Employee Benefits

Small Businesses & Benefits: What You Need to Know

If you run a business with employees, employee benefits are a matter of major concern. Small, medium, or large company – if you have employees, you need to be well acquainted with your benefits options.

We know that great workers are drawn to firms that offer
attractive employee benefits. So what are the right benefits that will be most appealing to the kinds of workers you are trying to attract? And for that matter, what are the most relevant benefits you can offer based on your current employees?

The following are key employee benefits guidelines that will
help you hire and retain the best cost-effective workers:

1. Determine the kind of benefits required

The kinds of benefits you consider should be relevant to the kind of activities and risks your employees face. Benefits like wellness, life, vision, dental can be in the mix. It’s a good thing to talk with your employees, and develop a solid sense for what they will find most valuable.

2. Your Insurance Coverage Responsibilities

Working with an independent insurance agency and benefits specialist will help you find suitable benefits at a great rate. But finding and implement a benefits program requires more work.

The following are 3 important steps to follow to ensure employee benefits are to implemented successfully:

a. Deductions from the salary

The common practice today is that employees pay for benefits via their paychecks. It is your responsibility to ensure that this is done. Failure to follow up on this can have serious ramifications. Imagine a situation where the employee’s deductions haven’t been made for a number of months or even years. This can leave your company wide open to lawsuits and prosecution.

b. Workers who have Exited

The insurance coverage provider should be informed when an employee exits the company. This needs to be updated in a reasonable period of time. Otherwise, you may end up paying for benefits for employees that don’t exist.

c. New Employees

It is very important that you have a clearly defined process for new employees to become enrolled in your benefits plan. You also need to have excellent record keeping that tracks the benefits offered and the employee’s response.

3. Legal Compliance

Implementing a benefits plan can be fraught with legal implications. Laws governing benefits require that employee benefits must be offered by a company in a consistent manner. Things like ERISA, COBRA, and Medicare can all have an impact. Working with a rock-solid benefits consultant will ensure you navigate the benefits process while minimizing your risks associated with offering benefits.

And if you aren’t leveraging the expertise of a Benefits expert, please reach out to our team with questions. We’ll be sure to help connect you with the resources you need to help your company with whatever benefits challenges you face.

Offering Life Insurance As a Benefit is Becoming Popular

Employers are finding it increasingly advantageous to offer a life insurance benefit to their employees. It has immense value for both the employer and the employee.

On one hand, the employer gets to attract and retain top-notch, high-quality workers. On the other hand, employees are made to feel secure in the knowledge that they are well covered in case of any fatal eventuality. Based on this, life insurance policies as a benefit have grown in popularity.

Interestingly, life insurance benefit has not always been this well received. A couple of years ago, it was quite difficult to convince employers and employees alike to invest in life insurance. Data released following studies commissioned by LIMRA in 2015 and again in 2017 put this into perspective.

The 2015 study found about 57% of adult Americans indicated that they had zero interest in taking a life insurance policy that year.
Contrast this with the findings made public earlier this year. It shows 58% of workers strongly feel that life insurance benefit was important and essential in their work environment.

Indeed, indicators show that life insurance benefit is more valued and desired than many other perks. It has recently come to be ranked in the same category with retirement plans and medical coverage/prescription drug benefits.

The increased interest in life insurance as a benefit has been enhanced by several factors:

Increased employee security and a sense of well being when they know that they have a life insurance policy in place. This appears to have a positive impact on productivity and profitability while also retaining top talent.
Improving attitudes toward the economy. Workers are more confident they can handle their share of the premiums.
Workers are becoming more sophisticated in their understanding of finances. This includes understanding the benefit of having a life insurance policy.

The Role of Financial Advisors in Helping Companies…

As a company considers offering Life Insurance as a benefit to employees, it is helpful to work with a financial advisor who can serve as an advocate within the company for broad adoption of the benefit.

Selecting the right financial advisor means working with someone who can help educate employees. (It important that the team has a clear understanding of the benefit and its advantages.)

This will also help the employees fully appreciate the value of what the company is offering through the life insurance benefit.

It’s always a good time to begin exploring your options for the benefits you offer and Life Insurance should be in the mix. Please call or Email us with questions and we’ll put you in touch with the best resources available.

How Allowing Telecommuting Can Benefit Your Business

Innovation makes it much easier than ever before for your workers to be efficient while working from house or anywhere else in the world. While remote work could initially sound like something that just benefits your workers, there are numerous ways it could help your business.

The typical office is becoming a thing of the past. In previous generations, just a tiny percent of Americans functioned from another location, however the number has been continuously increasing and also got to a new high of 43 percent in 2016.

