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Employee Benefits: Creative Additions that Don’t Kill the Payroll Budget

By Faizan Raza
Business.com / HR Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

A healthy workforce is a productive workforce; offering competitive health benefits makes attracting and retaining quality talent easier.

Companies are trying harder than ever to find great employees and retain them.

Whether it’s UpWork’s claim that there’s a real talent shortage in the marketplace, or the fact that the economy picked up 831,000 new jobs over the past year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, it’s clear that the number of jobs is creating a demand for high-quality talent. 

To attract the best and brightest to their workforce, companies have started offering some interesting new perks.

The best part is the majority of these perks actually don’t add to the overall cost of employment.  

Related Article: Awesome Employee Benefits: Attract and Retain Talent With No or Little Cost to Your Business

Sliding Bonus Scale 

While it might sound expensive, compensating employees for exceptional performance increases revenues and incentivizes employees to knock it out of the park with new opportunities to earn income as they progress in their career.

The best part is that employee costs only go up if there are revenues to the company to offset the added bonus.  

Companies like Fishbowl have successfully been able to increase their employee retention, grow annual revenue by more than 60 percent, and maximize departmental productivity by offering a commission structure to every employee.

This includes operational and non-sales staff. Fishbowl executives state that their favorite part is the ability for their company to manage lean months without having to take on debt to finance their operational costs; considering that the costs fluctuate with revenue. 

Stronger Retirement Planning Resources 

The vast majority of companies no longer offer pension plans to new employees.

To compete with public jobs that do offer significantly higher benefits and retirement pensions, many private companies have begun to work without outside retirement services to help educate employees on the best strategies for building long-term wealth and financial security in retirement. 

Outside vendors, in many cases, are willing to compensate the company for the opportunity to pitch their investment products to their employees.

The additional financial education teaches employees how their long-term development at the company can affect their financial security in retirement without adding additional costs to the employer.  

Of course, most companies offer 401(k) matching, and financially literate employees tend to take full advantage of these programs, which means that the cost of funding these programs will impact company operating costs.

However, these costs are offset by the added productivity of employees that aren’t stressed by financial concerns, both long and short-term.  

Related Article: A Good Investment: How Keeping Employees Happy Benefits a Business

Strong Health Packages 

Supplementing the mandated employer provided healthcare packages offered to employees is a great way to attract the best and brightest, while retaining your highest performers.

Health plan add-ons, like a dental plan, allow your team to be their best both physically and mentally. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce.   

While it might sound expensive, the added productivity can substantially offset the additional expenses. For example, employees with preventable health issues cost companies.

A company with more than 10,000 employees, according to this report, will see the following costs per employee affected, per year: smokers ($326), high blood pressure ($230), overweight/obese ($203), high cholesterol ($15).

These costs are seen in lost productivity and additional plan-covered expenses. 

Job Flexibility 

A perk that many employers are offering to attract Millennial talent is a more flexible work environment. Employees working from home now account for 20 percent of the U.S. workforce.

This is a dramatic increase, by as much as 60 percent according to some reports. When employees are given the flexibility of working from home, everybody wins. 

54 percent of U.S. professionals never step foot in an office outside of their own home and say they are happier for it. 

Think about the amount of time spent by your team traveling to and from the office. Fighting traffic both ways, and then acting out a scene from the "Walking Dead" as they trudge in from the parking lot to their cubicle.

Nobody enjoys heading into work on a Monday. Having the option to roll out of bed, grab a shower, and then walk into a home office is an incredibly attractive alternative to the tradition on-site employment. 

Related Article: De-stress the Workplace: 5 Ways to Foster Employee Well-being

Companies win by avoiding the expense of additional overhead; less offices equals a smaller physical footprint, which equals cheaper rent.

Plus, if a company is paying for utilities, the cost of maintaining the facility exponentially decreases as the on-site workforce dwindles.

Companies have been known to sublet the extra space they aren’t using to freelancers and startups looking for their own private space to work. 

If an employee is feeling under the weather, they no longer have to worry about getting their coworkers sick by showing up for work.

Therefore, absenteeism falls as more employees are given the opportunity to complete assignments from home. 

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