Growth, customer satisfaction and a consistent cash flow. These concerns take top priority for first-time small business owners, which means selecting benefits — particularly voluntary benefits such as life, disability, dental and vision — is often put on the back burner. Benefits are major value-adds for any company, but brokers face unique challenges in selling these products to an audience that is focused on the perceived essentials of starting and growing their new small businesses.
Still, small company employees value flexible, comprehensive benefits just as much as anyone else, and their employers might be surprised to learn just how much value additional benefits can add to their growing businesses. According to MetLife’s 13th annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, 55 percent of employees are willing to bear the cost of their benefits in order to have a choice of benefits that meet their needs. What’s more, nearly 40 percent of employees say having a wide selection of benefits would make them feel more loyal to their employers.
Benefits have proven to be cost-effective tools for helping employers meet their employees’ needs and garner greater loyalty and job satisfaction. The challenge for brokers working with first-time small business owners is then positioning themselves and their offerings as indispensable resources to the growth of new companies — not just “nice-to-haves” that can be put on hold while employers gain experience and get their businesses off the ground.
Communicate the Value
Generally, small business owners understand the value of providing employees with health insurance. When it comes to non-medical benefits, first-time employers don’t always understand their importance. Need some evidence? Employees who are satisfied with their benefits are nearly four times as likely to be satisfied with their jobs, according to MetLife’s 13th annual Employee Benefit Trends Study. And with 41 percent of employers ranking retention as their top employee benefits objective, it’s clear small business decision makers may already be making the link between the value these benefits can provide and a satisfied workforce. Brokers just need to bridge the gap in knowledge.
Brokers may have another hurdle to jump when it comes to new employers, who have a lot of to-dos and not a lot of cash and time. They must overcome the perception that supplemental benefits could be very expensive. Brokers should explain the value of non-medical benefits, as well as the positive impact they have on other areas of their business. Greater employee retention is a good example, as is higher job satisfaction and improved workforce morale. First-time small business owners may also be pleasantly surprised by affordable group rates and that a growing number of employees are willing to share the costs of benefits. Given this, price is a barrier that can easily be resolved.