Entrepreneurs: There is One Benefit You Must Offer to Attract and Keep Top Employees

In multiple polls and reports, small businesses have cited finding, hiring, and keeping qualified workers among their biggest operating obstacles in recent years. To help divert that challenge, 19% of small businesses now are most likely to grant employees paid time off (PTO).

That perk leads the list of new benefits small businesses plan to offer for the first time in 2019, reveals a new survey from Clutch. Health benefits (15%) and retirement benefits (11%) are among other leading benefits smaller business plan to offer.

Small businesses should plan to expand their benefits offerings in 2019 given the competition from their rivals and the significant return on investment an effective benefits package provides, Clutch maintains. Providing the new benefits can help reduce employee turnover, the Washington, D.C.-based ratings and review firm reported.

All told, 56% of small businesses plan to offer new benefits to their employees in 2019. Clutch surveyed 529 small business owners or managers to learn about employee benefits plans for this year.

Around (11%) of small businesses are considering offering family leave, and 8% plan to introduce student loan repayment.

Benefits that will most effectively attract new job candidates and reduce turnover are perks small business should offer, Clutch says. Bethany Holliday, director of human resources for Cornerstone Insurance Group & Employer Solutions, explained in a news release that paying for benefits that retain employees is often less than the cost of recruiting and training new employees.

“The last thing you want [employees] to do is walk out the door,” she said. “It costs a whole lot less to keep people happy than it does to try and find new people.” Cornerstone Insurance Group & Employer Solutions is an employee benefit and business insurance firm.

Small businesses are more likely to lure and retain talent by designing their PTO policies with employees’ needs in mind. Holliday contends PTO is a perk that employees increasingly expect to earn immediately.

“We still have clients that are making employees wait an entire year before they’re eligible for any sort of PTO,” Holliday said. “I keep trying to transition [clients] out of that because that’s a very antiquated way of thinking.”

Companies with substandard or antiquated PTO policies will struggle to entice and retain top talent, Clutch reports. Some 45% of small businesses already offer employees PTO. However, Clutch claims not enough of small businesses are offering the perk.

So why are new benefits being provided? Thirty percent of small businesses offering new benefits are doing so to fulfill employee requests, while 27% are aiming to improve morale and keep workers. Just 13% of small businesses are issuing new benefits because they are required by law or as a direct result of union negotiations (9%).

“We kind of shifted from paying a lot to now offering a lot of benefits,” said Christopher Willatt, founder and owner of AlpineMaids, a home cleaning service, stated in a news release. “HR is really geared toward convincing our employees that this is a great job and doing everything to retain them.”

Interestingly, Clutch found that 30% of small businesses don’t have formalized HR resources, such as an in-house HR staff, outsourced HR functions, or a contract with an HR consultant.

Of firms without dedicated HR resources, only 10% offer benefits to their employees. In contrast, 64% of companies with HR resources offer benefits to their employees.

The bottom line is it’s critical that small businesses are ready to meet employee benefits requests to attract and retain a talented workforce, Clutch says.

Check out Clutch’s full report.