Innovation makes it much easier compared to ever for your staff members to be effective while functioning from residence or anywhere else on the planet. While remote work may initially seem like something that only benefits your workers, there are several methods it can help your business.

1. Greater Performance

A common fear among employers is that remote staff members won’t work as hard, however various researches have confirmed that not true. Greater than two-thirds of companies discovered that performance was higher with their remote employees for numerous reasons.

Remote workers have less workplace disturbances than workers at the office. They don’t should commute, so they could start their day more loosened up compared to if they ‘d just invested a hr in website traffic, and lots of utilize the moment they save on commuting to function much more.

The standard 9-to-5 day isn’t really optimal from an efficiency viewpoint, either. It typically leads to periods of high efficiency blended with periods where workers are much less concentrated, such as the normal mid-afternoon time-out after lunch. When you provide remote staff members adaptability in regards to their routine, they could structure their days so they’re working when they feel most productive.

2. Much more Pleased Employees

Employees take into consideration working from residence a significant perk, which’s particularly real among millennials, that value their work-life balance greater than any previous generation. People want jobs that allow them to maintain control of their lives and also have lots of opportunities to take a trip.

When your organisation uses the opportunity to work from another location, it will have a less complicated time attracting as well as preserving ability. This makes an adaptable job arrangement an exceptional motivation to offer staff members as well as task prospects instead of a greater salary. You conserve money and your staff members obtain something they value from the plan.

Higher worker contentment additionally results in less turn over. The expense of changing a worker could run more than $10,000, making employee retention vital to the longevity of your business.

3. Lowered Expenses Expenses

Your company invests much less loan on its expenses when you employ remote staff members. One of the most noticeable financial savings is your rent, as you can utilize a smaller sized office when you have less staff members, and also you’ll cut your energies expenses.

Every remote staff member you hire is one much less workstation you require, as well as considering that a computer is a basic piece of equipment in several industries, you could save hundreds or hundreds of bucks each workstation. You will not have to equip as much of those typical office supplies, including paper, printer ink and snacks for the break room.

4. Fewer Lacks

Absences cost your business money, and also there’s an also better impact for small businesses that depend on a restricted variety of staff members. Remote staff members do not call unwell as often, as people are more probable to resolve small health problems when they don’t have to leave the house. You additionally prevent a situation where one unwell staff member comes to work and infects other people at the workplace.

Ailments certainly typically aren’t the only reason staff members take times off, as many do so for duties, family members issues, and also various other commitments that they cannot reschedule. With an adaptable working arrangement, employees could deal with other jobs during the day then function when they obtain house.

5. A Larger Ability Swimming pool

When you have a placement to load, you could increase your search to talent around the nation or even the world if you’re open to remote employees. It’s not always feasible to locate the perfect prospect for a placement in your area, especially if your company isn’t really near a major metro area or the setting requires an employee with an unique skillset.

Thanks to contemporary innovation, the working with process for remote staff members is easy. Task boards as well as professional socials media, such as LinkedIn, could help you locate qualified candidates from throughout. You could perform meetings by phone or utilizing a video calling solution.

Establishing adaptable working arrangements can appear risky when you haven’t done it in the past, yet it shows your workers that you trust them, as well as it will end up being an equally useful arrangement. Bear in mind that you can constantly start little by allowing employees work from another location for 1 or 2 days weekly, or hiring your very first remote staff member to handle a couple of small projects. Assess the result in see if it’s practical for your business.

Avoid Buyers Remorse When Shopping for Benefits

HR executives need to pay close attention to 3 essential components before selecting any health-plan.

* Choosing the right broker
* Strong and reliable plan offerings
* Gaining employee input

Indeed, a key component of a Human Resource (HR) manager’s job is involved in benefits management. Key responsibilities include investigation, examination, suggestion as well as integration of health-plan benefits. To avoid health benefit headaches, take a look at these elements in detail.

Choosing The Right Broker:

One of the vital elements in ensuring the smooth adoption of a health benefit plan is getting hold of the right broker. While some organizations are tempted to opt out of a broker’s services, having one can make a huge difference. (Just because you can buy plans directly online doesn’t mean that’s the best way to get the right plan for your organization’s needs.) Brokers can prove to be quite cost-effective for organizations of any size. In fact, they rarely add extra expense to the organization. (It is important to note that the selected benefits provider is responsible for paying compensations to the broker.

A broker has the knowledge to construct a health-benefit plan suited for your organization. The broker can help you navigate the laws as well as other variables that may affect the employee benefits and the health care market. Such brokers are well- experienced in looking after innumerable health plan options.

