Low-Cost Employee Benefits for Your Practice in a Competitive Market
by Sheena Mahan
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
The current labor market has businesses competing for talent, not just for dental practices but for all professions. To be competitive, dental practice owners may have to consider benefits for staff that have not been considered in the past. A well-designed benefits package often means happier employees, which also tends to reduce staff churn and improve the patient experience.
But great benefits should be seen as more than a cost. When you take the time to create great benefits for your employees, it will likely pay dividends in their interactions with your patients. Unsurprisingly, one study found that happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy employees. Happier employees are likely to be more productive, and to have a more positive experience with your patients.
It’s important to assess any potential benefit: What is the cost? What effect will this have on my employees? You can then determine the cost/value ratio of that benefit for your staff.
First, consider your new employees. How are you creating a positive onboarding experience? What kind of training do you provide? When new employees feel they have the tools they need and are set up for success, they are more likely to have a positive attitude about their work and the impact they can make in patient care.
Make sure you are communicating effectively with all of your employees, whether they’ve been with you a few weeks, or a few years. Check in regularly, and ask what they need to do their best.
Another benefit for all employees is the amount of time off provided. Consider “bonus days” in addition to the standard vacation days. This could be a birthday day, anniversary day or even a mental health day (we all need them every now and then!). When your employees are more rested, and the better their work/life balance, the happier they will feel when they are in the office.
Vacation time is considered a “soft cost” since employees will be out of the office and still getting paid for that time. This is a great negotiating tool in the recruitment and hiring process. The upside of offering a robust benefit package that includes both cash and non-cash benefits is that you will have a leg up on the competition for top talent—you’ll be a place people will want to work!
Some employers allow employees the opportunity to purchase vacation time. If you’re considering this option, reach out to an HR professional who can provide additional expertise in this area.
Thinking Outside the Benefits Box
Two unique benefits to consider are student loan reimbursement and pet insurance. These benefits don’t just appeal to the younger generation, all employees may benefit from these options.
Student Loan Assistance
Coming out of school, student loan debt can be daunting and paralyzing. A student reimbursement benefit allows you as the employer to show a vested interest in your employee and also allows the employee to have some relief. There are different ways to set up this sort of program so be sure to speak with your tax advisor and financial planner to determine the best option for you and your staff.
Pets as Family
More and more, you will hear people say their animal is their child. Pet insurance is one way to show that you are listening and care. Another option could be a bereavement day for the loss of a pet, which is another employee benefit that is on the rise.
When you consider the benefits that don’t affect cash flow and that make the most sense for you, your practice and your employees, you will find investing in this area pays dividends for your patients in the long run. And that is invaluable.