By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

Hiring skilled BV talent has never been a greater challenge. It might be time to take a closer look at your package of employee benefits to make sure it not only helps hire, but retain good staff. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2015 Employee Benefits Overview makes it clear that employee benefit plans are a “vital tool in retention and recruitment strategies.”

BV practice leaders face a particular challenge because so many practices are small businesses. When there are limited funds for employee benefits, health coverage ranks highest for obvious reasons. You could boost the value of the coverage to your new-hire or an existing employee by also paying dependent premiums. When it comes to making yourself more attractive as an employer, there might there be a reasonable dollar trade-off between the lower cost of higher-deductible coverage, generally, and paying that dependent premium.

The SHRM report notes that in the broader category of health coverage more employers are focusing on preventive health and well-being benefits. According to the report, the last five years has seen a surge in attention to benefits like health and lifestyle coaching and smoking cessation plans. If you’re a small BV practice, think about subsidizing gym membership or giving each employee a FitBit. Something as easy to organize as on-site seasonal flu vaccination could be added to your package of benefits.

Retirement savings comes right behind health coverage when it comes to attracting candidates and keeping employees. Out of the 463 businesses surveyed in the SHRM report, 90% have defined contribution plans. And 73% of those plans include an employer match. These numbers tell you how critical it is to competing for good talent that you have one. As a BV practice owner you can be creative with this benefit by offering employees the option to cash-out a portion of unused vacation time (pay) into retirement savings – together with your match – at an annual opt-in point.

Flexible working benefits were also surveyed in the SHRM effort. This is a category that can be easier for a smaller BV practice to leverage. Telecommuting on an ad-hoc basis is an increasingly popular benefit, generally, and is well suited to the BV world because of the nature of the work. As trust is earned, you can think about extending it to employees in bigger chunks with less oversight. Flexible working hours themselves are almost assumed in today’s workplace.

Finally, you can’t afford to overlook employee opinion when it comes to crafting a valued and attractive employee benefits package. You undoubtedly talk about that package when you’re getting your new-hire on board. But, you probably don’t mention it again unless someone asks or something changes.

When you sit down for annual performance reviews, ask for input from employees about those benefits. Do they use them? Is there something else they would find equally, if not more, attractive? You might be surprised by their answers.

No matter how generous you’d like to be with employee benefits, your cost structure inevitably puts a limit on what you can do. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be as creative and efficient as you can with what you’re able to offer.

Click here for the Executive Summary of the SHRM Report

Click here for the Full Report

How Do Your Employee Benefits Stack Up?
John Borrowman