sleeps or to catch up on emails in the evenings.
This creates a better home-work life balance and increases employee satisfaction.
Additionally, SwipeClock offers a myriad of tools that allow employers to track time and for remote employees and manage remote groups.
7. Performance Bonus or Compensation
Performance-based compensation has fallen since 2010. This is surprising since performance-based bonuses are a valued benefit for many employees.
The reason isn’t surprising.
People have a need to be appreciated for the work they give. Performance-based incentives are one way for employers to recognize employees who meet certain goals or criteria.
But, don’t think it has to be competition based.
Not all employees thrive under competition. Many personalities love success through collaboration and team unity.
As a result, you can offer individual incentives for the positions that usually attract competitive personalities. Sales positions are one example of a position that tends to attract competitive-oriented employees.
Employers can also offer team incentives for employees who love collaboration. These incentives can include goals such as staying compliant, completing a difficult project, or customer satisfaction ratings. These incentives don’t have to be monetary. They can include rewards like an afternoon off, a meal out, or a gift.
It’s important to note that anything “earned” by the employee is still subject to FLSA guidelines.
Luckily, SwipeClock’s integration with your payroll system makes it easy to note and track these incentives.
This keeps you compliant with employer tax laws. It also makes it easy to make sure that these incentives are evenly offered and follow anti-discrimination laws.
8. Student Loan Assistance, Tuition reimbursement, and Career Development
A less discussed benefit that ranks high is employee development. It can come in the form of tuition reimbursement or student loan assistance.
It can also come in the form of career development training, classes, and additional on-the-job training.
It can also include certification reimbursement and other employee development opportunities.
Of course, you can keep employee certifications, education, and skills training in TimeWorksPlus!
9. Paid Family Leave
It comes as a surprise to many employers that Paid Family Leave doesn’t always make the top 10 sought after employee benefits.
Even so, it is a benefit that is becoming mandatory for many employers because of state laws. Currently, New York and Oregon have mandatory paid family leave and many other states have additional FMLA rules.
Employers who utilize SwipeClock’s WorkforceHUB or TimeSimplicity can streamline processes to remain compliant with FMLA laws.
Other employers can manage FMLA request, approvals, and updates through the SwipeClock system. Employees can communicate with managers vía the Employee Self Service Portal.
10. Other benefits
There is a myriad of additional benefits that employers can offer. These may include wellness programs, travel perks, relocation benefits or volunteer benefits. Some employers offer community discounts, gym memberships, free or on-site daycare, or free snacks and meals.
Ask your employees which benefits would mean the most to them. Although this list takes into accounts surveys of thousands of employees, your niche of employees may prioritize benefits differently.
How Can My Small Business Find Additional Funds for Employee Benefits?
You may be surprised, but. . .
Chances are, you are throwing away money on payroll. Whether it’s unnecessary hours for payroll processing, wage theft, or paperwork processing that’s stealing time from management’s effectiveness, you can likely reduce your payroll expense by 10% (According to the American Payroll Association.)
The good news is that SwipeClock’s time and attendance tools eliminate these profitability thieves. Take 3 minutes and consider how many employee benefits you could offer if you eliminated 10% of wasted payroll expense? How much would that affect your turnover? How much can you decrease hiring and training costs that come from increased employee retention and acquisition?
These are just a few things to ponder when considering how SwipeClock can help your small business to grow!
Let SwipeClock Help
Your business may have to comply with multiple conflicting city and state ordinances defining Sick leave accrual and usage laws.
Additionally, you also have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Medical Leave Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.
Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according to the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.
Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated on March 17, 2017