The Benefits of Benefits.
Small Business is challenging on the best days. Your business is booming - and you struggle to keep up with demand. Business is slow - and you struggle to keep up with innovation. These are the number one problems that small business owners face, and the solution is much easier said than done; hiring and retaining talented, motivated and dedicated employees.
The formula - or “Golden Ratio” for procuring talented employees is the same formula created as a business concept introduced in a 2006 Harvard Business Review. The title of the original article was - Strategy & Society: The Link between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility. The hypothesis is that positive intent by two parties in a joint venture will produce growth and prosperity. Essentially, good intent + good intent = shared value, and it is shared value that creates prosperity.
This simple equation holds the key to success for all relationships. From boardrooms to kitchen tables, the well-being of relationships is born and bred in shared value. When we lose sight of this, we lose.
How does shared value help Small Business Owners find and retain quality employees?
This is a fair question to ask, as in most organizations there is a limit to employee growth; however, if you look at it in terms of shared value for acquisition and retention, the benefits to both parties are transparent.
Keep in mind, shared value is a summation of good intent.
For a business to be profitable, positions are either created or modified for leadership advancement.
When a business grows, the ability to be competitive over salaries increases.
Talent and dedication are nurtured, not dictated. The individual wellness of employees through benefits increases productivity.
This is not a groundbreaking discovery that will fundamentally change the way businesses are run - it is a call to action to be more mindful of the wellness of your business and the people that will make or break your ultimate success.
The struggle to find and retain quality employees affects all business. From fortune 500’s, to mom&pop brick and mortar, there is a talent shortage and it has created a bidding war with stakes commonly too high for small business to compete with.
It is now best practice for organizations to have higher marketing budgets for employee acquisition than the marketing of their product or service. The time of ‘good’ salaries, two weeks paid vacation and shared cost benefits are over. Lately, if you look at job descriptions for most major corporations, the ‘benefits’ package includes: free organic lunches, personal trainers, wellness practitioners, indoor climbing walls, meditative atriums, on-site laundry facilities and the list goes on.
The problem with this is not that providing exceptional benefits is wrong, it is simply that the majority of Small Business Owners cannot compete - and while the benefits are fantastic, the expected ROI is more often than not unattainable. This sheds light on the the fact that shared value is diminished by ‘expectations’ on both sides, when it is assumed instead of authentic. The value each side receives is based on assumptions instead of empathy - How much do I have to give to receive more? From concept to completion the value is nothing more than a segregated tug of war between employer and employee.
There is a solution to this seemingly infinite loop of missed opportunity, and it is up to the true driving force behind the Canadian economy to yell loud enough for everyone to hear - Canadian Small Business Owners.
Overlooked and disregarded by many, it is Small Business Owners that drive innovation and change by setting an example for the rest to follow, and this situation is no different. The message is simple - Empower your employees to empower your business - Let them decide what benefits they need instead of telling them, and get back to working as a team. Empathy on both sides, it truly is that simple.
There are a number of ways that Small Business Owners set the standard for employee empowerment, compete with the benefits provided by larger companies and create lasting shared value - Benefits My Way.
The Benefits My Way program puts the advantages of modern benefits packages in to the hands of the employees, while insuring that business owners do not suffer financially, but gain significant tax advantages.
A 100% tax deduction is as significant as you can get. This is how it works:
The Small Business Owner selects a monetary amount per employee class to receive for the calendar year.
The employee can use this amount on Health & Wellness benefits 100% tax free.
The Small Business Owner receives a 100% tax deduction for the amount used by employees at the end of the calendar year.
That is shared value, and it doesn't end there. The advantages of the Benefits My Way program surpass that of traditional benefits programs from every angle.
There are far less restrictions with this program. An example used time and time again is fertility treatments. Not covered under the majority of traditional health insurance, Benefits My Way allows coverage for all related medical expenses throughout the fertility treatment process. This is regarded as one of the most significant advantages to the plan, as fertility treatments can take a large financial and emotional toll on the families who need them.
Recently, wellness programs have been added to the many options available through Benefits My Way, and it is this addition that allows Small Business Owners to capitalize on employee benefits much like larger corporations when seeking new talent. With covered expenses such as yoga & total body fitness, continuing education and lifestyle equipment like bicycles and kayaks, wellness benefits give Small Business owners the competitive edge they deserve.
Both large and small employers recognize that the individual wellness of their employees has significant effects on the wellness of their business. Happy and healthy people are more productive, confident and able to handle the stress of work/life balance easier. The challenge is accessibility and communication. Small Business owners who provide benefits need to educate their employees on the advantages of a wellness lifestyle, and encourage them to engage and explore without traditional insured lists.
There are more opportunities for Small Business Owners to succeed than there are to fail, the ongoing issue is communication and education. The commitment and dedication to communities large and small by people courageous enough to branch out and start something on their own should not suffer from lack of knowledge or accessibility as a roadblock. Speak to your financial advisor about how modern benefit programs can give you the competitive edge you have earned. There is value for everyone involved.