Benefits are back. One of the critical reasons people stay at their companies is the non-cash benefits they receive that help them and their families. Remember, this doesn’t mean your business must bear the entire financial responsibility, but instead can help employees make the right decisions for their individual situations.
What benefits must you offer in 2014 to retain top staff?
1. Health insurance. As the cost of insurance continues to rise, employees with families still list this as a top benefit.
How to give the most at a reasonable cost: Shop with insurance brokers and review the state exchanges. Ask employees to bear 50 percent of the cost of their insurance and 100 percent for their families.
2. Work from home. The flexibility to work from home or remotely at least part of the work week is valued by many employees. This can be safely implemented if every team member has well-defined goals and are equipped with all the technological tools to collaborate remotely.
How to give the most at a reasonable cost: This benefit doesn’t need to cost much, but needs to be implemented smartly from the beginning. Establish a corporate culture that works well in office and with remote and virtual employees. This includes tools like a video camera, smartphones, company chat and reliable remote access to all secure office applications. Be disciplined enough to practice over-communication with these remote employees.
3. Paid time off. Do not differentiate between vacation and sick time. Employees will have an incentive to stay well and get more time off.
How to give the most at a reasonable cost: Close the office for the seven major holidays. Give the other minor holidays, like President’s Day and Veteran’s Day, as floating holidays. All employees should receive an additional two weeks paid vacation annually. In addition, pay for part of a local health club membership. A fit and well-rested employee is more productive and loyal.
4. 401K retirement plan. Some form of retirement planning for employees is critical. The company should facilitate a way for them to save money that is tax deductible.
How to give the most at a reasonable cost: While costs can vary, many plans are started and maintained for a few thousand dollars a year.
5. Healthcare flexible spending account (FSA). With large deductibles and out-of-pocket medical expenses increasing, employees want to have a way to pay these costs from a tax-deductible fund. Similarly, health savings accounts (HSA) can be set up for high deductible plans.
How to give the most at a reasonable cost: The FSA limit for 2014 is $2,500 and the HSA limit is $3,300. These plans can typically be set up for very little cost from your health insurance administrator.
There are other perks you can offer that may mean a lot to your employees but won't cost you a lot.
Dental and short-term disability. This goes above and beyond, but costs little for you. Employees with families and older employees appreciate dental insurance. The cost is typically very inexpensive for preventative care and basic services. The same applies to short-term disability plans, which can provide income if an employee is ill for an extended period of time.
Creative perks. Few employers offer these types of benefits, but they can be attractive depending on the employee demographic: pet insurance, identify theft insurance and discounts for public transportation and warehouse buying clubs.
What benefits do you plan on offering for 2014?
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