Determining whether not to it makes sense for your business to offer health care to your employees is a big decision, and by no means a one-size-fits-all decision. Obviously no blog post can make the choice for you, but here are some of the perks of offering health care benefits in the workplace:
- It’s attractive to those looking for a career. When people are looking for a job, pay is often the most important factor. But the best workers — the ones who are looking for a career — want a place that offers them more. Health care is expensive, and when you’re thinking about where you want to stay and build your career, you want to make sure you’ll have what you need to provide for yourself and your family. Yes, pay rate is still important, but without our health, what good is that extra money? When it comes down to it, if another company is offering a similar pay, health insurance can be the difference between you getting that great employee or someone else getting him or her.
- You can lessen the financial worries and stresses of your employees. Even if you can’t cover all costs, providing some help with health costs can really make a difference in the lives of your employees. Things happen — we get sick, we add on to our families, our kids break limbs — and because we have nothing if we don’t have our health, we can’t just save up or wait to take care of ourselves. We won’t get into how broken our health care system is here in the U.S. or how absurd costs are, but it’s important to remember that our health is not a luxury. By providing health insurance to your employees (and their families), you can lessen their financial worries so that, should they ever need to go to the hospital or have emergency surgery, their only concern is getting healthy, not whether or not it can wait or how they’re going to pay for it.
- Healthy workers are more productive. When your health is poor, it’s all-consuming. You can’t think about how to streamline a process or how to do your job better if your head is pounding or you have chronic bronchitis or a serious back injury. But when your health is good, you don’t even think about it. You feel good and you’re freed up to focus on getting work done. By providing health insurance to your employees, you can help them maintain better health and get the treatment and medication they need so they can focus on daily life. And healthier, more content workers have less sick days and are always going to be more productive, period.
- You may be eligible for tax advantages and credits. While the government doesn’t do a lot to benefit small business owners, it does offer some tax advantages and credits to businesses offering health insurance to employees. For example, you can deduct your employees’ health insurance costs (as well as your own insurance costs), and if you have fewer than 25 employees, you may be eligible for an additional tax credit. Head here to learn more.
So should you offer health care to your team? That’s a decision only you can make, but we hope we’ve given you something to think about during the consideration phase.
Being a small business owner takes a lot of quick thinking, but in those hot potato moments, you have to have the vision and foresight to make decisions that are smart for your business in the long-term, not just the short-term. It’s surprising how many small business owners seem to “fall into” owning a business, with no real vision or direction – just the desire to work for themselves. While this is great motivation, it’s only going to get you halfway.
Do you find yourself making reactive decisions without giving much thought to how those decisions will affect the future of your business? If so, ask yourself one question: Are you committed to your business or not?
As a small business owner, assuming you want to be profitable (which you do), you’re already in it for the long-haul. You’re the one driving the machine and chances are, when you stop pulling all the levers and pushing all the buttons, the machine stops and goes nowhere. Since you’re in it for the long-haul, why are you making short-sighted decisions? Think about how you can maximize the profitability and longevity of your business, not just how you can get through today with minimal hassle.
Nip These Short-Sighted Behaviors In The Bud
Here are some ways you may be thinking short-term when you should be thinking long-term:
Sending an email to all customers (without an up-to-date subscription list). Email is still one of the best customer touch methods, but only if you use it sensibly. Do you keep an updated email list or are you sending out emails and campaigns to anyone and everyone you’ve ever collected an email address from? Make sure you’re sending emails to those who do business with you and want to do business with you; otherwise, you may end up being flagged as spam.
While we’re on the topic of email, be thoughtful about email frequency. Sending too many emails is a sure-fire way to frustrate customers and lead them to hit the “Unsubscribe” button –
especially if they never subscribed in the first place, they simply gave you their email address 6 years ago.
Hiring for a quick fix. Hiring can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, and sometimes you need someone to fill the void fast. But rushing a hire or hiring for a quick fix will only hurt you in the long run. When hiring, take your time and think about whether or not the individual is truly a good fit, not just for the job, but for the company and the culture. Hiring right may take more time and thought, but it’s well worth it.
