The pandemic has imparted many modern survival lessons to just about every type of business, including self-storage. The industry is still ripe with opportunity, but for an operation to succeed, it needs the right employees. And to win top talent, you need to offer a competitive benefits package.
While it might seem like the current unemployment rate will make hiring easy, you’ll likely discover that desperation for a paycheck is outweighed by the need for affordable healthcare. Now more than ever, people understand the importance of having good benefits. At the end of 2020, online job board Indeed surveyed 1,000 U.S. employment seekers to learn more about their motivations. The poll found that health insurance and other company perks became more important last year, with 35% of respondents saying they’d switch jobs for a better compensation package.
However, offering health benefits isn’t always affordable for a self-storage operation. Nor is it easy to implement and manage a program. If you’re a small to mid-sized company, a professional employer organization (PEO) can help you provide competitive healthcare or inexpensive, voluntary ancillary benefits.
What Is a PEO?
A PEO is an outsourced solution for human resources (HR), payroll, benefits, compliance, and risk and safety. When you enter a relationship with a PEO, you share employee-related responsibilities and liabilities, but you retain complete ownership of your organization.
Smaller businesses that outsource their back-office to a PEO are enfolded into its network, which includes other small and mid-size businesses and their worksite employees. In terms of benefits procurement, the result is enhanced buying power akin to that of a Fortune 500 company. Smaller businesses can then offer affordable healthcare and ancillary benefits they’d never be able to access otherwise.
The other big advantage is benefits administration. Not only can a PEO save you money on quality benefits, it can help mitigate year-over-year rate increases and handle all related plan administration. This even includes reporting on the Affordable Care Act to ensure you remain compliant with the law. With little effort on your part, you can offer a competitive benefits package, not to mention retain an entire team of professionals dedicated to helping your self-storage business thrive.
If you want to hire and retain employees who not only have the poise and professionalism to market and operate your self-storage facility but also the grit needed for some of the tougher aspects of the job like rent collections and maintenance, you’ll need to offer comprehensive, affordable benefits. Your business size will play a part in determining the options available to you.
For example, if you have more than five employees interested in employer-sponsored medical coverage, a PEO can likely offer you several plan options from top carriers with competitive life- and health-insurance rates. They’ll vary by region, but the affordable price on top-tier options will be quite an incentive to staff.
If you’re a small self-storage operator with only a few employees, keep in mind that most healthcare plans have minimum participation requirements. A PEO can still work with you to ensure your staff us covered, if that’s their wish. Voluntary, ancillary benefits are especially attractive in this situation and might include:
- Critical illness
- Accident coverage
- Pre-tax flexible spending and health-savings accounts
The process of shopping for the best ancillary benefits can be time-consuming and complicated. Instead researching several carriers and bringing the different pieces together to form a cohesive plan for you and your staff, why not outsource this to a PEO? It can do all the hard work for you, keeping all or most of the functions and benefits you desire in-house and on the same invoice, and then overseeing administration, too.
A PEO is already set up with your self-storage business in mind. It’ll have customizable healthcare offerings that can adapt to your budget, staff needs, location and size. Even if you have few employees, it can shop around for all the services you need and ensure that your time and financial investment is minimal, while your benefits remain enticing and affordable to job candidates.
A Stable Work Environment
In addition to increased salary and health benefits, 76% of respondents to the Indeed job-seeker survey referenced above said that having a secure, stable form of employment would be one of their top priorities this year. While nothing is ever guaranteed, there are ways you can invest in your current and future employees, especially if you outsource your HR, payroll and benefits to a PEO. When choosing a partner, make sure you’ll be able to:
Offer a 401(k) plan. Most PEOs offer retirement-savings plans for an affordable, per-head administration fee, which covers compliance and record-keeping. It’ll also likely charge a nominal administrative asset fee that’s based on the total dollar amount of the plan. Typically, these plans are inexpensive when purchased as part of your PEO service.
Build an employee-wellness program that suits your budget. Some PEOs may have one already in place that can be easily and quickly adapted to your company and employee needs. Most can help you customize a companywide program from scratch, too.
Provide access to an employee-assistance program (EAP). Most PEOs should offer your organization an EAP service at no additional cost to you or your staff. After an unprecedented year of fear and change in 2020, mental wellness and financial fitness are two areas where employees and their families could use some professional insight. Free access to counselors and money-management experts should be highlighted among your available benefits. The peace of mind an EAP can offer is a tremendous selling point after a year of hardship and uncertainty.
Put money back in employees’ pockets with perks and rewards. Many well-established PEOs will offer some sort of perks program that gives you and your employees access to exclusive discounts and cash-back incentives with popular participating vendors. It’s a great way to add value to your benefits package.
In addition to helping you attract and retain an all-star team of professionals, a PEO can help you build an exciting and engaging company culture that further demonstrates your commitment to employee health and wellbeing. Best of all, you’ll have plenty of time and energy available to dream up the next big project for your self-storage business.
Brett Brown is the director of benefits administration for G&A Partners, a professional employer organization that has been helping entrepreneurs in all industries grow their businesses for more than 25 years. To reach him, call 866.497.4222; email [email protected].