How Benefits Can Help You Attract And Retain Employees With Jennifer Perera
Some employees find a hard time choosing the right employer for them because of a variety of factors. Some choose to leave their current employment and pursue another career path. Why do they do this and how do business owners adjust to this ongoing dilemma? Join Andrea Hoffer and her guest as they delve into the different carriers that you can provide for your employees and what job seekers look for in a workplace. The CEO of Our Benefits Coach, Jennifer Perera provides us with options on how to meet the needs of employees that would also be very beneficial for employers. Listen to them talk about work compensation, benefits packages and how you could create a culture that would make a positive impact in your organization.
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How Benefits Can Help You Attract And Retain Employees With Jennifer Perera
The talent market has made it more and more difficult for employers and business owners to attract and retain even the best team members. Employers are looking for support in the area of recruitment wherever they can find it. One area that recruiters are recommending to employers to take a hard look at is what they are offering. What’s in it for the job seeker? That’s what the job seeker often wants to know. We are going to discuss how offering benefits can help you attract and retain employees. One study that was done by Glassdoor, the employment confidence survey, found that about 60% of people report that benefits and perks are a major factor in considering, whether to accept a job offer. We are seeing that in our recruitment firm as well. The survey also found that 80% of employees chose additional benefits over a higher pay rate, which is interesting to think about.
You may think that because you are a small to midsize business and maybe you can’t compete and offer a benefit that will rival some of the bigger companies, our guest is going to share with us different strategies, even small businesses and people with their first couple employees can use to offer benefits that employees want. Before I bring her on, I do want to start by telling you a little bit about this amazing woman. Coach Jen is the CEO of Our Benefits Coach. In not so many words, that means she helps you create an attractive benefits package strategy and then walks you through every step of implementing it into your compensation plan. She empowers you to make decisions that protect your employees and your company’s bank account.
Our Benefits Coach is the only employee benefits agency that has a full enrollment team dedicated to helping communicate and educate your employees and all that you do for them. You can rely on Our Benefits Coach to provide a holistic perspective to employee benefits, identify creative benefit solutions to work for your unique business, and help your employees value and appreciate all that you do for them. Coach Jen loves to strategize and find the best possible solutions for her clients. Originally from Los Angeles, she relocated to San Diego in January 2012, where she began building her insurance agency.
In her spare time, she loves traveling, spending time with family and friends, cooking, baking and all types of fitness. She is a black belt Kenpo Karate, has run a few half marathons, the Camp Pendleton Mud Run and the 2013 LA Full Marathon. She has a passion for mentoring teenage girls and women’s self-defense. She has done so in volunteering her time as a cheerleading coach, a youth leader in her church, coach for Girls on the Run San Diego, and has also developed safety programs and assemblies for school districts, her church and company clients. She loves life and lives every day for new and exciting experiences.
Please welcome, Coach Jen. Thank you so much, Coach Jen, for being here with us.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m very excited to be here.
I would love to start by hearing a little bit more about the reason that people call you Coach Jen and how that relates to benefits?
I started coaching cheerleading many years ago and Coach Jen was my name for years. It was my license plate and all of that. When I started working on my business name, I was coming up with something a little fancier and eloquent but when I came across Our Benefits Coach, it just fit. I could keep my Coach Jen name and then that’s exactly what I do. I help companies design and create benefits plans, and then I help coach them through the implementation. I’m a guide and coach, not just an insurance salesperson. I help coach and when the employees have questions and figure out something, they need someone else to also coach them through what is the best decision for them. It takes my past with my present, all the same, and that is my favorite name second to mom.
I especially like that you brought up the coaching of the employees as well because as an employer, sometimes I offer benefits and there are all these options for my team but I don’t know how to explain it to them and I don’t know how to guide them. Now that we are using you, I am excited that they will have somebody to help them with that.Create benefits for employees that would be best for them based on different aspects. Click To Tweet
They like the one-to-one where they can ask their questions and that’s why you do your part, I do my part and you don’t have to learn another business.
Some of our employers in our audience may be thinking they are too small and starting with their first or maybe second employee, and they are not sure that there are options for them to offer to their team. Could you share some of the benefits that you are seeing the job seekers looking for and how some small businesses can meet those needs?
In 2021, I helped numerous clients who were making their first hire and through that process, benefits are very important. The reality is even with one employee, there are benefits that you can offer. There are extremely affordable ones that start about $25 a month. On the supplemental side, there are plans that you can offer, and truth be told, health insurance is seen as the big one. Depending on your employee, especially when you are small, sometimes health insurance is not the first one to start with because they already have it at an extremely affordable price and/or they are on their spouse’s.
We look at what your company and employee have, especially your first one. Your first new hire or second, you are creating what’s for them because they are your only employee but then you look at that on a scaling basis. Even down to one employee, there are benefits that you could offer. They are extremely affordable and again, we will look at what your goals are, what your employee needs and how we can best fit that also is kind to the budget.
I did notice with my business, very few of my team members wanted health insurance because they had it in other ways. I love that you offer other options and that you help employers find that. Job seekers and employees often have different needs. They have different benefits that they are looking for and different things that would help them in life. How do you suggest an employer goes about finding out from their team or potential employees? What benefits would attract them? What do they need?
In a lot of our surveys that we have done, generally, the first one that we have surveyed, second to health insurance, is dental. Dental is the most requested benefit, and then life and disability. Those are the three ones that people and job seekers look for through the workplace. It’s the education of who your broker or insurance agency brokerage works with but there are a lot of different carriers and plans that have a menu of benefits that you can provide and that is the case.
It is the fact that all employees are looking for something different to fit their needs, whether they are single, married, have kids, if they are older or younger, they have different priorities and thought processes, things that are important and not important. When you offer a menu of benefits, you have options. Options are important. You can offer a budget like, “Here’s this. Spend it on what you want to spend it on.” Employees really do appreciate that. I think it’s asking questions of the health broker, what can we do? What options do we have? It takes them seeking out depending on the size of your company but definitely, you want to look into all options.
The broker can set some system up so it’s easy for employees to choose from a menu of options or does it get a little complicated when you are offering several different benefits?
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Generally, you would stick to one carrier. One carrier I work with has all of these benefits in place and doesn’t have minimum participation size, company size and employer contribution. It’s something that the employer could offer at no cost. This is where your broker plays a big role in this. If they don’t bring this to you, then how do you know about it? It’s making sure that the broker is doing their job and that they are looking at this because there are lots of different companies out there but they will tell you that you need a minimum of five employees, you have to pay for it or you need three to enroll in a specific product. This is where your broker is going to have that. You are going to ask them, what else can we do? What can we have? They will have to search that out for you.
What would you tell an employer the top three things that they need to consider when implementing a benefits program?
Cost Versus Reward
I would say number one is probably cost versus the reward. We were talking with a client who wanted to bring on health insurance. As you were saying, not all of them want health insurance where the employee was getting coverage. It would cost the employee eat more money and the employer errs more money to bring that on. That’s not a win-win. They are providing something but it’s disgruntled. If someone offers something, and then they give a minimum benefit amount so you are hurting what you are going for, you are wanting to provide it but it’s more of a disgruntled thing rather than not having at all. I would say cost versus reward. What does it cost you and what are you gaining on it? That is number one.
Number two is options. Options because employees have different needs. It’s funny because, in California, there’s a carrier Kaiser. Kaiser is like a love-hate relationship. People will come to a company or leave a company because of the insurance so making sure that you have different options. Believe it or not, even in small companies, you do have options.
The third thing I would say is strategy. Are you growing and attracting employees? Do you have the team in place and you want to retain them?
Those are two different strategies. Growing and attracting is more the options route. Retaining and keeping them employees happy, you go deep and wide. If you are giving a 50% contribution, can we move it up to 60% or 70%? If you are paying for the employee, can you now give 25% to a dependent? Once you have your team in place, you want to go deep and wide. With the attraction and the growth, you want to be able to have options. I would say the top three are cost versus reward, strategy and options.
It never even occurred to me for retention to go deep and wide. That’s very interesting. You can offer different benefits to people based on how long they have been with you. You can increase that level.
It’s not always. There are classes but a lot of carriers are getting out of classifications. There are ways to workers’ compensation and benefits packages, and most of the time, when a company has their team in place, they are not on a hiring spree. They are like, “We have our team. I want to keep my team.” Instead of increasing a wage at reviewing time, you say, “Instead of that, we are going to contribute 5% more to your benefits, etc.” You can do it that way.It’s not enough to say that you care for your employees. You could always show it by creating benefits packages for them. Click To Tweet
We are expecting and starting to see much higher turnover as we go further. I was looking at HR Magazine and I wanted to share that the cover says The Turnover Tsunami, How to Prepare for the Surge of Employees Expected to Leave for New Jobs, which is a very important topic. I love that you started to talk about ways to use benefits for retention. Let’s shift and you said it’s a little bit different approach in attracting new employees. What are some of the things you could share with us and how to use your benefits program to attract new hires?
Again, options are a huge part of attracting employees. Another thing and I have experienced now are a lot of employees are doing their homework when they are interviewing. It is an employee market for sure. Employees have options. My clients, business owners and HR managers were like, “Can you reach out to this new hire, explain our benefits and share this package with them?” That is their deciding factor on their decision. I think it’s important to have that role. With the health broker, the ones who want with the employees, that’s very important. I think options, on a full benefits scale, are very important that they get to pick that.
