Open enrollment for company employee benefit plans is underway. But before employees sit down and decide which plan benefits they plan to opt-in or opt-out of, small business owners have the task of creating those plans. Unfortunately, many small business owners “don’t always get to control the design of their plan the way large businesses do,” cautioned Renee Blaine, an HR Consultant and owner of E Squared HR Solutions. Which is why including an HR specialist as part of your company’s financial team provides leverage in negotiating benefit options and designing plans that provide real value for your employees.
“Health Insurance rates are increasing,” Blaine acknowledges. “Your renewal rates will depend on a few things including plan utilization and the demographics of your organization” An HR consultant can assist small business owners as they work with their benefits broker. “We are constantly tracking industry trends and changes in rates and plan designs. So we know the questions to ask,” Blaine explains. “You want to be aware of all the changes as you go through enrollment, be prepared, and understand the financial impacts, so that you can act accordingly.”
Better Benefits, Lower Costs
Those financial impacts may cause many small business owners to believe scaling back is the best course of action for their company. Unfortunately, cutting benefits may backfire and hurt the bottom line more in the long run. “Benefits are a key tool in attracting and retaining talent,” Blaine advises. Business owners need to look at the bigger picture. Constant turnover has a very high cost. Added stress, lost work and lower productivity can be detrimental, forcing owners to constantly find and train new employees. “Designing a benefits package employees value will keep employees happy. And happy employees stay, work hard, and are productive.”
Not Your Typical Benefits
As an industry insider, an HR Consultant can help business owners think outside the box when it comes to identifying benefit options. “New benefits come out all the time – like helping employees with college debt payoffs. We’re always looking for ways to reward employees that aren’t too costly,” Blaine said. It comes down to structuring the plan to meet the goals of the organization. If it’s retention, attraction of younger employees, or tenure, for example, there are benefit options that can be put in place that those employees will value.
If it seems everything in the business world is constantly changing, it’s because it is. Small business owners have their hands full managing all the factors in running their operation. That’s why the smart ones surround themselves with experts in their area of focus. A human resources specialist is just one more financial team member that can help manage the changing landscape and lead your organization toward continued growth and success. In conclusion, companies should consider an HR specialist to help retain good employees.