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Hey everybody. This is Gene Marks and welcome to this week’s segment of Small Biz Ahead. Thank you so much for joining me. I’m glad that you are here and I’ve got a lot to talk about, this week. Listen, you’re fine with employees, right? You got plenty. It’s all good. Your payroll is full. You’re just turning around employees at the door, correct? I mean, you don’t need any more help in your business. Obviously I’m kidding. This is the biggest issue that is facing small businesses and large businesses all around the country. It’s finding good people. Well, we know there are 11 million open jobs right now. We know that, you know, unemployment rate, although it’s low, there are still a lot of people that are not coming back to work right now, people changing and switching jobs. When there’s a low supply of something and a high demand for it, it drives up the price.
So you gotta pay your people more. That’s a given, but you also wanna provide good competitive benefits for your employees as well. And so what I did is, I talked to a bunch of people, some HR experts and small business owners around the country and did a little bit of research to find out what are some of the hottest employee benefits that are being offered in 2022. And I’ve got five of them that I would like to share with you because you should be offering these benefits or some combination of these benefits. And I wanna make sure that you are doing that because it’s that important to make sure that you are attracting and recruiting the right people from your business. So you ready? Benefit number one, better and more flexible hours. I mean, listen, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that many employees are able to get their job done, even when they’re not in the office.
Right? And as countless surveys have proved, employees very much want this type of benefit. So, whether it’s a flexible pay time off plan, a work from home program or just offering the ability to stagger hours and work wherever and whenever you want, that is a benefit that’s critical for attracting and retaining employees this year. I spoke to one business owner who runs a, she’s an HR manager at an online gaming place where they have their dealers, deal Blackjack online for thousands of people at a time. But she says, they’ve got like five different shift times. They can be flexible around their dealers, livelihoods. I mean, they offer the best of both worlds. They say, listen, people nowadays, they prefer work different times of the day due to their family situations. And her company is a company that is helping to accommodate that.
So number one, better and more flexible hours. Number two, mental health. Mental health has become a top priority in 2022. I mean, when I talked to one benefits administrator, she said that she’s seen a strong desire among her clients to help their employees with mental health issues. I mean, whether it’s through health insurance coverage or via coaching or having a counselor or even a therapist or a psychologist on staff that you’re paying a retainer to, or maybe you make some services available, like look at BetterUp.com or Talkspace.com. Those are two mental health platforms where you can pay and your employees can take advantage by having online, private, confidential coaching and mental health sessions with certified and trained therapists that are on those two platforms. It’s “BetterUp” and the other one is called “Talk space.” I mean, many companies, many clients of mine are revisiting their mental health benefits.
They’re making sure that both perspective and current employees are fully aware of what’s available to them. I mean, just remember, thanks to Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles, mental health awareness has never been higher. Many employees, particularly younger employees, they no longer view depression or anxiety or other similar issues as a stigma. This has become a very popular and important benefit to provide. So you wanna make sure that you are revisiting what benefits you are providing for mental health. So, that’s the second thing. Number three, is just healthcare. So, a lot of people are re-addressing what their healthcare benefits are. If you’ve got a high deductible plan, you wanna make sure that you’re offering a health savings account, along with it. Health savings accounts are like a 401k for your healthcare. Your employees can put money away pre-tax then they can pull it out and use it for unreimbursed medical expenses.
And if they leave your company, they can take it with you. And if they don’t spend it all, it’ll carry over into the next year. It’s a very, very popular benefit. If you don’t have a health savings account, you really want to consider getting one and attaching it to your high deductible health insurance plan. The other thing that I’ve seen when it comes to healthcare is that many of my clients are extending their healthcare coverage now just beyond covering the worker, but also to cover their families as well. I mean, it’s an opportunity to provide even more coverage without having to change your health plan. So that’s become a more popular option as well. So, for healthcare critical benefit, but look into health savings accounts and consider maybe extending the benefit to include other family members as well. That is something that will really help your employees.
Number four, student loans. Now, I don’t know if you know this or not, but college tuition is kind of expensive. Well, that’s why we have an entire generation of employees that are buried under their student debt, which is why student loan reimbursement is a very hot benefit. Many companies are taking advantage of the existing tax deduction and new incentives available. Thanks to prior COVID legislation that not only encourages helping their employees pay down student loans, but also provides for other types of educational assistance. I mean, you can deduct 5,250 per employee per year. They don’t get taxed on it either if you help pay down their student loans or actually reimburse for other education that they get. So, there’s a chance that the government may one day forgive some of this college related debt, but…
For now many employers are just stepping up and they’re, offering to do this themselves. They’re using platforms like “Tuition.io” and “Savi.” That’s S.A.V.I. They’re powerful platforms. And offering this kind of a benefit is a bit of a differentiator, right? Because a lot of companies still aren’t doing it. So, it really does help you stand out. Lastly, is just fringe benefits. I talked to one HR provider who is really hyping up a platform called Fringe. It’s fringe.us, where employees are given points by her company. And then they can use those points to choose for more than 130 different types of fringe benefits that the platform offers ranging from gym reimbursements and lunch stipends to financial wellness apps and life and career coaching. I mean, you can offer these benefits on your own, but it takes a lot of administrative time. This brings it all together…
In one platform, you pays one price and then you award the points to your employees and they pick and choose what they want to get. So it’s just very, very important that you provide these kinds of extra benefits. It could make the difference to hiring that good employee. Finally, just remember guys, educate your employees. At least to what the benefits are that you’re providing. A lot of people I talk to, aren’t even mentioning, they’re not fully aware of all the benefits that their health plans or retirement plans and other things that they’re offering your employees need to make sure that, they fully understand what they have earned. So let me recap, the five hot benefits I’m seeing in 2022. Number one, better and more flexible hours. Number two, mental health benefits and coverage. Number three, healthcare benefits like HSA plans or expanding coverage to other members of the family.
Number four, is student loan reimbursement, helping your employees pay down their student loans. And number five, offering fringe benefits using a platform like fringe.us could be a really great way to not only keep your existing employees happy, but attract new ones to your business. Hope this helps guys, this is how you attract employees in 2022. These are some of the hot benefits that people are using. My name is Gene Marks. You can follow me on Twitter @GeneMarks, or you can read my stuff on the Hartford’s Small Biz Ahead website, it’s SBA.thehartford.com. Plenty of advice, tips, stories, articles, and our Small Biz Ahead podcast to help you run your business better. Thanks very much for joining me. I hope you found this information helpful and we will see you again next week.
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