Improve Employee Retention with Workplace Perks

As a business owner, at any given moment you’re juggling tons of things on your plate—making payroll, managing the workplace, keeping supplies properly stocked, troubleshooting tech issues. Worrying about whether the staff you’ve hired is happy and fulfilled needn’t not be another thing on that ever-growing list. Employee retention can be tricky but in thoughtfully thinking of valuable perks to put in place, you can put both your mind at ease as well as ensure employees feel needed and valued. After all, employee satisfaction is a win-win for everyone. 

Read on for some ways to get a hold on employee retention at your business and ensure in both small and large ways that new and old employees stick around for the long haul. 

Health insurance 

Our health is truly our wealth and quality health insurance will go a long way with your employees. Having to manage a persistent sinus infection or a larger health crisis can be stressful, especially without health insurance. In providing health insurance for employees of your business, you demonstrate a level of care for their well-being. Beyond that, many gyms offer deals to businesses who want to incentivize employees to join. Employees that are in good health are those who can contribute effectively to the bottom line of your business. 

Family-like environment

Yet another way to demonstrate care for your employees is fostering a family-like environment. Keep a running tab of employees birthdays in an office-wide calendar for both you, as the business owner, and for fellow colleagues to see. If an employee has recently gotten married, had a new child, purchased a new home, had a death in the family or any other victory/setback, make note of it. Give employees cards or gift cards to both celebrate and comfort them in their time of need. These thoughtful notions speak volumes. 

Vacation and paid time off

Everyone needs a little time off sometimes. In offering vacation and paid time off for your employees, you contribute to work satisfaction long-term and give space for your staff to take breaks avoiding burnout. What’s more, having adequate vacation and paid time off is a great way to attract top notch talent to your business during hiring stages. Employees need to feel encouraged to both work and rest to be the best staff member they can be. 

Performance bonuses 

Another great way to contribute to employee retention are performance bonuses. What better way to show those you’ve hired and remind them they are an integral part in rewarding them with extra money? Plan in advance when you’ll offer performance reviews and bonuses based on the results of those. 

Paid sick days 

To the addendum of health is your wealth, and paid sick days fall into the same category. Employees need to feel that when they are unwell, it is okay for them to rest and take time off work to get better. And to be paid for that time when they are unwell. Make sure to have paid sick days as an option for employees to opt into. 

401(k), retirement plan and pension

As much as you’d love to have your employees with you forever, there will come a time when they will move on and retire. When that time comes, you’ll want to, as a business owner, have protections for them in place to cushion them for their hard work for your business. Have 401(k) or other retirement plans or pensions available to be chosen from. 

Flexible schedule 

An additional method for improving employee retention is to have flexible schedules as an option for all new hires and for employees period. Talk to both your new hires and employees that have been with your small business for a while to ask if their schedule works for them. Be open to allowing employees to come in later and leave later or come in early and leave early. Remember: a happy employee is a productive one and one that will stay with your company. 

Office perks

Your employees will spend the vast majority of their waking life at your small business so why not have some perks in office for them to enjoy? Think of things that would be appreciated such as a free lunch every now and then, employee appreciation barbecues in the warm weather months or even office parties for the holidays. A robust break room with free snacks as well as coffee and water are always good ideas, too. 

Employee development programs 

Want to motivate your employees to continue to invest in themselves and ensure employee retention at the same time? Employee development programs are the route to go in. Offer a robust list of activities for employees of your small business: tech skills, interpersonal communication, leadership. Encourage employees to take part in these programs with frequent reminders and updating offerings throughout the year. 

Sam Casteris is a small business owner and freelance writer operating out of Phoenix, AZ. You can find more of her work on Contently.

Making a Financial Plan to Take Care of Your Aging Parent

Elder care is an unpleasant and sensitive topic for sure, but ignoring it could create a plethora of problems down the road. Namely, it is never a good thing to let your parents become a financial burden you cannot take on. Your parents have worked hard for their whole life and now it is time for you to return the favour. Here is how to secure their health and well-being and improve the quality of their life.

Angle of approach

Elder care does not come cheap and it can become a full-time commitment. Therefore, it is never too early to start planning for it. That way, you get a handle on what needs to be done and break it down into manageable bits. You also avoid being completely taken off guard by unforeseen events.

I know it is a rather difficult thing to do, but start by having an open conversation with your parents and other family members. Communicate your concerns loud and clear. Show patience and let everyone have a say in how to approach and address the pain points. Even if your parents do not take things the right way at first, they should understand it is in everyone’s best interest to talk it through.

Grasp the big picture

The next crucial step is to evaluate the current financial state. List all the expenses and compare them against the income. Do not overlook a single detail because small items add up quickly. Determine how independent your parents will be and how much you will have to contribute. Ideally, you want to steer clear of financial pitfalls like debt. Enlist the support of other family members if needed.

