Fact Sheet: Small Employers
Top Human Resources Issues

The most important HR issues are:

  1. Controlling health care costs
  2. Increasing worker productivity
  • Offering robust benefits while staying within budget/cost constraints is a top benefits challenge for 55% of small businesses.
  • Understanding the changing health care landscape is the second-largest benefits challenge for 33% of small businesses.
Benefits Objectives

The top three objectives for small business benefits programs are:

  1. Taking care of employees
  2. Retaining employees
  3. Increasing employee satisfaction
  • Small businesses are more likely than medium-sized and large businesses to rank taking care of employees as their top objective, with 23% ranking it first.
  • 40% of decision-makers at small businesses say that their current benefits packages meet employees’ needs only somewhat well; 7% say not very/not at all well.
  • 41% of HR decision-makers think it is extremely/very important to tailor benefits offerings to employees at different levels or life stages, yet only 32% of small businesses do so.
  • 38% of HR decision-makers at small businesses believe their employees are extremely/very knowledgeable about benefits offered at their organization.
  • 64% of small businesses use a broker or benefits consultant to help determine benefits options, compared to 75% of medium-sized companies and 61% of large companies.
Benefits Communications
  • 43% of HR decision-makers believe they communicate somewhat effectively with employees about benefits, and 10% say they communicate not very/not at all effectively.
  • The majority of small businesses (59%) say their employees understand their company’s benefits communications, yet small businesses are least likely to survey or measure their employees’ understanding of benefits communication (17%).
  • HR decision-makers at small businesses are least likely to believe it is important to customize their benefits communication approaches to employees at different levels or life stages (33%), as well as least likely to do so (24%).
  • When it comes to benefits offerings, truly understanding what employees want is a top benefits challenge for 17% of small businesses; however, only 19% of small businesses measure or survey employee preferences or needs when it comes to benefits options.
  • Small businesses are significantly more likely to only communicate with employees during initial hire and open enrollment (41% compared to 25% of medium-sized and 22% of large companies), yet they are most confident that employees understand their company’s benefits contributions (64%).
Role of Voluntary Benefits

Representatives of medium-sized companies say their top challenges when adding voluntary benefits include:

  • Having employees with interest in purchasing the coverage
  • Getting employees to understand their different options
  • Administering the benefits program

  • Small businesses are least likely to offer voluntary insurance (just 19%, compared to 41% of medium-sized and large companies); however, only 10% say they would not consider adding new voluntary insurance products.
  • 24% of small businesses say satisfying employee need, interest or demand would be their primary reason for adding voluntary benefits.
  • Only 19% of HR decision-makers believe their employees are extremely/very knowledgeable about voluntary benefits.
Beliefs About Workers’ Perspectives

Decision-makers at large companies are the most likely to believe an overall benefits package is very/extremely influential on:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Worker loyalty
  • Willingness to refer friends to the company

  • Decision-makers at small businesses are less likely than those at large and medium-sized firms to believe that employees should be more engaged in making benefits decisions (52%).
  • 68% of decision-makers say immediate family problems are the most prevalent source of worker distraction, followed by financial problems and health problems.
  • 63% of leaders at small businesses believe that productivity is lost because employees are concerned about personal issues.

The 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report was conducted January 24–February 23, 2012, by Research Now on behalf of Aflac.