Tweaking Employee Benefits During Hard Times

As we continue to see reports of companies cutting jobs, it’s important to think about creative ways to proactively work toward keeping your work force in place, yet addressing the economic needs of the company. We’d like to generate some ideas and discussions on what employers can do to mitigate this situation, starting with employee benefits. Here are some of Resourceful HR’s ideas, however, we are very interested in your thoughts. Let us know what you are doing to manage your employee needs while remaining profitable.

Are there ways to tweak or modify the benefits package, while still maintaining the benefit? One place to gather data is with your staff. Of course, you want to be careful about how you solicit this information. Privacy laws definitely need to be considered but overall, it’s ok to ask if you make it clear participation is voluntary. How do employees use stipends for wellness or professional development?  Are your vendor costs for dental premiums really necessary or would it make more sense to self-insure? Should the co-pay be increased? Could the 401k match be adjusted, at least temporarily?  Could some benefits be eliminated with use of those funds going towards higher priority benefits to the staff? These are just a few questions to get you started.

Often employees feel a “take-away” when a benefit is lost or reduced. A cost-effective solution to mitigate this risk while enhancing the organization involves increased employee participation in the business. Spend time this year in small bites educating the staff on sales cycles, business development initiatives and financials. In turn, spend time asking them where they see inefficiencies and solicit suggestions for tightening these up. Employees want to understand the business and help it succeed. They know your business from the inside out and can often be your best advisors.