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More than half would be likely to accept jobs with slightly lower pay but better benefits

Although 63 percent of employees at small businesses say they are extremely or very satisfied with their job, many think there’s room for improvement when it comes to their benefits packages. Only 12 percent are extremely satisfied with their benefits and only 14 percent believe their benefits package meets their current family needs extremely well, according to a report for small businesses.

In a study, that captured responses from 1,856 benefits decision-makers and 5,209 employees across the U.S. It found that as small businesses (three to 99 employees) adapt to a slowly growing economy and health care reform, they remain concerned about taking care of employees and continuing their benefits options. Among surveyed small businesses:

  • 45 percent hired new full-time workers in 2013, compared to 71 percent of midsized companies and 60 percent of large organizations.
  • 12 percent changed some employee hours from full- to part-time in 2013.
  • 34 percent said they gave employees smaller raises in 2013 than in previous years, while 24 percent said they planned to do the same in 2014 and 18 percent planned to eliminate or delay raises this year.

Job Satisfaction Doesn’t Guarantee Loyalty

Benefits can be the deciding factor in staying with their employer for small-business employees, small-business workers said:

  • 57% of respondents are likely to accept jobs with slightly lower compensation but better benefits.
  • 47% say that improving their benefits packages is one thing their employers could do to keep them in their job.

Small business decision makers should be aware that an important way to keep employees engaged, productive and loyal is through offering robust benefits, including voluntary offerings.  Better benefit offerings elsewhere are still an enticement even if employees at small businesses are satisfied with their pay, enjoy their company environment, their colleagues and the work itself.

A Personalized Approach

Voluntary benefits aren’t the proverbial silver bullet but the power of them has been shown to retain and attract employees.  Simply saying that voluntary benefits are available isn’t enough for employers who are seeking the potential rewards from offering these benefits.  Employees need to be engaged on their terms while they are educated and advised according to their individual context and circumstances.