Note that you can streamline the whole process by employing personal finance and budgeting apps. They eliminate human error and save you a lot of precious time. Likewise, introduce your parents to online banking if necessary or handle it for them. They can receive reminders and alerts for due dates and avoid potential ramifications for missing them.

Sorting out healthcare

Furthermore, anticipate future costs of healthcare.

This is usually one of the biggest hurdles on the way to financial stability. Naturally, you do not want to skimp here, but to ensure the best medical support. To make it happen, take your time researching specialized resorts and facilities such as Mark Moran Vaucluse aged care. They are well-equipped and have trained staff working 24/7.

Moreover, they provide access to various amenities, such as gardens, restaurants, swimming pools, wellness rooms, etc. Leaving a family home is never easy, but it is a decision that can really benefit everyone at one point. Like it or not, hard choices can often be the right choices.

Get the financial house in order

Finally, you need to put a savings account in place.

Depending on need and resources, this can take the form of a 401k plan or individual retirement fund. Shared accounts may be a prudent option in case you want to have easier time monitoring and managing parents’ spending. Just bear in mind that you might need to obtain a legal permission to make decisions on their behalf.

Legal guardianship is a sound course of action here, especially when you have to take care of a parent with mental or physical issues that impede clear judgment. You basically gain the attorney privileges and are able to exercise court representation. On top of that, you control the access to financial accounts to prevent any surprises.

Cover all the bases

The older your parents get, the less they are capable of taking care of themselves. To face the change head-on, plan well ahead of time— come up with a well-developed roadmap for managing finances. Initiate an open conversation to make sure you are on the same page.

Assess the parents’ financial health and figure out how it is going to change in the future. See to it that you can cover all the expenses without going out of your way to do it. With enough dedication and commitment, you should be able to ward off stress, frustration, and financial headaches. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!

Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”

Shopping for Healthcare Insurance Doesn’t Have to Make You Sick

insurance2Whether you are a business owner or a consumer looking for the best health insurance plan on the market, do you sometimes almost feel sick when shopping for coverage?

As millions of Americans have discovered in their pursuit for the right plan, trying to buy health insurance can be tricky on several fronts.

First, the days of being able to get away without coverage are all but gone.

Due to the rules of Obamacare, the vast majority of the population is required to have some form of coverage, be it through their employer or on their own.

Americans must also review their coverage when it comes up for renewal to see if they want to keep their current plan or switch to one they feel might offer better coverage and/or a cheaper premium.

So, how can you go about finding the right coverage at the right price?

Do Your Research

Whether you are a business owner or someone just looking for individual coverage, make sure you shop around.

By looking at things such as a healthcare subsidy calculator, you can focus-in on what potential savings are available to you and/or your employees. Individuals who are not covered by a company plan can also use such calculators to determine what their monthly premiums will be. In the end, the goal should always be to get coverage that is beyond the most basic of coverages and yet still comes at a reasonable price.

Secondly, go on a variety of health insurance websites and not only review their products, but also check out their customer service initiatives.

If the company you are thinking of doing business with is active on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, take a look to see how they handle consumer feedback. Not only should you use social media at times for your questions on how to live a healthy life, but also on how to save money on your health insurance needs.

In looking at health insurers’ online, are they quick to respond and do so in a professional manner? Do they avoid interactions with current or potential customers? Does their website offer informative details on not only their products and services but also industry trends? The more information for you, the better educated you will be when it comes to making the right health insurance decision.

Finally, make sure when doing your taxes next spring that you check-off the box asking if you have health insurance coverage.

Individuals who do not have coverage for the 2015 calendar year can expect to pay a fine come the time they do their taxes.

While some consumers feel paying the fine is less expensive than having coverage for the year, they need to keep in mind that they are always just a stone’s throw away from a serious car accident that would require medical attention, a ruptured appendix at 3 a.m. or any other number of ailments.

If you spend the right amount of time and effort finding the best health insurance plan for your needs, you’re less likely to feel sick about your choice.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers a variety of healthcare topics on the web.

Don’t Let Your Business Go Under Without a Fight

bus_strengthAll small businesses encounter rough times and growing pains. But not all businesses survive the struggles. In fact, eight out of 10 new businesses fail.

So, how do you ensure that your business is among the two in ten that survive?

Check out these tips for keeping your venture going strong.

Invest in Insurance

According to the piece “4 Ways to Assure your Business Doesn’t Fold Under Pressure,” all business owners should verify that they’re properly insured. You can’t possibly predict what may go wrong with the venture.

A disgruntled employee could sue the business. An unhappy customer could also take legal action. Prepare for these and other unforeseen troubles by investing in insurance.

