Secrets to Building a Loyal Small Business Workforce
Leverage insights from the elite “Talent Attractor” companies to improve your small business.
When you run a small business, you don’t take your resources for granted. For your business to thrive, you rely on your workers’ skills, interests and abilities. In-return, your workers rely on you to provide a great place to work with competitive pay and benefits.
Often small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to providing competitive benefits. Larger companies have greater purchasing power and can buy employee coverage at more competitive rates. With the opening of health care exchanges, you may be wondering how much value employee benefits can bring to your company’s success. A recent Aflac survey discovered key HR and benefits best practices revered by best-in-class companies that can help small businesses better compete.
4 Talent Attractor Secrets Revealed
In the 3rd annual Aflac WorkForces Report, a study of 1,884 employers, and 5,299 employees across the U.S., an elite group of businesses earn the title “Talent Attractor.” These companies make up about 15 percent of U.S. businesses today, however small businesses with less than 50 employees make up less than three percent of these companies and a subset of those, employers with less than 25 employees, make up less than one percent. The study reveals Talent Attractor secrets that small businesses, even with limited resources, can leverage to attract and retain the best workers.
Improve your workforce loyalty and gain the advantage against your competitors by:
1. Seeking to understand and prepare for health care reform: Health care reform is a complicated issue. This year, many regulation deadlines are approaching, still additional guidance and uncertain outcomes make the impact of health care reform difficult to discern. In the study, 40 percent of Talent Attractor companies say they understand health care reform legislation extremely or very well (compared to 27 percent of all U.S. companies). They are also significantly more likely to be taking steps to prepare for health care reform.
- Discuss with a broker or consultant: With health care reform implementation effective January 1, 2014, discuss your benefits strategy with a benefits consultant or broker. There are many options including adjusting your current plan, self-funding, participating in a public or private exchange, or considering a hybrid approach.
- Use reform as a place to begin talking about the value of your benefits: Leverage the upcoming health care reform changes to explain the benefits your company provides to your employees. Additionally, if you offer supplemental insurance or other benefits, these will help bolster employees overall coverage, even if they get insurance through a Federal or State exchange.
Small businesses with less than 50 employees are not penalized for choosing not to provide health care, so offering health care may show your willingness to go the extra mile.
- Get more information: While heath care reform is complicated, there are plenty of resources, with short webinars, videos and graphics, to help simplify the complicated subject of reform. A few helpful sites include:
2. Linking benefits to profitability: Talent Attractors see a significant correlation between benefits options and other important human resources outcomes, such as: job satisfaction, loyalty to employer, willingness to refer a friend, workforce productivity, and decisions to leave their employer. They are also more than twice as likely to agree strongly or very strongly that their organization’s profitability is due in part to offering a robust benefits package (71 percent vs. 28 percent of all other companies). Key takeaways include:
- Make decisions based on data: It is easy to guess what employees are interested in, but to do so can be an expensive oversight. It is important to understand your workers to make the best benefits decisions, and one easy way is to survey their interests. Informal interviews, as well as short online or paper surveys can help you offer benefits options that employees need, increase their overall engagement, and help you save money by making more effective investments.
- Measure: Don’t forget to track the success of your investments. Companies often compare workman’s compensation claims, sick-days, absenteeism, and attrition rates; use this information to see how you compare to companies with best-in-class benefits programs and HR best practices. The Aflac WorkForces Report Benefits Assessment Tool can help you evaluate how your company benefits compare.
3. Providing robust benefits options: There is strong evidence that a companies’ benefit program significantly influences employee attraction, engagement and retention. Talent Attractor companies are significantly more likely to offer their employees a comprehensive menu of insurance options, wellness programs and workplace benefits such as offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and flextime.
- Offer a range of benefits: Consider ways to offer your employees a wide range of benefits options, both insurance and non-insurance related benefits that are suited to worker demand. Many small companies are looking to self-funded benefits options, as well as supplemental benefits, as low-cost solutions.
- Choose supplemental offerings: Make supplemental insurance options available. These options can provide employees with cash benefits to help cover the costs associated with being sick or injured. Supplemental insurance is also an excellent companion to the health plans available in public exchanges, and can be offered at little or no cost to the employer.
- Encourage your employees to take an active role: Our health care system is becoming more consumer-driven, and this means employees will be taking more control of their health decisions. Many health costs can be averted with greater employee engagement with managing their health by promoting wellness and preventative care. Consider partnering with local organizations to take part in a health fair, wellness or education events. Additionally, choose health plans that offer wellness options that compensate employees for taking steps to protect and maintain their health, such as getting an annual physical.
4. Engaging in frequent and two-way communication: Keeping up with complicated, ever-changing regulations and being able to educate workers about benefits choices is increasingly difficult, especially for small businesses. Yet, improving benefit communications can have critical business results for smaller-sized companies. Talent Attractors are nearly 1.5 times as likely to communicate about benefits 3-10 times throughout the year, compared to all U.S. companies. Here are tips to make your benefits communications more effective:
- Communicate about benefits 3+ times each year: Mark it on your calendar, and plan to actively communicate about your company’s benefits, workforce health and wellness offerings three or more times throughout the year to help employees understand their benefits and to remember to take action.
- Tailor your benefits communications and resources: Based on the different employee life-stages, employees will need specific information. For example, an individual close to retirement will need different information about their 401(k), than a recent college recruit. You can also ask for life-stage appropriate communications from you benefits consultant or broker.
- Discuss total compensation: When discussing benefits options, position them as a part of the overall compensation package. Many companies choose to send a total compensation report, that helps employees understand the breakdown of their compensation, including: salary, health benefits, disability and other supplemental insurance, and retirement benefits.
Small businesses, with limited resources, can learn valuable lessons from larger companies who have invested heavily in understanding the connection between their benefits programs and key business metrics. By levering these insights, small businesses can gain a competitive edge.
About the study
The 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report is the 3rd annual Aflac employee benefits study examining benefit trends and attitudes. The study, conducted by Research Now in January 2013, captures responses from 1,884 benefits decision-makers and 5,299 employees across the U.S. To learn more about the Aflac WorkForces Report, visit AflacWorkForcesReport.com