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Keep Your Hired Happy! Three Nimble Must Have Benefits for 2023

Attracting and retaining employees is a real struggle, especially in an era where the advantage tilts in favor of the new-aged worker. The departure of one or even two individuals can temporarily cripple an organization. Smaller companies are particularly vulnerable. This is why it is crucial for business owners to (re)discover ways to attract and retain their biggest asset, happy hires.

Gallup’s recent poll indicated “pay and wellbeing” are the top ticket items that keep and attract employees. The new-aged worker is seeking wider lanes of wellness; upskilling and financial tools that will help them to (re)discover their work-purpose.

The “people first” culture is here to stay. Amid continued pressures of rising inflation, a business owner’s shrinking cash flows can create the perfect storm for a benefits’ balancing act. Enhancing your fringe menu with a few nimble programs can help to keep your hired happy.

These include:

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are a multifaceted benefit that serves both the employee and an organization.

This type of work-life program encourages access to short-term counseling for individuals who are experiencing personal or work-related challenges that may be affecting their overall wellbeing and job performance. Designed to encompass services that target and treat mental health, these plans include substance and alcohol related counselling, grief and family therapies, that are provided by a licensed professional. EAPs can be drafted to allow for 3, 5, 7 confidential sessions with 24/7 access to hotlines for your staff (at no charge to them). The delivery models may vary, yet can be as low as $15-25 per person per year. Minor administrative costs should be factored in as well.

EAPS may also provide an avenue to train leadership to recognize and possibly resolve job related concerns, before burnout occurs. Small business owner can learn new ways to manage and address positive workplace outcomes and grow through these new-aged challenges by this valuable instrument. Helpful resources include:

Upskilling, cultivating and creating a runway for next-level-skills for your hired is a must do! The recalibration of work-world priorities has created a sense eagerness to learn new talents. Individuals are hungry to understand future career landscapes and what it will take to get them there. Motivated employees are likely to participate in opportunities that yield learning, why not help them?

Empowering your workforce to create their own personalized development agenda will not only enhance their knowledge, competencies and skills, but also their longevity to the firm. Employers have a vested interest in supporting their teammates to reach full potentials. So, listen to their needs; identify the best path to achieve their goals and make it happen!

Something as simple as providing the pathway for paid time off to participate in a skills-building course can do wonders for all parties. In our own backyard, Northwestern Michigan College is an inexpensive learning hub with robust courses focused on the business minded.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) mechanics are not complicated, nor is the set-up.

This is an inexpensive versatile financial vehicle for your hires to shelter from taxation and budget for annual medical, dental & vision needs. Families too may use this method to paydown daycare costs. An elected portion of taxable income is withheld (tax-free) and deposited in a hands-off account. Once the need for eligible expenses arises, the employee has access to these funds.

Within this type of arrangement, employers can also entice participation by providing up to a $500 contribution that can be used towards the eligible financial need of the employee and their family. Participants in this type of instrument can receive roughly a 30% discount on allowable expenses (depending on their tax bracket). Note: The IRS does dictate maximum pre-tax payroll deductions per year.

There is something very special about the vigor and valor of a successful entrepreneur; small business owner. From the numerous human hours put into a typical work week, setting the pace for your company’s growth (and making it happen) … all while drumming up constant inspiration and actions from your workforce, you are the life blood of our small towns within Northern Michigan.

Keep in mind the employee experience will take center stage in 2023. Nurturing your new-aged workforce should be a high priority. Take time to measure your benefit offerings to see if they are fruitful and providing your staff what they truly want and need. Every quarter, encourage feedback so you may reevaluate the performance of all your programs. Don’t fall victim to the benefits’ balancing act. Start small; stay wise and work with your trusted experts.

Written by

Andi Dolan 


Andi Dolan, founder of Traverse Benefits, a locally owned independent insurance agency providing health, life and disability insurance solutions for individuals, employers and Medicare beneficiaries across Northern Michigan.

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