When’s the Right Time for a Small Business to Adopt a Benefits Program?
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We’re often asked by small business owners, “When is the right time to bring in a benefits program?” For many small businesses, the right time is now. Today, we’ll look at why it’s a good idea to prepare for the future by setting up a simple, flexible and affordable benefits program now.

Why small businesses don’t offer benefits

According to Benefits Canada, small businesses don’t offer employee benefits for three main reasons: their employee base is too diverse for traditional one-size-fits-all plans, they’re concerned about costs and year-over-year cost predictability and they don’t have a benefits expert on staff to navigate the complex world of employee benefits.

At BeniPlus, we designed our Benefit Wallet—our employee benefits program based on a flexible spending account—to mitigate these obstacles small businesses face.

To cater to the diverse needs of your employees, the Benefit Wallet is flexible.

To assure small business owners can forecast their benefits budget year over year, we put small business owners in control—you decide on your benefits budget and you don’t have to worry about surprise rate hikes or expensive monthly premiums.

To help small business owners set up employee benefits easily, we created a simple registration process that takes less than half an hour and our employer and employee onboarding documents are in plain language instead of legalese.

Since we’ve designed a program that addresses the top three obstacles that small businesses face when considering an employee benefits program, you might wonder when it’s the right time to get started.

The right time to adopt a benefits program is now

As a small business owner, once you’ve budgeted for a modest benefits plan, there’s no reason to wait any longer. Let’s look at what starting your benefits program now does for your business and how to get started.

Boost your recruitment and retention efforts today

Benefits, especially flexible benefits, help make your company attractive to new candidates and keep your current staff satisfied with their total compensation package. For example, Morneau Shepell’s 2019 Global Employee Survey found that 60% of employees—and 51% of employees under financial stress—would take a lower-paying job if it offered better support for personal well-being than their current job. This includes benefits that support physical and mental health; you can support the physical and mental health of your employees by providing benefits that include a healthcare spending account (HSA) and a wellness spending account (WSA).

Prepare for uncertainty

Small businesses that take a proactive approach are better equipped to handle uncertainty than businesses that take a reactive approach. By implementing a simple, flexible and affordable benefits program, you help your employees reduce the risks associated with unexpected medical conditions and expenses, such as accidents and illnesses, including COVID-19. When you set up a Benefit Wallet for your employees, we recommend including a personal insurance option so your employees can allocate some of their benefit dollars to additional coverage such as life insurance, long-term disability insurance, critical illness insurance and travel insurance.

This risk reduction is also essential for small business owners. If you’re a small business owner who works in the business, how long have you been without benefits? Likely too long! We recommend that as soon as you can pay yourself a regular salary, you also set up a benefits program that includes a healthcare spending account and options for personal insurance. With a healthcare spending account, for example, you can pay for medical expenses through your company—and these expenses are tax deductible for your business.

If you’re a business owner who works in the business, but you don’t have any employees—perhaps you only work with contractors—it’s still important for you to set up your benefits plan now. You don’t have to use it right away—or even at all—but you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re prepared for a rainy day.

With benefits and insurance, too often people don’t think about coverage until it’s too late—but we don’t want this to happen to you. That’s why we’re encouraging you to set up your Benefit Wallet and prepare for the future today.

The safest way to set up an employee benefits plan: Start small

One of the reasons traditional benefits plans don’t work for small businesses is size; they’re just too big. They cost too much, and they provide too many benefits, including ones that employees don’t use or appreciate.

Instead of going big, we recommend starting small with benefits.

This means figuring out what benefits budget you’re comfortable with and starting there. Even if it’s $500 per employee per year for a healthcare spending account, that’s something employees can use and appreciate. When the budget allows, you can always increase the amount of benefit dollars you give each employee type (companies often have different benefit levels for front-line, management and executive staff).

Another way to start small is by limiting the options in the BeniPlus Benefit Wallet.

With the Benefit Wallet, business owners let their employees allocate their benefits between any of these options (or all of them):

  • Healthcare spending account.
  • Personal insurance.
  • Wellness spending account.
  • Registered retirement savings plan.
  • Charitable giving.

But to start small—and offer the most protection for medical-related issues—you can simply offer the healthcare spending account and personal insurance options. Later, you can add more coverage, as the needs of your business evolve.

Starting small means that you’re less likely to reduce employee benefits because you can’t keep up with the costs. Giving benefits and taking them away harms employee morale and engagement and will sabotage recruitment and retention efforts. Start small and avoid this situation!

The right time to adopt a benefits program in your small business is right now. And we’re here to help you give your employees the benefits they want at a price you can afford.

Take 10 minutes today to get a quote for our simple, flexible and affordable employee benefits program.

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