20 Simple and Inexpensive Things You Can Do to Improve Your Firm’s Employee Benefit Plan
There are likely plenty of easy ways to make your employee benefit plan dollars go further:
- Host an occasional, informal and voluntary on-site meeting where employees can ask an independent adviser questions about their benefits.
- Host occasional, informal and voluntary on-site educational programs so employees understand the link between benefit plans, taxes and their overall financial success.
- Use default enrollment choices so that employees can either opt out or opt to other less popular choices.
- Limit 401(k) investment choices to a handful to boost employee satisfaction and participation but make one of the options “self-directed brokerage account”).
- Budget business cash flow on overall employee benefit cost but let your employees choose how to divide that amount to get to their own maximum value.
- Send a reminder to employees’ spouses about where they can get benefit plan information.
- Make sure all benefit plans are in writing.
- Make sure benefits plan documents are up to date.
- Make benefit plan documents available online to employees.
- Make sure employee have direct easy access to unconflicted tax and financial advisers. Cell phone and text access is essential today.
- Give employees the option of taking employer bonuses into tax-qualified benefit plans.
- Add a salary deducted “Accountable Business Expense Reimbursement Plan”.
- Add a “Health Reimbursement Arrangement”.
- Make sure you have compared all available health plans in your area and make sure the company doing the comparative analysis isn’t selling the health plans.
- Use a vesting schedule to improve employee retention.
- If the company doesn’t have a matching contribution, add one even at a small amount.
- Add a student loan feature to your 401(k).
- Listen to employees and unconflicted advisers about new benefit to make available.
- Make sure your front line people, HR and payroll staff have easy access to professional benefits advice when the need answers.
- Independently review payroll setup periodically to make sure taxes are handled properly on employee benefits, get the maximum tax benefit and avoid surprises later.
Most of these benefit plan improvements can be added quickly and at minimal cost. However, a smart first step is a ‘high level’ review of your firms goals and strategies as they pertain to employee benefits. Taking a shared management by objective approach pays big dividends here. I am pleased to plan this type of initial discussion and plan review.