In general, the menagerie benefits offered to full-time employees is well known. If a company is able, they usually offer a combination of health, vision, dental, and maybe a 401(k) plan in exchange for 40 hours of work per week.
But in auto repair, full-time employment may not be the norm. Part-time work is a great way for shops to give young workers a head start, keep employee schedules flexible, and manage costs. But in an increasingly competitive hiring environment, employers might want to add a little incentive to part-timers, something more for their time.
And while traditional health care benefits are still sought after, they are no longer as common as they once were. Penny Yountz, HR business partner for Employer’s Advantage, says online health marketplaces and subsidized plans have helped all kinds of employees get competitive plans.
“Now they have a method available to get coverage on their own and not need that employee coverage,” Yountz says. “It really gave a lot of small employers the opportunity that it wasn’t the greatest need.”
If operators are not yet ready to offer health benefits to their part-time employees, there are more creative options for employee benefits.
Start an egg nest
Part-time workers, especially younger ones, are serious about saving for the future. Yountz says a little help from employers in this area could be a great way to supplement employee support.
“That’s what a lot of people are looking for right now,” Yountz says. “It’s putting money aside for the future. And the younger generation is really looking for that.
It could be a 401(k) or IRA setup, and the message to the employee is that your company wants to help them set up financial security for the future.
Yountz says 40% of high school graduates are looking for positions that offer opportunities for growth, whether related to their income or their job title. For relatively small stores with little movement between technical positions, this could be difficult to offer. But a savings plan helps build that growth mindset into compensation.
Additionally, employers have the option to sweeten the pot and contribute to one of these schemes.
“It’s not such a big investment that it would contribute to a traditional medical diet,” Yountz says.
Health Reimbursement Arrangement
The health reimbursement arrangement is an account that is paid by an employer, and the employee can use this money for qualified health-related activities. The advantage of signing up for an HRA instead of a basic health care allowance is that the money is tax-free, and in some cases the money can be carried over from year to year.
“Some do it on an after-tax basis,” Yountz says. “But if you want to do it, you might as well do it right.”
According to the federal government, many types of HRAs require the employee to be enrolled in a health care plan before obtaining the HRA. However, they may be able to use HRA money for a health care premium.
Check Supplier Benefits
When investing in various employee benefit programs, check to see if the provider offers additional business benefits. Yountz says that, for example, the company that handles corporate retirement accounts might have a financial education seminar program that might visit your store.
These types of sessions could offer valuable insights that some employees might not get elsewhere.
“Like helping employees understand why it’s important for them to have a will,” Yountz says. “And put money aside in case something happens to them.”
Companies also offer sessions on buying or renting a home. For car enthusiasts, buying and maintaining vehicles could be another session topic. These added benefits might help you decide which provider to use.
Employee Assistance Programs
The employee assistance program, or EAP, could offer a number of different services to employees. These services typically focus on employee well-being and may include counseling, crisis intervention, addictions, elder care, and more.
Yountz says employees are encouraged by employers who work to promote better mental health among the workforce.
“Another key topic right now from an HR perspective is burnout and mental health awareness,” she says.
EAPs are structured in different ways. Some are created by an employer, others are bundled and sold as a package by a third party. For many employers, the cost can be surprisingly affordable for impactful services.
“Most EAPs I know of cost between $2 and $4 a month as an investment an employer makes,” Yountz says.
There are newer providers that offer a bunch of smaller benefits. One such provider, which Yountz is familiar with, is set up so that an employer can award “points” to employees. The employee can then redeem these points for a number of everyday uses, such as a streaming subscription, to help pay for food or grocery delivery, or a number of other things.
“With the points, we go in line and select what we want,” Yountz explains. “If I’m a Netflix person, I can use it to pay for my Netflix subscription. If I’m a foodie, I can pay for certain food boxes or a coffee of the month club.
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Yountz recalls a company that said it was spending to deliver a whole bunch of benefits, but had low uptake. It took some time for the company to realize that the benefits did not apply to the age group of employees.
Companies provide benefits for their employees to enjoy. Yountz suggests a quick survey to find out what matters most to your people.
“Give employees a voice,” she says. “If you’ve never done this before, start by looking at some benefits options, saying, ‘We want to know what’s important to you. “”
Different perks can benefit different age groups, people who live in different regions, or even employees at different times of the year. Much like the nature of part-time employment, business owners can be nimble with their benefits choices to adapt to changing times. For example, if someone in your small business recently adopted a noisy dog, maybe a dog allowance would benefit your operation. Employees will notice the effort.
“There are a lot of different things you can do to increase retention,” Yountz says.