Most importantly, your broker can offer a better understanding of a health plan’s true value and total cost of ownership. This goes way beyond deductibles and expenses.

Strong And Reliable Plan Offerings:

It is also important to make sure that employees can choose the plan that suits them best. For this, one should have a proper understanding of employee finances, lifestyle, and demographics. This understanding can be made better with efficient and trustworthy interaction.

Frequent and early communication with employees is a must. One can also provide tools to help the employees make their decisions of selecting the right health plan. This includes helping employees understand costs, benefits, and plan requirements. (One of the primary reasons buyer’s remorse sets in for companies is a lack of employee understanding regarding the plans benefits.)

Ongoing Employee Input:

This is another way to avert buyer’s remorse. Maintaining interaction with employees in preparation of enrollment can minimize or prevent troubles. This will ensure employees make the best benefits selections at the time of enrollment. It’s also best to repeat messages to strengthen their value and reduce knowledge gaps.

Opting for an open-door policy to improve interaction with employees is a good way to keep a tab on ongoing employee responses. For example, you can establish an email-address where employees can send comments. You can also create secure online forms for collecting anonymous feedback. Alternatively, a company can leverage employee focus groups. These involve teams from various departments of the organization. They work to learn about employees’ perspectives.

In Conclusion:

By taking the above-mentioned elements into consideration, you can ensure successful plan implementation.

And if you have more questions on selecting, implementing, or managing a health benefit plan, reach out to us. We’ll put you in touch with the information and resources you need to ensure success.

Employee Benefits Technology Draws Better Talent

It’s extremely important for SMBs and startups to choose and employ benefit technologies for providing employees with the right benefit management infrastructure. It’s also helpful for attracting and keeping quality talent.

What should the startups or business owners looking to establish their own digital employee benefits system do?

Experts are saying that the last five years have seen HR technologies develop significantly. We have been flooded with technological innovations; the most prominent ones among them offer a plethora of self-service features. This is good news for business owners. Today, instead of hiring a Human Resource professional for a few hours a day or week, business owners can use a system capable of bringing workers onboard and managing and uploading all their vital HR related information.

Should a startup look to outsource the services related to employee benefits, or is keeping it in-house a better decision?

There’s always the option of recruiting an in-house CPA or certified public accountant. He or she can do the job of linking employee benefits with workers records and can also manage things like payroll record, tax obligations etc. However, having a full-time CPA can be cost-prohibitive for startups. As the owner of your company, you can also decide to handle all these elements yourself, but that could be extremely stressful; the situation would be even more unpleasant if you have employees in multiple states.

A great way of handling all these issues is opting for third-party solutions. You should hire the services of an HR technology provider that specializes in medium and small businesses. These service providers would help you with core HR administration; you will also gain access to advanced benefit management software.

Using the solutions offered by these third parties offers more than cost savings. You may also find access to a greater assortment of potential benefits you can offer your team.

What kind of benefits are millennial workers (or younger) demanding?

Individuals, who are in their early to late 20s, primarily look for easy commuting. So, for employees who take public transportation or share rides, the majority of the third party HR technology providers offer software for tracking that history and building benefits around commuting.

Health is another major concern. Keeping that in mind, companies have started to set up wellness programs and offer benefits such as Tai chi and yoga classes, massage, etc. Some companies are allowing employees to have interest bearing accounts for holidays, health etc. Another common benefit offered by businesses is reimbursements for learning and education programs.

What kinds of employee benefit systems are required for managing these modern-day benefits?

One of the highlights of these HR systems is their all-encompassing nature. This allows business owners to make various benefits accessible through these systems. For example, you can arrange a volunteer program or wellness program for your employees and make them accessible through the HR systems provided by third parties. Your aim should be helping your employees in staying fit and healthy. That would eventually benefit your business.

Younger individuals are more interested in becoming smart consumers of various medical benefits. They know how to get the best medical care for the lowest possible price.

How do today’s workers use modern technology for tapping into employee benefits systems?

Ideally, you should work with a provider that offers some sort of mobile application. In fact, this is one of the biggest advantages of outsourcing HR services for your local business.

How important is it to discuss benefits when hiring, recruiting, and maintaining workers?

It’s extremely important. Even a few years ago businesses could get away without worrying about benefits. However, as it becomes more competitive to attract talent, having a benefits system in place can make a huge difference in recruiting. As such it is important to understand the trends in benefits, what potential target employees are looking for, as well as the cost implications for having a benefits system in place.

This List of Must-have Benefits May Surprise You

With the ability pool as aggressive as it is, employers understand that a durable benefits bundle is necessary to hire and also keep the most effective and brightest employees.

