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How small businesses can leverage benefits as a recruiting tool

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It’s harder than ever for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to compete for top talent. This is a result of a combination of factors (i.e. budgeting, worker qualifications, etc.) and greater influenced by the fact that unemployment rates are at an all-time low. In a workers’ market, salaries rise and larger companies get creative in offering employee benefits most smaller companies can’t compete with, such as remote working, office lunches, reimbursed mobile devices and more. This is only making it more difficult for SMBs to recruit. However, whether they realize it or not, they can take a page out of larger organization’s books and readjust their own benefits to remain competitive as well.

In times like these, SMBs need to go back to the drawing board when it comes to the benefits they’re offering to differentiate themselves from their competitors to attract top talent. Instead of prioritizing lavish “fun” perks, they need to step back and evaluate the most urgent needs of their staff to make sure they’re providing those benefits which hold the most value in the eyes of their team members before anything else.

These priority benefits, for most individuals, include the healthcare and financial benefits offered by companies — health insurance, dental insurance, 401K contributions, life insurance, etc. For most full-time employees, health insurance is offered to them by their employers. However, when it comes to dental benefits, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 49% of the US population receives dental insurance from their employer, forcing roughly 155 million+ people to pay full price for their oral care.

When there are gaps in priority benefits, as is clearly the case with dental, it presents an opportunity for employers to standout. And, with new technology providing alternative benefits offerings to employers of all sizes, SMBs now have tools available to them to start providing these benefits to fulfil the needs of their current teams and to attract future team members in the process.

At Trinity Hospice, we had previously offered dental insurance through a traditional insurance provider, but were finding that to be incredibly costly for our team of twelve people. In looking for alternatives for our team, we found Bento, a tech company offering pay-as-you-go dental benefits. To put it simply, instead of paying premiums towards our team’s care to insurance companies each month, we now save funds to a special savings account that Bento has access to. Then, as our team visits the dentist, Bento withdraws money from the account to cover the costs of the services, so we never spend money unnecessarily. And, any unused funds we’re able to put forth to next year’s care or reallocate to our business as needed.

Our team still receives the same quality of care from their dentist, but has an improved experience using the Bento app to manage their dental health. We’ve found annual savings from not working with a traditional dental insurer to be in the thousands — nearly $10,000 in savings in 2019 alone. The program has been so successful we’re even considering offering customized plans for our part-time team members.

As the leader of a small team, I know it can be difficult to compete with larger organizations when it comes to recruitment. However, when you take a step back to consider what is most important to your team and work to identify ways to meet that need, you may just find innovative partners that can give you an advantage over larger organizations.

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