employee benefits
Dentist treating a patient's teeth in dental practice

Sponsored by MetLife


By Rieva Lesonsky

Do you agree with this statement? “Employee benefits aren’t a factor that attracts and retains employees, especially in a small business.” If you’re nodding your head in agreement, I’m sorry to say you’re falling for a myth—one with potentially devastating consequences for your business.

When you hear about the benefit packages large corporations offer their employees, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel as if your small business can’t possibly compete. But if you don’t even try to provide competitive benefits, you’re doing your business a huge disservice.

Recruiting good employees is tough for most businesses, but small businesses face additional challenges. Offering a good benefits package can help you overcome those hurdles. A whopping 76% of employees say benefits are “very” or “extremely” important in deciding whether or not to accept a job offer, a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute reports. In a MetLife study last year, more than two-thirds (69%) of employees at midsized companies said the benefits offered were the reason they chose to work for their current employer. Just 46% of small business employees said the same. With most small businesses failing to take advantage of the power of benefits in recruiting, those that do will enjoy a competitive edge.

Once employees are on board, benefits also play a role in retention and loyalty. Just 45% of employees surveyed in MetLife’s 14th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study say they expect to be with their current employer in 12 months. While that figure is up slightly from 2014, it’s still cause for concern. With 55% of your staff open to leaving your business, benefits can be the deciding factor in keeping them.

Don’t believe me? More than one-third of small-business employees (38%) say dental insurance is a primary reason they stay with their employers, while 34% say the same about vision insurance. Overall, nearly two-thirds (64%) of employees at small businesses say employee benefits customized for their needs would make them more loyal to their employers.

Healthcare benefits aren’t the only type of incentive that can make a difference to employees. In MetLife’s most recent Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, employees are more pessimistic than last year about their financial futures, with just 46% of workers expecting their financial situation to improve in the coming year. Younger workers (ages 21 to 34) are more concerned about their finances than any other age group. They are also more likely than any other age group to believe their employer should help them improve their financial situation.

With 71% of employees overall feeling that work is the foundation of their financial safety net, offering benefits, such as life insurance, disability insurance and accident insurance can go a long way toward increasing your team’s feelings of financial security. Providing your employees with financial education resources can also help them plan for the future.

Developing an employee benefits plan that helps employees manage their financial lives today and prepare for tomorrow will demonstrate your commitment to them—and help keep them committed to your business.