Much more employees expect employers to stay on top of present fads and also proactively offer a collection of rewards for their changing requirements, according to MetLife’s latest advantage trends study.

Specifically, these complying with 10 benefits top the requirements staff members desire employers to give, inning accordance with MetLife.

10. Short-term disability insurance

43% of employees state this is a must-have benefit

9. Lasting disability insurance

43% of workers claim this is a must-have benefit

8. Vison treatment insurance coverage

51% of employees state this is an essential advantage

7. Life insurance

57% of staff members state this is a must-have advantage

6. Residence insurance policy

62% of employees claim this is a must-have benefit

5. Dental insurance coverage

68% of employees state this is an essential benefit

4. Vehicle insurance

68% of workers state this is an essential advantage

3. 401( k) (or various other retirement).

72% of employees state this is an essential advantage.

2. Prescription drug protection.

72% of staff members say this is a must-have benefit.

1. Medical (wellness) insurance coverage.

88% of employees say this is an essential benefit.

Giving Rewards to Increase Motivation

Recognizing an employee’s talent and rewarding them is a simple way to increase motivation. American Express recently conducted a survey on 300 SME (small-medium enterprises). They found that 89% of workers have received some form of incentive from their company. While most employees have received some form of incentive, about 33% percent of employee participants feel that it makes them work harder. This is interesting to note considering that 37% of employers who don’t currently use rewards believe that starting a reward system would increase their employees level of production.

 

While rewarding employees can serve many functions, about 34% of employers feel that adding a incentive program will result in higher retention rates. This seems to makes sense, since 46% of employees feel “really valued” after receiving an incentive. Since 44% percent of employees feel rewards are a way of employers noticing their dedication, it may be worth the investment of companies to think about adding such a system

 

Companies choose various way in which to reward their team members. 38% of companies choose to only provide an incentive to their high performing employees. While 23% provide rewards to all their employees. It seems that a lot of companies have a harder time investing money into their talent unless it is high profitable for them to do so. But, its interesting to consider that 21% of employers choose to reward their long term employees.

 

Brendan Walsh, Executive Vice President, recently said “Small to medium-sized businesses have put strategies in place to grow product and service in innovations”. Companies are looking for ways to increase their level of production through various avenues. It’s difficult to judge a reward system in “hard” numbers. Feedback from employees can be a valuable resource to calculate the cost benefit of a reward system.

 

One often overlooked aspect of incentives is how they are delivered. Looking an employee straight in the eye and saying “thank you” is critical. Simply adding money to a pay check without some form of recognition defeats the purpose.

 

Of course, incentives are only one part of attracting and keeping employees. We are always searching for new information on employee benefits. If you have any questions about your current employee benefit program, please feel free to contact us. We can answer any questions and help with the expansion of any employee benefit package.

Paid Family Leave a Standard Benefit?

Both left and right have suggested concepts for paid family leave. This is an outcome of the fact that most Americans support some form of federally mandated family-leave law.

It may be surprising for business owners and managers to hear that the U.S. is the only developed country that doesn’t offer guaranteed time off for parents and other caregivers.

But there is a shift taking place. New York passed a generous state-backed family program in 2016. It allows for 12 weeks of paid time off for new parents. It also allows for time off for anyone who needs to care for a family member with a serious medical condition.

Minnesota, Rhode Island, & California all have established family-leave policies.

Big companies are joining the fray. From Cambell’s to American Express they are introducing or expanding their paid-leave programs. These include offering more time off and allowing for more ways to qualify for coverage.

While the trend is increasing, universal mandatory family leave is a way’s off. Congress is not unified on what should be included in a program or whether one should exist at all…

Yet younger workers are particularly interested in family leave options. Employers are taking notice. Employers are realizing this is a significant way to compete and offer unique benefits.

One challenge facing businesses is that benefit plans are often built around older concepts of family care. These assume that women will take on most of the child care duties early on. Yet fathers have become much more involved.

One concern is whether the company’s culture is fully supportive of the paid leave options they offer. Some paid leave laws don’t include job protection. Employees feel pressured to return to work earlier than they otherwise would prefer because their career depends on it.

One progressive program is offered by Earnst& Young which has more than 230,000 employees world-wide. It is expanding parental leave to cover 16 weeks for new mothers & fathers. This includes time for birth, of course. But it also includes surrogacy, adoption, or legal guardianship as well. Their program is robust and considered to be a trendsetter. The point? To be the most attractive potential employer.

Small companies are not as disadvantaged as you might imagine. Often times a small business can be more flexible with their workforce vs. larger companies. Small companies can also be more responsive.

