(BPT) - Life at a small company, 50 employees or less, has its upsides. But an employee departure is not one of them. When someone from the team moves on to new opportunities, everyone feels it, whether that means shuffling workloads or working extra shifts.
Added to the day-to-day pressures of running a business is finding time and resources to recruit someone with the talent, drive and personality to fill out the team. Not only is the market tight, but it can be hard to compete when top talent is fielding more alluring offers from big companies, which may come with flashy perks and bigger paychecks.
"An advantage small firms have is that more people are looking to work for a company they feel cares about their well-being," said David Poirier, national director of Small Group Sales at Guardian. "Small business owners and leaders can evaluate what motivates their employees, and work to enhance their employees' experience with technology, voluntary benefits and increased flexible work.”
The truth is, small businesses hold big opportunity for talented employees and prospects, and there are a few things a company can do to help improve its recruitment and retention strategy.
1. Support your employees' financial needs.
Even if you already offer a benefits package, it's worth finding out whether the current offerings are, in fact, meeting the needs and concerns of employees. For example, four in 10 small business workers say they depend on workplace benefits for financial security, according to the latest set of findings from Guardian's Annual Workplace Benefits Study: Small Business, Big Benefits.
To create a benefits plan that stands up to the competition, rethinking it as a means to help workers improve financial wellness can serve as a guide. Expanding the offerings to voluntary benefits, such as assistance with student loan repayment, or supplemental health coverage, like accident insurance, for high-deductible health insurance plans, can help workers manage their biggest costs.
Another effective approach is to offer support to help workers achieve their financial goals, such as financial education, support services and professional guidance.
2. Enhance work-life balance.
Everyone wants less stress, but unfortunately, work is a common source of it. Take a look at the quality of the workday from the employees' perspective. Are they always feeling stressed? Are they expected to be available during off-hours to respond to work issues? Most people enjoy a challenge. However, if the work structure keeps the stress response in always-on mode, it makes personal time less enjoyable, diminishing emotional well-being.
In the Guardian study, only half of small-business workers say their employer cares about their overall well-being, yet the results suggest that taking steps to show that you care for employees can raise loyalty. More than half (55 percent) say a caring employer would keep them working for the same employer for 10 years or more.
Fortunately, the study identified some solutions that small businesses can easily provide to show employees they care. For example, an increasing number of small businesses say they have taken steps to improve work-life balance, such as flexible work schedules and remote work options. Wellness packages that help employees optimize their health goals in their spare time, such as discounts for gym memberships, also help.
3. Make the switch to digital
We live in a digital world where consumers have access to everything they want in the palm of their hands. Bringing that same concept into the workplace with benefits can go a long way with employees, particularly because they want their benefits to be easier to access and understand. One thing that is helping small firms, especially start-ups, deliver an enhanced employee experience is the increased use of cloud-based software and digitalizing various aspects of the HR and benefits functions. In fact, the Guardian study found 52 percent of small businesses have digitalized a majority of their benefits processes. For those companies that have made the switch, their satisfaction with the benefits process is considerably higher compared to those who are mostly paper-based. These results suggest an employer that invests in technology will not only be happier with the experience, but they will create a strong culture of well-being in their firm that can help foster retention and loyalty.
While a small business owner has a lot on their plate to keep their business going, it's important they show their employees that they value their contributions and have their employees' best interests in mind. Doing that can make a small firm one that attracts top talent and inspires good people to stay. If you're considering changes to your benefits, contact The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.
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