Skimping on training. Regardless of whether you’ve hired a team with or without the experience to get the job done, you absolutely need to invest in training. So many business owners think of training as a time and money suck, but in reality, it’s just the opposite. Putting aside time and resources for staff training will ensure that your team does things the right way the first time, preventing time loss, money loss, and customer loss due to mistakes and waste.
Not taking the time to write out SOPs and develop systems. This one goes hand in hand with training. If you take the time to make SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for tasks that take place within your business, you won’t have to stop everything to walk someone through the process or stop and do it yourself. You’d be amazed at how much time and stress you’ll save yourself by putting these processes and documents into place.
Using cheap or subpar equipment, supplies, and trucks. Running a business takes a lot of money, no doubt, but if you want to save yourself money and stress in the long-run, you’ll invest in quality equipment and supplies. Think about it, if tools are constantly breaking, your techs can’t do the work that’s being asked of them. If your trucks are constantly breaking down, you’re forking over cash for towing services, missing service calls, and disappointing customers. And whether your techs can get to the job or not, you’re paying them for their time. Invest in quality tools and vehicles – your business depends on it!
Being disorganized. If you aren’t organizing your warehouse space and trucks properly, you’re wasting a lot of time both prior to the job and on the job. Take the time to really think about your space and your trucks and organize them in a way that makes sense. Whether that means making grab bags for each type of service you provide, or simply reorganizing the layout of your trucks, it’s well worth the effort. An organized warehouse and an organized truck means less time wasted each day – getting organized may even allow your techs to squeeze in an extra service.
Responding defensively to negative reviews online. It’s natural to be frustrated by negative reviews, but are you responding in a way that helps or hurts your business in the long-run? Many business owners fire back at dissatisfied customers, which not only ruins their chances of turning that customer into a happy customer, but it also discourages potential customers who read that response from working with the company in the future.
When your business receives negative feedback, take a step back and look for anything you can learn and apply. Is there something you need to improve upon as a company? No matter what, whether the complaint is valid or not, respond professionally and take the conversation offline. Responding defensively or attacking the customer will only hurt your business in the long-run.
Stay Focused On Your Goals & Make Choices That Will Get You There
Whether you fell into the business or you intentionally set out to start your own company, taking the time to think of your long-term goals and the steps needed to get you there will maximize your enjoyment as a business owner and your profits. For weekly encouragement and business tips to help keep you focused and thinking long-term on the road to your business dreams, subscribe to the Guys In Trucks podcast!
We’ve all see them: the employees on total auto-pilot. They may be physically present, but mentally, they’re dead to the world. For the guys out in field, there may be no shortage of variety, but it’s a different story where the concrete meets the carpet. What can you do to make sure your team is engaged and not going through the motions like a team of zombies?
Offer A Diverse Workspace
Working in the same place and same position for 8 hours straight can leave you in a stupor, especially if you’re performing a familiar task. One way to combat the autopilot mindset is to offer your employees a diverse workspace. In our office, we use Veridesks, which can be raised and lowered throughout the workday. We each have little pop-up notifications on our computers that let us know when it’s time to sit or stand for a bit. You’d be amazed at what a little shift in posture and a little boost in blood flow can do for your mental and physical well-being!
A little change in scenery can go a long way, too! Some of your employees may need a desk setting to get work done, while others may think of a desk as a creativity-paralyzing prison. Not everyone on your team will work best in the same environment, so why not offer options? At Spark Marketer, there are different workstations for those that can’t stand the thought of being at a desk the entire day. We have a conference room for group projects or trainings; a couch and cozy chair lounge with a lot of natural lighting; and a little café type area for those in need of some peace and quiet. Sometimes just getting up and moving to a different space can give you a fresh mind and a fresh approach to your workday.
Take Time To Meet & Engage Every Day
Are you stimulating and engaging your employees every day? Are you reminding them of how important they are and how impactful their hard work is? Daily meetings are great for this! Simply meeting as a team each day for a few short minutes can help keep your employees from turning into zombies from 9-5 by bringing everyone together and directing everyone’s focus. You can also utilize these meetings to clear up any misunderstandings, patch up any communication breakdowns, and bring problems to light so they can be addressed.
