Strategies for providing benefits on a small business budget

Work Wisdom

Strategies for providing benefits on a small business budget

During a typical year, small business owners wear many hats and the responsibilities of managing and growing their business are extensive.

As we continue to navigate through a global pandemic, small business owners are dealing with the added complexity and uncertainty of staffing concerns caused by the Great Resignation and staffing shortages, along with their desire to help employees have the financial protection they need for life’s unexpected challenges.

The coronavirus and its variants remind us of the need to be financially prepared. It also presents logistical challenges for open enrollment, especially when interactive benefits education is preferred by workers. Partnering with a benefits expert can be the extension small business owners need to supplement their benefits strategy, attract new workers and meet the unique benefits needs of today’s workers.

According to a 2021 Unum Employer Benefits Education and Enrollment survey, more than half of today’s workers are more interested or aware of their benefits as a result of COVID-19. In addition, over half of employees felt that the enrollment experience was challenging. While firms, big and small, look to control their spending, they must be cautious so they can remain competitive as current workers and job seekers consider benefits very important.

To help employees efficiently understand their benefit options, smaller firms should consider partnering with a voluntary benefits company that provides financial protection and personalized benefits through an engaging and flexible enrollment experience. At Colonial Life, we work to understand each employer’s unique workforce and develop a customized enrollment strategy that may encompass technology, tools, and virtual benefits education to reach workers when and how they want.

Benefit partners can also recommend employee-paid benefit choices that simplify HR tasks which free up time and allow managers to focus on immediate staff needs. Here are some of the advantages:

Simplify Benefit Administration. Even the most experienced HR professionals find benefits education and enrollment challenging. Many benefit providers offer online management capabilities that reduce administration time and take the pressure off HR professionals.

Easy Enrollment & Digital Online Tools. Virtual enrollment is another tool that proves to be effective in today’s flexible workforce. According to Colonial Life’s 2020 Workplace Wellness Study, employees are interested in a robust online enrollment experience. The most popular online services include a portal for accessing benefits, decision-making tools and online brochures. 

Multi-Channel Enrollment Approach. In today’s environment, a multi-channel approach is needed to help inform and engage employees. Through digital resources, brokers can connect small businesses with reputable benefits providers who offer enrollment services, including virtual benefits counseling and on demand educational materials, to help employees make appropriate benefit decisions for themselves and their families.

Employee-Paid Benefits. Frequently, brokers and benefit providers offer small businesses affordable options that deliver real value for employees, while limiting employer expenses. Voluntary benefits such as supplemental health, disability, life insurance and Employee Assistance Programs help provide financial protection when employer-paid group coverage isn’t an option.

Through partnerships and resources, employees can get access to the benefits education and coverage they need, in the manner they prefer, and at affordable rates they wouldn’t be able to find on the individual market. As a value-add, smaller firms can keep a tight rein on additional benefits spending during volatile times.

To be considered an employer of choice and retain top talent, smaller firms must leverage strategies and tactics they may not have considered in the past, like flexible enrollment methods and partnering with a provider that takes an engaging and innovative approach.

For more information on how to protect your employees and your small business, take a look at The Essential Small Business Benefits Guide.

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