Offering Benefits

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A step by step guide to closing your business

I have a small company. we want to start offering benefits. What are my options?

employee benefits

Any benefit provided will enhance employee retention. There are companies across the United States that specialize in benefits planning for small businesses.

In addition to the usual insurance plans for life, health, dental, vision, and disability, there are a wide range of retirement plans. Some employees would rather pay ore in fringe benefits such as insurance, leave time, and expenses (which are not taxed) than raise salaries or pay cash bonuses. Others want the employees to participate in the cost of these benefits so they appreciate how expensive they are, and will perhaps get involved politically in efforts that help to ensure the future of small businesses.

What do Most Companies Like Mine Do When Offering Benefits to Their Employees?

This is a very common question because every business owner wants to know if what they are doing is competitive. Every business owner also wants to get the best price possible on benefits that are offered. Benchmark reporting should be available through your benefits professional to help you gain a better understanding of your local marketplace

Generally speaking, however, the benefit most desired by employees is healthcare, followed by some type of retirement plan. Of course, these are two of the most costly benefit programs to implement and administer. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) are giving way to Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). More consumer-driven healthcare options have become commonplace.

Qualified retirement plans and costs vary greatly, and employers are shifting the burden of saving to the employee in the form of Defined Contribution Plans. For smaller employers, qualified retirement plans such as the 401(k) may be cost-prohibitive, but other plans such as SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) may be more appropriate. 

One way to customize your benefit program to your specific region, business, and employee base is to conduct a simple survey of what types of programs employees value most. Consider healthcare insurance, retirement plans, paid time off (PTO), childcare, dental and vision insurance, disability, long-term care, etc. You might ask your employees if they had an extra $100 per month to spend on benefits, how would they spend it?