Q: Should I give my employees any benefits, such as healthcare? How do I work out the costs?
A: Engaging the right employees is hard, keeping them is even harder. You're right to think about ways to make their role with you more valuable to them, aside from their basic pay.
The crux of this issue is what do your employees value? Healthcare is an absolute staple in the United States because of the costs of treatment, but in New Zealand it will be more important to some than others.
Treat this situation like you might with a customer feature with your product or service. The value to you is the behaviour and engagement you get with your employees from establishing employment benefits like healthcare. Is it the right feature to add, and how might you market it?
Best story I've heard around this was a legal firm who paid for cleaners for their employees' homes. It meant people weren't worried about doing the vacuuming on weekends, and would seriously think about leaving the firm, as they'd have to clean their own shower again.
Whatever you choose, the cost should be easy enough to establish, just call around and get a quote. But think more on understanding what it is your staff need first.
Some employers offer a range of benefits so employees can choose what suits them best. For example, older or family-centric employees might value health and income protection insurance, while younger staff might see more benefit in a gym membership or regular visits from a masseuse.
Benefits can be hugely rewarding for a company, but equally they can be double the cost if you don't understand your people and offer them a benefit which they don't see as relevant.
Be aware that communicating how you launch this is important too, as some people have a "just give me the cash" attitude. The right offer and the right message will give your employees the warm fuzzies, knowing you want to make their lives better.
Nick Churchouse is the Venture Manger at Creative HQ, Wellington's startup hub and entrepreneurship centre. CreativeHQ.co.nz
A: Different staff members will value different types of benefits differently. For smaller companies it is often better to simply pay your staff extra and get them to sort their own extra benefits out for themselves, that way you also avoid any fringe benefit tax (FBT) hassles and extra administration overheads.
From your perspective, weigh up the benefits, both tangible and not, for providing benefits over and above base salary and wages for your employees.
Mark Robotham is an SME business adviser. Website: growthmanagement.co.nz
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