The unemployment rate declined to 3.5 percent in September. This is the lowest rate reported since December 1969. We should all be jumping for joy. This is a great thing. However, human resource professionals are feeling the pressure. With low unemployment comes a highly competitive job market where every bell and whistle can be the determining factor to be the employer of choice.
Inc.com gives us 7 Ways to Improve Employee Satisfaction, which can certainly improve the employee “happiness factor”. But, sometimes you need a little edge to get in front of employees. So, Benefit Resource brings you “4 Strategies to Strengthen Your Benefits Programs”.
1) Add a Post-deductible HRA with an HSA
An HSA on its own can be a sought after benefit.
- Win # 1: Employees can put money into an HSA and they get to keep it regardless of their employment decisions.
- Win #2: There is no vesting requirement like a 401K. Employees own their HSA from day one.
- Win #3: There is no fear of a use-or-lose approach that you might have with an FSA. HSA funds automatically rollover from year to year.
So combining an HSA with a post-deductible HRA just sweetens the deal and acts as a bonus.
How, might you ask?
A post-deductble HRA is all about limiting risk and managing fear. Employees are sometimes scared of the HSA because it is attached to a negative sounding high deductible health plan.
A post-deductible HRA helps limit an employee’s risk. Rather the needing to meet the full employer plan deductible, the HRA can pay benefits when the the minimum IRS deductible threshold is met.
Example: For 2019, an employer offers a high deductible health plan with a $3,000 individual deductible. The post deductible HRA begins to pay when the individual reaches $1,350 in deductible expenses. The exposure to the employee is reduced, risk is managed and employees are more satisfied with the benefit package.
2) Consider offering an HSA matching contribution strategy
Everyone likes free money, but sometimes you appreciate it more when you feel like you “earned” it or “had skin in the game”.
A matching HSA contribution strategy is a great way to encourage employees to build their HSA balance, but also is viewed positively by employees. No one wants to leave money on the table so they are encouraged to contribute up to the employer match
The side effect?
Employees are more prepared if/when they have an expense and therefore happier with your benefits offering.
3) Channel your inner environmentalist by offering a Commuter Benefits plan
At the basic level, a commuter benefits plan allows employees to save on their commute, which is awesome. Who doesn’t like a 30% off coupon? However, commuter benefits also encourage employees to take mass transit and decrease their carbon footprint. Employees appreciate benefits that make a difference and contribute to a greater good.
While the IRS no longer provides tax-favorable treatment for bicycle commute programs, employers might consider building their own bicycle commute program. As an unregulated benefit, employers have more choice and flexibility regarding what is included and how it works.
4) Create a “Designer Benefit” program
Sometimes, it’s that little added something that makes the difference. Maybe you are looking at wellness programs, gym reimbursement, tuition reimbursement or other lifestyle reimbursement programs. Alternatively, you may have a part-time or fluctuating workforce and want to allow them to participate in some of your benefits and need a reliable way to collect premiums.
You can get a little creative with the benefits you offer employees. Benefit Resource is available to assist in the design and execution of these programs. The key is to strengthen your benefits and stand out among employer options.
Ultimately, you will be on your way to being the employer of choice.