Several of our employees work remotely, but everyone’s a part of our daily 10 o’clock meetings. During these meetings, we each go over what we did the day before and what’s on our plate for the day, with the goal of keeping us focused on our daily tasks and aware of other goings on within the company. Verbalizing these things helps keep us realistic about our daily to-do list and our productivity, and reminds us that each of us plays an important role in serving our customers and keeping our company going. Having a clear focus and a sense of purpose as you start your day will definitely help keep you out of the zombie-zone.
Change Up Tasks
One major reason for zombies in the workplace is that we oftentimes end up doing the same repetitive or familiar tasks, day in and day out. Mindfully structuring your day can help break up monotony and give you the change you need to keep your mind fresh. Even if your employees each have one major task, there are ways to switch things up. For example, as one of the content creators, I primarily write. But when I feel the zombie brain coming on while I’m working on one writing assignment, I can always switch over to another writing or editing task. Taking a little breather allows me to go back to the previous project with a fresh perspective. How can you and your employees switch up or plan your days to prevent burnout and monotony?
Ask Your Employees What They’re Passionate About
It’s hard to be an apathetic zombie when you’re working on something you’re passionate about. Are your employees in roles that allow them to use their passions and strengths? Sometimes simply asking your employees what they enjoy about their jobs and tasks can give you an idea as to whether or not they are in the right positions or should be moved to another. When your employees are in roles that engage them mentally, they’ll be switched on at work instead of shutting down.
Is your workplace filled with zombies? Zombies quickly make more zombies, so act quickly! Breathe some fresh air into your team and watch the productivity and morale skyrocket!
Everyone’s favorite question to ask business owners seems to be: If you left the room, what would your employees say about you? And although it’s a very thought-provoking question, we’d like to take it further. Our challenge is to ask yourself, “What would your employees say about you…if they were drunk?”
It’s easy to keep mum and skirt around honesty when you’re in a professional work setting. But when you’ve thrown back a few shots of truth serum and have liquid courage, the real sentiment is bound to come out. After a couple of drinks, would your employees rave about you or rant about you?
What Could You Learn From A Drunken Employee?
Although we’re sure there are some major legal reasons why you can’t use this exercise for your bi-annual employee reviews, have you given much thought to what you could learn from a drunken employee’s rants or raves?
If there’s one thing drunk people love to do, it’s tell you what they love about you. Wondering what you’re doing right as a business owner? Whether it’s the flexibility and freedom you allow your employees or the way you handle conflict, a drunken employee will let you know what he or she loves, admires, respects, and approves of in your company and your management style. And the more you identify your strengths, the more you can highlight, develop, and protect them.
If there’s anything drunk people love more than telling you what they love about you, it’s telling you what you suck at. Are you driving your employees crazy with your micromanaging? Do you use passive aggressive management techniques or bully your employees into doing what you want them to do? Do your company processes and procedures waste massive amounts of time? Whatever it is that could use improvement in your business, you can bet you’ll hear about it a couple of drinks in.
What Makes Your Employees Tick
All of these things are great and can ultimately help you become a better business owner and manager, and run a better company. But perhaps the most important thing you could learn from a drunken employee is what your employees value and what they’re passionate about.
Listening to what your buzzed employees bring up in their slurred rants or raves would shed some light on what they consider to be important. Not only will this help you identify ways to motivate and reward your employees, but it’ll also let you know what not to skimp on when money’s tight or you decide to do some organizational shifting.
You Shouldn’t Have To Get Your Staff Buzzed!
We’re not suggesting you do a power hour during your next weekly meeting or don a fake mustache and hide out in the corner of your staff’s favorite pub — we just want you to give some thought to your management style, company culture, and company policies, and really consider whether or not they’re benefitting your business and your staff.
If you are a good leader and take the time to really listen to and observe your employees, making effort to get to know them and what their average workday is like, you won’t have to wait until an employee gets out of hand at a holiday party to know what your staff cares about and what you and your business do well or could improve upon. If you care about the success of your company and the happiness of your employees, take the time to inquire, and really hear them out!
Remember, happy employees make productive and loyal employees. And we’ll drink a root beer to that!