As a leader, your team will never be as passionate as you. The intensity of small business and all-hands-on-deck isn’t for everyone. Yet, you can hold a standard of excellence while taking care of your team. The administration of employee benefits is not exclusive to HR departments. Let’s discuss what you can do.
Communicating Employee Benefits
Are employees aware of the benefits? Setting clear expectations at every point of the employee experience is critical. This includes recruiting, hiring, onboarding process, and throughout their tenure. Include benefits and the expected schedule in the job description, reiterate it in the interview, and have them sign off on it. Use clear communication upfront and frequent reminders. People forget.
In a conversation with a peer, I learned about an employee who missed earned vacation days after multiple years of employment. The employee spoke with management who said there was nothing they could do. Imagine what the employee might feel. They’ve been loyal for years. But because of oversight, they missed out on vacation days. What other benefits are they missing out on?
We often share special offers or promotions with friends and family. We take care of each other because they’re important to us. As leaders, we must do the same thing for our team members. How many vacation days is each team member eligible for? What benefits are available for them to use and how do they take advantage of them?
Larger companies offer an Employee Assistance Program in addition to benefits. It provides additional resources for employees. As a small business, you may not have a formal EAP, but you can create your own resource for team members to access. To create an employee resource for your business, click the button below.
5 Tips to Take Care of your Team
1. Create well-defined policies
In the policies include different scenarios. For example, paid time off (PTO) should be very clear as to how much and when it can be used. Note if there is limited availability during peak season. “The schedule allows for X team members to have Christmas Eve off. Those who don’t get off for Christmas Eve will have New Year’s Eve off.” Spreading it out allows each employee time off while still remaining staffed and able to meet business demands.
2. Email employees their eligible vacation days
Email each employee the exact number of vacation days available in January of each year. This may vary depending on whether you allow days to be accrued and roll-over. Ideally, have them schedule 75% of their time at the beginning of the year. This allows you to also better plan for staffing. Especially during holidays and peak seasons of business.
✏ NOTE: Time-off doesn’t negate paying for overtime. When you work 40 regular hours in a week anything exceeding 40 hours is considered overtime. Check your state labor laws for details.
3. Schedule a bi-annual benefits meeting
Send a memo prior to the meeting to remind your team of the benefits available. Use the meeting to address any questions they have collectively. This is important because a) it helps address nuances and b) to help those who don’t know what to ask. For questions, you’re not able to answer have an HR coordinator available (teleconference) or follow-up with a resource after the meeting.
4. Add a reminder to your calendar for October 1st
Check vacation balances and send reminders to your team members as needed. This is helpful for the holiday schedule.
Employees and customers understand holiday hours are different. The key is to be upfront with both parties about changes in availability. Let them both know what to expect so everyone can plan accordingly. The uncertainty is what creates stress. It’s your job to reduce it.
5. Respect your team’s off-hours
Work is either prescheduled as a late shift or overtime. Passive-aggressive requests to stay late are not acceptable. It’s an abuse of your role and reflects a lack of preparation.
Don’t expect your team to reply after hours. Being on call 24/7 leads to burn out. If you need 24/7 staffing (tech support, customer service, social media), create shifts. Burnt out employees lead to poor performance, reduces productivity, stunts innovation, and hinders morale. There will always be emails and work to do. Everyone needs time to recharge in order to be their best at work.
Creating clear employee benefits and communicating them shows you care for your team. It is one of the best investments you can make for your business.
Every time we hire someone new, it costs money and time to train them. Invest in your existing employees. When you take care of your team, they work better, the relationships with customers are better, and the business excels!
What steps do you take to make sure your team understands their employee benefits?