Small Business Guide to Creative Employee Benefits

When it comes to employee benefits, health insurance, retirement accounts and sick days, they are often standard at larger companies. To set your small business apart, you’ve got to think more creatively. Here are 10 great ideas I hope you can benefit from:

 

  1. Free food: Try keeping the break room stocked with free snacks, soda, and bottled water. You could even do something more significant, like providing a catered lunch on a weekly basis. The productivity is higher each day/week because they don’t have to leave for lunch.
  2. Four-day workweek: A three-day weekend once in awhile could make your employees not only happier but also more productive. A four-day workweek allows more time for employees to restore, if you will, their energy levels.
  3. Unlimited vacation: This policy speaks mostly about your company’s values. It sends a really clear message to employees that you care about them, that you want them to spend time with their families and that you want them have a high quality of life. When people feel cared for by their company or employer, they are much more likely to do great work.
  4. Professional development: Employees want to work for companies that help them advance their careers. Paying for classes, certifications and conferences is a major draw. Another idea, however, is establishing a mentoring program between employees.
  5. Personal development: Employees place a high value on work-life balance. Consider offering personal development benefits. One way to do so is by paying for the services of a life coach. Another is by offering lunch-and-learn events. You can have your bank come in, for instance, and help people learn how to get a mortgage, when the right time is to refinance or how to use their savings account.
  6. Massage therapy: Sometimes the greatest opportunities are the simplest things, like paying a massage therapist to come for two hours on Friday afternoons to give chair massages. This helps your employees relax and relieve stress.  
  7. Flexible working: Giving employees the option to work from home shows that you care about work-life balance. So does letting them come in late or leave early when they need to.
  8. Gym memberships: Fitness and keeping healthy is very important.  If you don’t have the space for weights and a treadmill, consider gifting employees a gym membership or negotiating discounted memberships at a nearby facility.
  9. Community service: Companies that offer time off for employees to volunteer or participate in community service projects earn points with their community and their workforce.
  10. Voluntary benefits: Employers who can’t afford to pay for dental insurance, life insurance or disability insurance can still offer them. You could give your employees—through payroll deductions—the option of accumulating a block of hours for an attorney to help them with the assembly of their will or the closing of a house.

 

Highest Regards,

Stacia

 

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Why Dental Coverage Helps Employers As Much As Employees

These days, everyone is moving towards eating a balanced diet and squeezing in a healthy workout. But to truly be healthy, you have to focus on more than just diet and exercise. Many people often overlook their oral health.

Oral health and cardiovascular health have been linked in the health community for a while; however, there is new evidence that provides the link between periodontitis, also known as gum disease, to stroke and heart attacks. Studies have shown that treating gum disease with a topical remedy greatly reduced vascular inflammation, which lessens risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.

Cardiovascular disease is a serious problem, in the US: one of four people will die due to these complications if left untreated. It is also a huge expense for Americans, including employees and employers who sponsor their health plans. Heart disease is racking up a daily one billion dollars in lost productivity and medical care.

Gum disease can also affect more than just heart. It is actually a risk for expectant mothers, as it can affect unborn babies. The bacteria caused by the periodontitis get into the bloodstream of the pregnant woman and attack the fetus, often leading to premature birth and low birth weight. This puts newborns at risk for issues in their early life, as well as developmental issues later on, in addition to being very expensive for the family. A premature baby can cost around $49,000 in expense its first year, compared to $4,551 for an infant who has no complications. A report from the March of Dimes states the pre-term birth costs more that $12 billion in extra healthcare costs.

Oral health is also important for diabetics. In addition to being at risk for issues with their feet, eyes, kidneys, and heart, they also are more prone to periodontitis. A higher risk of gum disease can make it more difficult to regulate blood glucose, in addition to causing infections in the bones that hold teeth in place, making chewing more difficult.

It is vital for employers and employees to understand how oral health plays a part in overall health. Simple, inexpensive treatment can save businesses and plan participants thousands of dollars and countless hours of pain.

Analyzing claims data is a great indication of how oral health affects employees. The highest number of claims come from cardiovascular, maternity, diabetes, and musculoskeletal claims, all of which can be worsened by periodontitis.

Dental health has been given a back seat in health plans, wellness initiatives, and employee education. Most initiatives focused on preventing heart disease covered diet and exercise, but overlooked dental care. Many health plans do not include dental coverage, which is a minimal expense compared to other program costs and costs of potential complications. Often, employees will disregard dental care because they have never had a history of cavities. But dental coverage and employee education can help them understand the risks and therefore take their dental health into their own hands.

It is highly important that employers work closely with insurance brokers to understand dental coverage and what the associated costs are. They will likely see that medical claims are much higher than dental claims. They can work together with benefit consultants to create affordable dental plans. Bridging the gap between dental and medical coverage for those at higher risk of dental issues can truly get the treatment they need.

Employees with good dental hygiene will decrease employer’s medical costs. Proper dental coverage is vital for this win-win.


Highest regards,

Stacia

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86% of Employees Participate In A Particular Wellness Program

There are varying views on whether wellness programs assist with people cutting those unwanted pounds. Critics have even gone so far as to claim that these programs are actually counter-productive because they shame employees about their weight.

A survey released from HealthMine (a wellness company) points out the potential of such programs besides weight-loss.

According to the poll of 501 people with a heart disease, 43% said their condition was identified through a wellness program. In addition, the poll found that 68% participate in a wellness program that includes a disease management program, and most (86%) participate in that particular program.

“Heart disease strikes someone in the U.S. once about every 43 seconds. But, we have the power to lessen the impact,” said Bryce Williams, CEO of HealthMine. “Through personal clinical engagement, we can help people find out sooner, learn what they need to do and motivate them to do it.”

79% of respondents noted that their wellness plan helped them manage their health care costs. 42% said it actually helped them quite a bit.

Wellness programs have scored a number of legal and political victories over the past year.

Not only has the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proposed a rule allowing companies to issue financial incentives up to 30 percent of the cost of its health insurance, but the EEOC’s own suit against a company that required employees to partake in biometric screenings to be eligible for company health care was rejected by a federal judge in December.

Highest regards,

Stacia

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