Group benefits for small to medium-size businesses

Can you afford not to offer a plan to your employees? 

Can you afford not to offer a plan to your employees?

In an environment of low interest rates and a rising cost of living, total compensation, including retirement and other employee benefits, has become more important than ever for many Canadians. There are certain benefits high-performance employees not only appreciate but have come to expect from an employer.

“Small to medium-size business owners sometimes question whether they can afford to offer a benefits package to their employees, “ says André Guillemette, Wealth Protection Specialist at BlueShore Financial. “The reality is, not offering a package can put your firm at a significant disadvantage when it comes to staying competitive.”

The benefits of offering a plan

Attracting first-class talent is arguably the most important reason for offering a benefits package. The old saying that “your people are your most important asset” still holds true. For a small to medium-size enterprise (SME), benefits can give you a leg up competing for new talent and encourage superior candidates working for larger firms to consider working for you.

Retaining your best and brightest for the long-term, lowering employee turnover and allowing you to better compete for sales are other important factors to consider. Can you afford to have your top producing sales rep leave because he or she’s been offered benefits by another company?

In uncertain economic times like we see today, employees who are experienced with your business and know your clients can be the difference between continued success and failure. Offering a benefits package can help demonstrate to your employees that their commitment to your business is valued. It can:

  • build loyalty
  • help improve company morale
  • increase productivity
  • reduce sick days

Even if the total number of employees may not be large, your benefits package can still be a group plan. Group benefits are available for as few as two employees and will still be cheaper than most individual options. As a business owner you can also use the benefits for your family’s own retirement and insurance needs.

Employee benefits are a tax-effective form of compensation. Premiums are often tax-deductible for you as the employer and non-taxable for your employees.

Easy to manage

Administering a benefits package can take up valuable staff time. The good news is that the Internet has made it easier than ever to manage the plan with your employees.

Most benefit providers offer user-friendly websites that allow employees to ask questions and access information directly, as well as find forms and submit claims online. Employees can opt into email notifications and receive payments by automatic deposit.

While you may need a staff member to help coordinate the plan, the administration is typically straightforward and extra work can be minimal.

A plan that benefits everyone

When creating your plan, you’ll need to decide which benefits are best for your employee profile. What will your current and future employees value the most? What benefits will bring you the highest return through increased productivity and employee satisfaction, while still being affordable?

Cost-effective plans designed specifically for SMEs bring more opportunity to business owners. Base benefits can include dental, extended health care, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance and emergency travel assistance. Supplementary options paid for by employees can allow for additional coverage if and when necessary.

Plans can also be customized to provide different levels of coverage for different employees. This allows you to better manage your costs and offer enhanced benefits to certain key positions. Employees, managers and owners can all be offered different levels of benefits.

Because of the flexibility, plans for SMEs provide affordable group coverage that is easy for you to budget for and that provides peace-of-mind and financial security to your employees.

Helping you decide

Establishing a package that benefits both you and your employees is worth the effort. You’ll want to consider your employees’ needs and the competitive landscape in which you operate, and you should explore the differences in the plans and benefit options available.

A team comprised of your business and insurance advisors can help you navigate the process and develop a package that provides a positive response from your employees and a competitive advantage for your business.

This article was written by BlueShore Financial