Small Business Options and Challenges

Small businesses tend to be lean operations. Having a team member leave is challenging. Offering paid time off for 16 weeks at a time may feel impossible.

Yet the key is in finding flexible options that can be appealing to workers while being affordable for the employer. This could include flex time as well as working from home.

Why is it important to be flexible? Because the median cost of replacing a worker is roughly 21% of their annual salary. With that in mind, finding flexible leave options becomes more affordable.

If the employer works with employees to plan, workloads can often be divided. Likewise projects can be scheduled around an individual’s absence. By carefully evaluating options, a small business can often find a path that can absorb the impact of leave.

If you are thinking about a flexible leave program, the best first action is to talk with your benefits adviser who can help you explore your options.

Encouraging Healthy Eating in the Workplace Pays Dividends!

Have you thought about a workplace wellness program? They can be extremely helpful in creating a happy & healthy workforce. They can also result in decreasing sick days while creating significant gains in productivity.

One important aspect of a good wellness program is helping employees learn how to make healthy and balanced eating decisions. Helping team members make sensible food choices can have a big influence on the effectiveness of a wellness program.

One important thing is to help your employees understand that any such program is voluntary. In fact, it is critical to listen to employees closely to help determine if a healthy eating program would be a good fit for your office. Surveys and conversations can help uncover team concerns. They can also help to uncover “evangelists” who’ll keep co-workers excited about the program.

Some general guidelines include:

  • Know your employees – find out what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past.
  • Work with your team to develop a plan the entire team can be excited about.
  • Determine how long the plan will go and what support will be included.
  • Pay employees a little extra to help organize the program and keep it going.

As for topics, there are many you can leverage to build an excellent program…

  • Pros & cons of going vegan
  • How to eat healthy when on business trips
  • Understanding the basics of healthy eating
  • Weight administration
  • Stretching healthy dinners into healthy lunches the next day
  • Understanding the impact of things like salt, sugar, fats, and cholesterol
  • How stress management impacts eating habits

The list is nearly endless!

You should also ask your insurance professional if integrating a healthy eating / wellness program could have a positive effect on your group health insurance rates…

And for more thoughts on creating a program, here’s a great resource out of Canada.

Paid Time Off & Parental Leave Make Employers More Competitive

Paid Time Off & Parental Leave Make Employers More Competitive

To remain competitive in a tightening employment market, companies are increasing the amount of PTO (paid time off) given to workers. This is especially true for parental leave. Another major adjustment becoming popular is a change how paid leave is structured. We’ll start with that first.

Companies are realizing they have to innovate to be competitive employers. They are finding that paid leave is more attractive when compared to other pay and benefit options.

One program that’s become popular is PTO banks. These incorporate holiday, sick days, and earned time off into one united account. A survey of companies performed by WorldatWork in 2002 showed that 28% of respondents were leveraging PTO banks. As of 2015, the number had shot up to 43%.

More traditional PTO approaches separate vacation, sick, and paid holidays into separate accounting. They are still more widespread but they are in decline.

One advantage for the PTO bank approach is that plans are easier to administrate. Another advantage is that they help reduce absenteeism. And 69% of companies with PTO banks report that they are critical in attracting new employees.

One negative aspect of PTO banks is that they have to be allocated as a liability on the company’s financial reports.

It’s best to consider a PTO bank in situations where the company has a culture that encourages employees to feel like they have more agency and control over their circumstances.

But the big benefit that has everyone talking lately is Paid Parental Leave. More than 18% of companies surveyed have indicated they are offering more family friendly leave options that surpass the mandates in the FMLA. (Family Medical Leave Act.)

For companies that offer advanced paid leave options, 16% report that they offer 6 weeks. Another 16% report they offer 12 weeks.

Here’s one example. As of 2017, American Express is leading the way by offering a full 20 weeks of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers. They are also offering 6 to 8 weeks of extra paid time off for women who give birth and require medical leave.

Employers can set requirements so that employees must meet requirements before they can utilize this benefit. The most generous programs require tenure of 12 months or more before employees can use the benefit.

So should you implement a robust Parental Leave Program?

  • Can your business afford it?
  • Will employees support it?
  • Will all managers from the top down fully embrace the policy?

And as with PTO Banks, the real question is how will this help your company beat out your competitors for talent. Will offering extended parental leave give you an edge?

And even if you can’t afford to offer PTO Banks or 4 months of paid parental leave, look for creative alternatives! Think about ways you can help new parents with their work / life balance. For example, more flexible hours or telecommuting options.

And if you want to review all of your benefit options, be sure to check with us for ideas. We’ll help you find creative ways to show your employees that you care.

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