Help Small Employer Clients Offer Great Benefits

An Aflac sales managers talks about where to start

(Photo: Thinkstock) (Photo: Thinkstock)

My company’s 2017 Happiness Report revealed that an incredible 84% of small-business employees are happy with their current jobs; however, the report also showed a recurring weakness among small businesses: their benefits offerings.

For small-business owners, it can be difficult to understand exactly what makes an employee happy and what they can do to ensure they are providing employees with a happy workplace.

(Related: 3 Reasons Financial Wellness Might Sting)

Fortunately, employee survey also revealed that 72% small-business employees stated that an improvement in their benefits offerings would make them happier employees.

This presents advisors with an opportunity to step in and help small-business employers improve their benefits packages and increase their employees’ happiness.

Here are three tips to share with clients to make sure they’re making the right decisions when it comes to benefits and maintaining a happy workforce.

1. Offer a wide range of health benefits.

Thirty-one percent of small-business employees said their companies’ benefits portfolios were missing health benefits.

To address this issue, advisors should educate employers on the benefits of supplemental insurance, showing them that these benefits options can allow companies to offer a robust benefits package at little to no direct cost to their bottom line.

Puzzle (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Offering supplemental insurance, including products like accident, disability, critical illness and hospital insurance, as well as value-added services such as telemedicine, medical bill negotiation and fraud protection, lets employees customize their benefits package according to their individual needs, family history and lifestyle.

These benefits appeal to employees at all different stages of life, from a young adult needing accident insurance to cover intramural basketball injuries to parents using hospital insurance to help cover treatment for appendicitis or a child’s earache. Employees can have peace of mind knowing they’ll receive cash payments quickly if an injury or illness were to occur and possibly keep them from going to work.

2. Improve communication around benefits.

About 13% of the report’s respondents said that improving communications around benefits is the best thing employers can do to improve employees’ benefits experience.

Therefore, throughout the year, advisors should remind clients to maintain open communication about their various benefits offerings, especially during the open enrollment period.

Advisors can also encourage clients to regularly distribute informational materials to ensure employees understand who and what is covered by benefits plans, when they should use specific services and why certain products are preferred in certain situations.

These materials can include monthly emails, pamphlets or fact sheets. Employees will be better situated knowing exactly how to put their benefits to use.

3. Tailor benefits to meet employee needs.

When asked if anything was missing from their current benefits offerings, 21% of employees expressed a desire for more non-health benefits.

Advisors can help small-business owners determine which non-health benefits best fit employees.

Although the top-three benefits in terms of all survey respondents’ preferences were paid time off (39%), retirement contributions (34%) and flex time (34%), advisors should consider helping employers communicate directly with employees to learn what benefits would be most appreciated in their specific workplace.

By tailoring benefits options to meet employees’ needs, an employer can make a business an even more satisfying place to work.

As the 2017 survey showed, small businesses are already succeeding at making employees happy, but keeping them happy is no easy task. By providing benefits guidance, advisors can help ensure small-business employers and their businesses are constantly progressing and helping employees find happiness in their daily work.

--- Read Millennials, Voluntary Benefits and Family Matters on ThinkAdvisor.

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