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A message from Aflac

To our policyholders in areas affected by the recent hurricanes, please know that the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Aflac are with you. We are working with government agencies that represent all declared disaster areas to ensure we do everything possible to help you. Based on that guidance, we have extended the due dates for policy premiums by 60 days for those living in places that have been declared disaster areas. If you have a question about your policy or need help, contact us at 800-992-3522. To help with the recovery, Aflac made a $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross, and our employees are making their own private contributions. Please be safe, as the care of you and your families is paramount.

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By David Waring, co-founder of FitSmallBusiness.com

Going the extra mile and providing benefits that other companies don’t will not only set your company apart when it comes to attracting top talent, but it may also keep your current employees more engaged, and therefore more productive and happy.

In fact, 96 percent of employees who are satisfied with their benefits package are also more satisfied with their jobs.1

As an employer, you are not obligated to offer benefits to your employees, but doing so could provide unique benefits not only to your employees, but to your business as well. Below are five benefits that can help keep your employees happy:

1. Wellness Programs

Approximately 54 percent of employers are already offering some sort of wellness program.2 To keep up with rivals and remain competitive in today’s workplace, your organization should consider incorporating a wellness program into its benefits package. Some companies offer freebies and discounts on medical and dental services, while others have on-site doctors, gyms, dentists and nutritionists to ensure that their employees are living their healthiest life. You can even take this a step further by offering telemedicine. Telemedicine allows employees to connect with licensed medical providers to get care right where they are – from their phone, app or online – day or night, including holidays and weekends.

Of the 54 percent of employers who offer wellness programs, more than half agree they’ve been able to lower premiums as a result of their wellness programs.2 Plus, wellness programs are known to reduce stress and allow employees to stay active, reducing lethargy and lifting morale.3

If you’re worried about the cost of providing this type of benefit, remember that you can work with a thirdparty provider to get everything set up. This will enable you to offer these types of “big company” benefits on a small-business budget.

2. Commuter Benefits

Commuter benefits are important in today’s world, and though this obviously benefits employees, some of you might ask, “what’s in it for me and my business?“ The answer is that it makes for happier employees.

Commuter benefits may increase productivity and employee morale. Your employees don’t have to worry about stressing over traffic or fighting over a parking space, so they’re more likely to arrive at work with a positive attitude able to focus on the tasks ahead of them.

Commuter benefits include commuter vouchers which can be used for public transportation, parking vouchers, carpooling opportunities and biking incentives. Consider offering biking incentives that allow your employees to earn an allowance when they forego driving and bike to work instead. It’s healthy, lessens transport costs and is good for the environment!

3. Cafeteria Plans

One look at the name and you might think it has something to do with providing better cafeteria food for your employees. While that is another great idea for you to consider, Section 125 cafeteria plans are another benefit altogether. The reason it’s called such is because, just like a cafeteria plan, your employee gets to choose what “meals“ they will spend their money on.

Instead of sticking to the tried and tested package of usual benefits, the cafeteria plan puts your employees in charge of what benefits they want to enroll in each year. They can choose to forego health and life insurance, and instead of paying for those premiums, they can put all of their money into a flexible spending account.

With the cafeteria plan, you can give your employees a benefits package that is unique to their needs. They get more control over what benefits they want to receive, which can effectively increase job happiness and company loyalty.

4. Profit-Sharing

One reason some employees don’t deliver their full potential is due to lack of interest in the company. Too often all workers care about is investing minimal effort just to get their paychecks. They aren’t invested in the future of the company or its success. To make them more productive, you have to make your company’s success their success. And what better way to do that than to offer a profit sharing plan?

Profit sharing is when a company contributes a portion or percentage of its pretax profits to a pool that will be distributed among its employees. The amount distributed to each employee may be weighted by the employee’s base salary or by their ranking so that employees with higher base salaries receive a larger portion of the pool of profits (which, in theory, motivates management to be tied to the bottom line).

When setting up a profit-sharing plan, we recommend using a third party administrator. Since companies must keep strict records and have a strict fiduciary responsibility for the plan, it is very important that small businesses stay in compliance with all regulations.

5. Fraud Protection

Studies show that 15.4 million Americans fell victim to identity theft last year – up 16 percent from 2015.2 When an employee becomes a target of identity theft, it can be very costly to fix the problem. This results in an emotionally fraught employee who can’t focus on work and may take time off work to take care of legalities.

By investing in fraud protection, you are giving your employee peace of mind, knowing that their information is encrypted and private. Fraud protection services monitor your employees’ personal information and notifies them when their personal info is being used or sold on the market. In case of identity theft, your employee is covered and won’t be alone in resolving the problem. When your employees’ minds are at ease, they can focus on the tasks at hand and deliver the output expected of them.

Final Word

Offering more than just the basics of benefits may seem daunting, especially for small businesses that might not have a dedicated human resources manager. It takes a lot of effort, patience and funding to set up employee benefits, especially those you may not be familiar with. However, when executed properly, you gain a huge advantage over your competitors.

In fact, up to 60 percent of employees are more likely to work for lower pay, as long as the company is offering better benefits.1

This can give smaller companies a fighting chance against larger companies who are stagnant when it comes to employee benefits. Better and more targeted benefits mean that current employees are less likely to leave, and talented and experienced applicants are more likely to take an interest in your company.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation.