Even the most expertly run business will experience an occasional cash flow or sales slump, and when they do, it may come time to make tough decisions for the financial health of the company. When benefits are on the chopping block, many business owners are grasping for ways to cut costs without compromising employee relations. If you’ve hit the proverbial wall, give these actions a try.
Reconsider Healthcare Providers
Especially for small companies, it can be difficult to maintain healthcare benefits for employees without taking important funding away from an operational portion of the enterprise. However, many of your employees rely on your company to provide affordable health care options and you don’t want to drive away talent because you had to cut benefits. If you’re having trouble making your premiums, perhaps it is time to renegotiate them. Remember, insurance companies enjoy your business, so you may be able to cut costs in exchange for a continued contract.
Consider Using a Broker
In many cases, it is advantageous for company owners to hire a health insurance broker to help negotiate the deal. While your experience in the business realm may have help you develop your negotiation skills, a broker has the added advantage of an intimate knowledge of the healthcare system. Brokers know exactly what kinds of deductions and policies you will qualify for and they can help you pinpoint the plan that will work best for all your employees. Additionally, they may also have established professional networks that can get you access to specialized deals not available on those online quote generators.
Cut Hours Instead of Benefits
If you are seeking a different alternative to cut costs without compromising employee relations, consider cutting hours instead of your employees’ benefits. You can eliminate overtime or weekend hours and ask workers to stop working strictly at 5pm. In many cases, your employees would rather loose hours than their benefits. Why? It’s possible many of your employees provide health insurance for their families, so they would rather ensure coverage for their loved ones. Furthermore, your employees may require regular medical assistance for existing ailments that would be expensive without coverage.
Rework Retirement Benefit Fees
Retirement is generally less at the forefront of your employees’ concerns relative to their healthcare. Unfortunately, providing retirement benefits for your employees can be incredibly costly, especially if you match their contributions or have plans that are older than 4 years. However just like with your healthcare carrier, you can speak with your account manager and negotiate for a decrease in fees. In this manner, you can cut costs without compromising employee relations, because the decrease in fee doesn’t affect their bottom lines even though it improves the company’s financial health.
Make Little-Used Add-Ons Voluntary
Can you think of a benefit or multiple benefits that only a handful of your employees use consistently? Target those add-ons and instead of making them a standard part of your benefit package, make them voluntary. Your employees can still get the benefit of a discounted rate, but you can eliminate the financial strain of paying for a program that isn’t fully utilized. Think of how you would approach your inventory. You don’t keep products in stock if your clients rarely use them. Instead, you probably wait for an order for the product and distribute it as needed so you can cut costs without compromising customer relations. Take a similar approach to your benefit program and you’ll find you can cut costs without compromising employee relations.
Speak With Your Employees
If you’ve taken all the steps possible to cut expenses without sacrificing benefits for your professionals and you’re still worried about a negative response, speak with your employees. Professionals prefer their supervisors to be transparent, because it gives them a clear idea of what to expect in the workplace. If you’ve created a quality company environment, many of your most talented and dedicated professionals will gladly agree to whether the cash flow storm with you. Keep your staff informed and as much as possible involve them in the process. Remind your professionals that you value their efforts and exhaust all possible cost cutting avenues before touching benefits. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to get employees involved in the brainstorming process. Even if it comes to cutting important and frequently used benefits, keep your employees informed and stay in touch with the company morale. With enough creativity and innovation, you can figure out a way to cut costs without compromising employee relations.