Another thing I would say, as far as that goes, is having a disability product. There are only five states in the United States that have a state disability, which are California, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Hawaii. The other 45 states do not have a state disability so when you can provide that, not only does it protect their paycheck but for ladies who want to have babies, there’s also maternity benefit on there. Again, by getting the right package in place, you can provide a maternity benefit to the women by offering these plans. If that was something that they wanted, you can say, “These are the options we have. If any of these are concerns, then we have solutions and options for you.” They appreciate that.
I would think that they would because we are all so different and we all have different needs. I would love this idea of offering options. Say you are at the beginning stage, about to hire your first hire and very interested in them. I have had clients often ask me, “I might as well ask them what they want in benefits.” Do you think that’s a good thing to do?
Yes. I’m hoping to hear about this because they hired their employee. I was working with a potential new client who is making their actual second hire. Their first hire already has their person but this one is bringing it on and we are building it into the compensation package. This particular role was a base salary plus commission and their base salary was a $10,000 range. They were going to do that, but then the employee says, “What about insurance and what about this?” I said, “You already had a range in your mind. What if you do the lower range? You make the base salary, and then you pay up to that $10,000 so you are paying the same amount.
What is beneficial to you and the client is when you are paying only payroll taxes on the lower amount, same for the employee, they are not paying on the higher amount. Second, it’s also a tax write-off for the company. You are spending the same amount of dollars as far as your mind goes but you are saving more dollars because now you are getting tax write-offs and not paying payroll taxes on the higher amount. They are specifically designing this plan from the employee’s needs and that is important, especially in one, the employment market we are in, and two, when you are getting to your first hires. When you are getting into your first hires, those are very important. Once you’ve got something established, then you have something established either you are on the bus or you are off the bus type of thing. It also goes to the culture that you create.
The other thing about benefits we were talking about cost versus reward is also showing that you care about employees. If their plan costs $800 a month and you are giving them $200, they are like, “This doesn’t feel very good.” Although you care about your employees, it doesn’t say that. When you do something like this and you create it, it says that you care about your employees. We are going to create this. This is what we can do. Here’s how we are able and it’s a little back and forth. I think that is very important as well.
Benefits are not about adding health insurance anymore. There are so many other things that you can do and customize it to what your employees may want or need and also how it could work with your business. This is great. We have learned so much, Jen. Is there anything else that you want to share or touch on before we start to wrap up?
I would say utilize your health broker. If you’ve already got a benefit something in place, utilize them. That’s what they are designed to do, rely on them, especially in a small company. I like to say I make small companies feel big and big companies feel small. We give small companies all the technology needs that they need and get the one-to-ones but in the big companies, they already have the technology but we still get them the one-to-ones. It also helps legitimize your company, especially in a small business.
As small business owners, we become the parents. Other people become their friend’s mom. When we talk, all our employees here are like, “Blah, blah, blah,” but then they talk to somebody else and it’s like, “You should do this. I have been telling you this.” When you can utilize your broker, the broker becomes the friend’s mom or the friend’s dad and so the employees take to it. It’s separate, they are not telling the HR manager or the business owner all their personal situations. They can say, “Here’s my health situation, family situation, budget information and be able to create something that is best for them.” I would say utilize the broker that you have in place.
Coach Jen, thank you so much for joining us. If somebody wanted to reach out to you to find out more about your services, how would they contact you?
I highly recommend Coach Jen. Thank you, everybody, for joining us. Please stay safe, happy and have a great day.
- Glassdoor – Employment Confidence Survey
- Our Benefits Coach
- The Turnover Tsunami, How to Prepare for the Surge of Employees Expected to Leave for New Jobs – HR Magazine
About Jennifer Perera
Jennifer “Coach Jen” is the CEO of Our Benefits Coach. In not so many words, that means she helps you create an attractive benefits package strategy and then walks you through every step of implementing it into your compensation plan. She empowers you to make decisions that protect your employees and your company’s bank account!
Our Benefits Coach is the only employee benefits agency that has a full enrollment team dedicated to helping communicate and educate your employees on all that you do for them. You can rely on Our Benefits Coach to:
· Provide a holistic perspective to employee benefits
· Identify creative benefit solutions that work for your unique business
· Help your employees value and appreciate all that you do for them.
Coach Jen loves to strategize, and find the best possible solution for her clients. Originally from Los Angeles, she relocated to San Diego in January 2012, where she began building her insurance agency. In her spare time, she loves traveling, spending time with her family & friends, cooking & baking, and all types of fitness.
She is a Black Belt in Kenpo Karate, has run a few half marathons, the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, and the 2013 LA Full Marathon. She has a passion for mentoring teenage girls and women’s self-defense. She has done so in volunteering her time as a cheerleading coach, a youth leader in her church, a coach for Girls on the Run San Diego, and developed safety programs, assemblies for school districts, her church, and company clients. She loves life and lives every day for new and exciting experiences.