The exact forms of insurance that you should purchase depend on your business, industry and other factors.

Manage your Debt

Starting a business can be expensive. Unfortunately, business debt can far outweigh revenue during a business’s first few years and this is one factor that often causes new business owners to shut down their ventures.

Avoid this situation by managing your debt from the outset. Develop a solid idea of how much revenue you can expect during the company’s first few years and borrow funds wisely based on that sales forecast.

Start Forecasting

A smart way to guide your business toward future success is to start forecasting. This tactic involves tracking year-over-year sales data and forecasting week by week sales based on that data and other factors.

Encourage your employees to take ownership of the forecasting process and, if possible, have each department create individual forecasts that are combined into a company-wide forecast.

This data, including whether the previous week’s forecast was met, should then be shared at weekly company meetings.

Backup Your Data

How secure is your company’s information infrastructure? Wipe out the vulnerabilities by investing in solid backup programming and by making other IT changes. Lost data doesn’t just cause frustrations; it costs the company money, time and more.

The backup programming you choose should be based on your data load, industry and other factors.

Don’t Give Up

Owning a business means you’ll encounter a range surprises and problems daily, many of which you could have never predicted.

No matter what you encounter, don’t give up. When a problem arises, address it and, when you’re able, pause and take the time needed to work through it. But don’t ever let the option of quitting enter your mind.

Ask for Help

Not sure how to resolve your business’s increasing troubles? Don’t try to solve them behind closed doors. Rather, ask for help from your employees, mentors, a business coach and more.

By bringing the troubles into the open, you invite others to help you solve them. Also, don’t wait until the company is under immense pressure to ask for help. Involving others in the change process early is essential for keeping the venture afloat.

Don’t let your business be the next failed venture.

Be proactive rather than reactive by investing in insurance, managing your debt, backing up your data and more.

These and other steps can help your business to not just survive, but thrive.

About the Author: Shayla Ebsen is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience both in the corporate and freelance settings.

These Employers Get Health Insurance

These days, health care is so expensive that it becomes a big bargaining chip in any employment negotiation.

shutterstock_155442434

For workers with families or chronic health conditions, company health benefits can play a large part in whether they want to work at a certain company, or if they want to jump ship and move to a company with better health benefits.

If you’re in the market for a better company with better health insurance, consider these giants of industry; there’s sure to be a branch near you.

  1. Google

When it comes to looking out for employees’ health, Google is one of the leaders. Besides appearing at the top of the list of companies with best benefits, they also offer on-site health practitioners at many of their locations. This is just another example of why Google is one of the best companies to work for. They place high importance on the work-life balance, and make efforts to minimize hassles when an employee gets sick.

  1. Costco

Surprisingly, one of the nation’s top big box stores is also tops when it comes to taking care of their workers. Not only do they pay above minimum wage rates for part time and hourly employees, but they also provide generous health benefits to all levels of workers. After an interim period after hire, salaried and hourly employees – including part timers – enjoy their pick of either a Choice Plus insurance plan or a Freedom of Choice insurance plan. As the following article looks at, if caring for your child’s teeth is a priority for you, Costco’s comprehensive dental plan for all levels of employees may prove too enticing to pass on.

  1. Adobe

Adobe Systems not only offers health insurance benefits on par with top grade tech firms, but they put their own twist on what it means to care about employees’ families. Their unique spin? They offer pet insurance. Not a bad idea, considering that pet veterinarian bills can easily spiral up into the thousands of dollars overnight. This interesting benefit is also a great way to put a pet friendly face on a company you wouldn’t necessarily expect to care one way or another. Though a person might not choose to work for Adobe solely because of the pet insurance, it’s surely a great reason to stay there.

  1. Monsanto

The biggest shocker of all is Monsanto, which holds one of the top ten spots for best employee compensation and benefits. For a company that deals in food chemicals to turn around and show an eagerness to take care of employees’ health, that’s either one leap of creative imagination or publicity genius. Whether it would be worth it to work for such a company in order to reap what they’re sowing is up to the individual.

The question of why companies would choose to offer exceptional insurance benefits to employees when they aren’t forced to is easily answered.

Better benefits attract more candidates, retain more existing employees and are overall, better for the company as a whole.

When smart companies make the wise decision to take care of their employees’ health, they pay for fewer sick days, experience less downtime and enjoy a more efficient working environment.

As time goes on, hopefully more companies will take notice and follow suit.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.

Are Benefits More Important than Salary?

One of the main predicaments that people face when they are looking for a job is choosing between high salary and good benefits.

shutterstock_104419211

There are jobs that offer the best of both worlds, but many job seekers find themselves having to compromise one or the other.

If you are experiencing the same predicament as those job seekers, the following information could be helpful to you.

