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8 Commonly Overlooked Employee Benefits to retain employees

Posted by Alden Hui on June 25, 2018
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Employee benefits are put in place to keep employees happy, healthy and productive. These all factor in to keeping your employee at the company. As a business owner, you have to deal with many problems and responsibilities at any given time. Naturally, it makes sense to want your employee benefits to be cost effective. It also doesn’t hurt to provide top tier benefits which can separate you from other companies seeking top talent.

Read this article to find 8 commonly overlooked employee benefits to retain employees:

1. Ergonomics

Ergonomics or flexible work spaces are becoming an increasingly important trend in 2018. That’s because we are just starting to see the negative effects of sitting for long hours to your posture and overall health. It’s a vicious cycle; long sitting hours leads to poor posture, which leads to pains or muscle aches, which leads to lack of exercise, and poor health. While you might get away with it when you are young, it all catches up to you as you age.

Ergonomics ensures that you don’t stay in one position for too long. Work with your employees to see how you can improve their working area, whether it’s through small changes like chair upgrades or something bigger, like an office renovation. A better working space just means employees are willing to spend more time being productive.

2. A Unique Brand and Company Culture

Your branding translates back to your company culture, and vice versa. Many businesses try to create a unique company culture, but many fail. It’s especially hard for small business due to limited resources. A strong brand strategy usually means a strong company culture. Ask yourself: When customers visit our brand (whether online through website or in store), what do they see or envision? How do they feel? How do they rank you compared to competitors? The answers to these questions are also going through your employee’s minds. At the end of the day, employees should feel proud to represent your brand. That in itself is an employee benefit.

Tip: Take what makes your company (truly) unique and add that into your company culture. For example, if you want to inspire sports and activity in customers through your products, consider adding a sports team, league, or after-work class to your employee benefits to promote this in your company culture.

3. Tax-free Health and Dental Benefits (through a Health Spending Account)

Health and dental benefits are not commonly overlooked because they are frequently reported as a number one, must-have benefit before anything else. However, you might not know that there are tax-free health and dental benefits. That’s right - you could be offering your employees tax-free benefits! How is that possible? Through a Health Spending Account (HSA). A Health spending account is an allowance which employers can allocate to their employees to spend on any eligible health and dental benefits. They can spend their allowance 100% tax free! Unlike insurance premiums or salary payouts, none of the allowance is taxed. Employees get the full dollar to spend on what they like when they like (for medical expenses, that is). Of course, the HSA is also a business expense / tax deduction for the employer. It’s a win/win for both sides.

4. Open Communication (with employees)

The best and most commonly overlooked benefit is the one that your employees actually want. Reach out to your existing employees and see how your benefits package could improve. Different employees can have different values. Surveying current employees can help you to understand your workforce demographics. It could even reduce costs. Most importantly, employee benefits survey questions can specifically verify that you're putting your budget into perks that matter.

5. An Employee Benefits System

This is commonly overlooked because most small business don’t have the time or resources to afford a huge human resources department. You could have all the best employee benefits in the world, but it wouldn’t matter if your employees didn’t know how or where to use them. Knowing how to use your benefits is a benefit worth giving in itself.

We all know choosing employee benefits is complex, but explaining and learning can be even harder. Take the time to explain your benefits. As we all know, awareness is key to maximizing your return.

6. Policies (regarding discrimination, harassment, and whistle-blowing)

As I’m sure you’ve seen on the news, this is a prevalent topic in 2018 and will be an ongoing topic in future years. One commonly overlooked benefit is having policies in place. Policies identify to employees exactly what is and is not acceptable. It might not be important for you currently, but if something were to occur, having a policy ensures that you know exactly what procedures to follow. Most importantly, it also acts as a safeguard for your company and its employees. Having policies in place are a benefit for everyone, especially managers as these situations can be complex.

7. Opportunities for Advancement

Let’s be honest. Most people work for a living because they need to. While they are trying to find a good work environment, money is still an important subject.

That means that you should have reviews and performance meetings to make sure your employees are on track. Make it easy for both managers and employees a like to find common ground. This is an understated employee benefit, especially for small business because it can be time consuming if done frequently. Work with your employees and see what is reasonable for these meetings.

8. Accidental Death, Long Term Disability Insurance 

To protect your future self, your spouse, or your dependants, then consider getting one or both of these insurance plans. People commonly overlook these important benefits because it is not at the top of their mind. But as a business owner, you may know that your company or family could be faced with a serious situation if anything happened to you personally. For more information about how these types of insurance work or how much to buy/cover, check out this 5 minute article.

Some studies have stated that employee benefits can affect an applicant’s final decision.

When trying to keep your talented employees, you might be deciding on ways to reimburse them. Before you spend it all on salary or bonuses, think back to employee benefits. A tax-free or targeted benefit can go a long way in providing value for both the employee and the employer.

Want to learn more about providing tax-free benefits through a Health Spending Account?

Download our FREE guide below:

The Beginner's Guide to Health Spending Accounts GROUP HSA Employee Benefits


Topics: employee benefits