In a recent insurance survey of small businesses, almost half of the respondents say they plan to cut back on employee benefits in the future.
That puts small businesses at a big hiring disadvantage from larger employers who can afford to offer more robust benefits.
Combined with other benefits larger employers are more likely to offer like job sharing, telecommuting and flextime, small businesses are going to be increasingly challenged to offer employees a plan that offers good benefits, but also keep costs in check.
When trying to adapt to our changing economy, employers need to remember what employees value.
In addition to health care, employees also appreciate a 401(k) plan, vision insurance and time off. Plans that offer personal financial security, such as life and disability insurance, go a long way in easing employees' concerns in the event of sickness or death.
Small companies, as well as medium to large organizations, will need to continue to evaluate costs for the company and for employees. This may mean getting creative with the benefits that are offered and who pays for them.
Group benefits plans can offer employees reasonable rates, while the employer incurs no direct costs. Some analysis is required for time off policies, flex time and telecommuting. These policies have no direct costs, but there is an indirect cost that needs to be considered.
Looking at a total benefits plan, employers can keep up with the changes by implementing plans that are attractive to employees, and don't break the bank for employers.