 

Choosing the Most Important

Salary is usually the first thing that job seekers look at when they are considering whether or not to apply for or accept a job. However, most job seekers will take benefits into serious consideration when they are making a job decision.

There are a number of factors that determine whether or not benefits are more important than salary, and these may include age, health condition, income level, career level, work-related risks and others.

For instance, people who have an annual income of less than $90,000 are more likely to place more importance on benefits, because healthcare can amount to 35 percent of their salaries, according to Monster.

Older employees and job seekers who need medical care on a regular basis are another group of people who may regard benefits as more important than salary.

On the other hand, recent graduates have a greater tendency to make salary their first priority, since they are young and healthy, and they are more focused on making ends meet and building savings.

Top Benefits to Look for

Health Insurance

A survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund revealed that the percentage of Americans without health insurance dropped from 20 percent to 16 percent between 2010 and mid-2014. Following the implementation of Obamacare, which imposes a fine on underinsured and uninsured Americans; job seekers are increasingly trying to land jobs that offer good health benefits. It is important to have adequate health insurance because of the rising costs of medical care. Catastrophic health problems can run up tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and they can lead to bankruptcy. According to NerdWallet, failure to pay medical bills was the leading cause of bankruptcies in the US in 2013.

Dental Insurance

Visiting the dentist once or twice a year can cost you a substantial amount of money. This is especially true if you have a family. As the following article looks at, dental insurance provided by your employer, can eliminate or greatly reduce the cost of caring for your child’s teeth.

Vacation Time

It is necessary to take a break from work from time to time; because it can help you reduce stress and rejuvenate your body and mind. Look for a job that offers adequate vacation time, as well as maternity or paternity leave, flex-time or the option to work from home.

Pay Raise

Working for a company that offers competitive pay raises enables you to increase your income more quickly over the years. It will make it easier for you to meet your financial obligations and help you save more money as your career progresses.

If you find yourself having to choose between higher salary or better benefits during your job search, you should make your decision based on your personal needs and preferences.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to small business.

No Small Business in Offering Employees Health Insurance

In today’s healthcare landscape, the question on many small business owners’ mind is whether or not to provide employee health insurance.

shutterstock_100104326

If you are on the fence about providing your workers with healthcare coverage, there are a number of pros and cons to consider.

When it comes to employee healthcare, here are some helpful pros and cons for your small business to keep in mind:

Employee Health Insurance Stats

The great healthcare debate seems to boil down to one question for small business owners: should employers offer health insurance coverage to their workers?

Well, according to the National Small Business Association, roughly 86% of U.S. businesses with 10 to 20 employees offer insurance coverage. Additionally, 91% of U.S. businesses with 21 to 49 employees offer their workers coverage.

Although you shouldn’t base your decision on what other businesses are doing, it’s important to put yourself in your employees’ shoes.

Think of you and your family’s health concerns.

Do you have any medical conditions? Do you need vision and dental coverage? As the following article looks at, what are the costs associated with caring for your child’s teeth?

These questions, along with the pros and cons below, will help you make the right decision for your small business.

Pros of Offering Healthcare Insurance

Sure, offering your staff healthcare coverage is a great way to attract new talent and retain the employees you already have, but there are numerous other benefits to offering your employees health insurance.

Among them:

  • Tax Deductions – When you offer your employees healthcare coverage, it can result in significant tax deductions for your small business. In fact, depending on the coverage you offer, you can deduct up to 100% or your employees’ premiums.
  • Healthcare Tax Credits – If your small business has 25 or fewer employees, you could receive tax credits for offering your workers coverage. These credits can work in combination with other tax deductions, which can result in major savings for your business.
  • Workplace Wellness – By offering your employees health insurance, you are promoting wellness in your workplace. This results in fewer sick days and an increase in productivity.

Cons of Providing Coverage

On the flipside of the healthcare coin are the disadvantages of offering your employees health insurance.

Just as you do with the pros, you should also weigh the cons in your decision-making process.

Among them:

  • Costs are increasing – Healthcare costs are on the rise for both individuals and employers. The rising costs not only put a financial strain on small businesses, they also make it difficult to budget for future company-wide healthcare expenses.
  • Cost-Sharing headaches – Many small business owners opt for cost-sharing health insurance plans. Although this lowers the overall costs, it also creates tension between employers and workers when deciding who covers additional fees and rate increases.
  • Administrative inconveniences – Finding a business health insurance plan is one thing, but actually signing up for the plan and obtaining all of your employees’ information is something else entirely. Between adjusting premiums and handling co-pay paperwork, the administrative efforts involved with juggling employee health insurance can become a nightmare.

If you’re considering offering health insurance coverage to your employees keep in mind the pros and cons above in order to make a healthy decision.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including healthcare and small business.