February 11, 2020

What is the Most Important Thing You Can Offer to a New or Current Employee?

By Paul Bieber

Here’s a list of the top three things employee’s want:

  1. Health Insurance
  2. Health Insurance
  3. Health Insurance

This will bring you better employees than higher wages or free coffee in the office. Promise. A good insurance plan that keeps your employees and their families healthy will give you more productive work days. A health plan that allows employees to see the doctor of their choice will keep employees healthier and happier.

A plan that offers prescription coverage is a necessary part of your program—for the full family. Give a basic dental program and maybe eyeglass or contacts. All of these are critical in attracting employees to your company.

Ask your employees to cover about 20% of the cost. People are used to paying something. In fact, if they don’t pay anything the plan will be abused. If you want to set a high-deductible plan which will save you on the premium costs, then pay your employees a fair amount of the deductible in a separate check, but not on the dental or vision portion of the plan.

In your help-wanted advertising, stress this plan. In interviews, talk about this plan in depth. You mention a wage number and that ends this part of an interview. Continue the discussion on the health plan, going as deeply as you can.

Clients often ask me about having a two-tier plan, with a better plan for the owners and higher-ups in the company compared to the regular plan for the rest of the team. I have strongly advised not to do this. It will get out and that “some” people are better than others, and the other people will be upset. Believe me, it always gets out and you will have a tough morale issue with this. If you want to do better with a few people, that is fine … do it in wages and not benefits.

High medical costs will bankrupt a normal family, leaving you with an employee who has to work two jobs which will only hurt you. Don’t say it can’t happen. My wife Elaine and I are happy, normal people, who ran into some health issues last year and our medical bills were north of $500,000. We have good insurance. This kind of year can happen to anyone. Do you want to see an employee go through tough times? Will their mind be on work or dodging bill collectors?

To repeat, good health insurance will get you good employees. Bad health insurance will get you employees who are looking to join a company with good insurance.