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5 Ways Small Businesses Can Offer Competitive Benefits

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At Scale we often hear small business owners (SBOs) ask how they are supposed to compete with the benefits packages offered by large corporations. They are anxious that they will have to choose between 1) making a profit but upsetting their staff by offering no benefits or low-quality benefits, or 2) attracting and retaining quality employees but breaking their bank with ultra-expensive benefits. Well, we have good news—these aren’t your only two options!

You don’t have to pass up benefits, nor do you have to say goodbye to your profits. Below are five things a small business owner can do to offer great benefits and compete for top talent.


1. Shine a Light on Your Company Perks

When you hear the word “benefits” you probably do what most people do and think of healthcare. But the truth is that there are a lot of non-traditional benefits, or “perks,” that a small business can afford to offer.

If your company offers things like telecommuting, flexible hours, themed lunch days, a casual dress code, happy hours, or a dog-friendly office then, congrats—you have some perks to be proud of! Now don’t be shy, make sure your current employees, as well as your prospective employees, know about them.


2. Have an Employee Referral Incentive

If you already have some dream employees and just wish you could find more like them then you should consider implementing an incentive for employee referrals. Current employees can be one of your best sources for recruiting new talent, and they are even more motivated to refer good people when they have an incentive like a referral bonus.

Not only is it a more budget-friendly recruiting method but according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), “Employee-referred new hires tend to be better performers than nonemployee-referred new hires and to stay with their organizations longer.”


3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of a 401(k)

Retirement plans are incredibly important, especially to those top-tier people you're looking to recruit. According to the Spark 401k Survey, 94% of SBOs who offer a 401(k) say it drives recruitment and retention, 52% report it helps attract better quality employees, and 47% report it inspires increased employee engagement.

Unfortunately, there is a misconception amongst many small business owners that their company is too small to offer a 401(k) plan, or that offering one is too expensive. The truth is that any size business can offer a 401(k), and as for the cost it is much more affordable than many people realize, and even provides personal and professional tax breaks.


4. Partner with a PEO to Offer a Comprehensive Health Benefits Package

When a small business teams up with a PEO they gain access to big-business employee benefits such as: 401(k) plans; health, dental, life, vision insurance; dependent care; and other Fortune 500-quality benefits they might not otherwise receive as employees of a small company. Without the PEO, a small business can neither afford nor can they manage these benefits.


5. Say Goodbye to Paper Forms

Technology has transformed the benefit election and enrollment process. The modern employee doesn’t want to fill out stacks of paperwork—they want quick, easy online enrollment, including access from their tablets and cell phones whenever they want. In the past, large corporations were typically the ones to embrace online benefits-related technology, but nowadays this technology is well within reach for even the smallest company. Not only is it cost-efficient, but it also saves HR administrators time, streamlines the process, and helps keep the organization compliant.


As a small business owner you don't have to be intimidated to compete with large corporations in your quest for top-notch employees. Simply using the tips outlined above can help even the smallest company compete with the "big guys" when it comes to offering benefits that attracts quality talent.


Now are you ready to learn about the value of a good employee onboarding experience? Read our blog post here.


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Jennifer Eddlemon, aPHR
Jennifer Eddlemon, aPHR
Jennifer is a licensed life and health agent with over a decade of experience in the insurance industry, and an aPHR certification. Outside of the office she loves horseback riding, volunteering, and spending time with her family.

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