With today’s competitive employment market, employee perks, proper benefits, and work-life balance have become a major priority to the current workforce. For small business owners understanding what policies are best for attracting and retaining talent has never been more important. Jessica Moser, Senior Vice President of Small Business Solutions at MetLife joins us today to talk about this and what to look for when choosing the right benefits’ provider.
For more information please visit www.metlife.com/business-and-brokers/small-business/
Jim Fitzpatrick: Thanks very much for joining us, Jessica.
Jessica Moser: Well thank you so much for having me.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Great, so tell us about MetLife’s small business division and how it is that you help your clients.
Jessica Moser: Sure, well MetLife overall really provides solutions and guidance to help our customers reach their goals, to navigate the challenges that any business has. In the U.S. we focus really on employee benefits, we’re actually the number one provider of workplace benefits, and in the small business division, we consider small businesses anything less than 100 employees. We’re in a position to help them by providing access to employee benefits like life insurance, dental, other types of insurance that really are considered ancillary surrounding the health insurance.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, sounds like you’re probably a very busy woman these days with so many startups and business rockin’ and rollin’ out there.
Jessica Moser: Yeah, this has been … I mean small business are the engine of our economy. I get to spend a lot of time with a lot of great business owners, we got 40,000 customers so there’s always something goin’ on and there’s definitely been a lot of activity certainly this year than in the past years.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow, 40,000 customers. What are essential benefits a small business owner needs to have in place for their employees?
Jessica Moser: Essential is really … That is a personal decision. I can’t speak to the health insurance ’cause we’re not in that business. The surveys that we’ve done, the research that we’ve done show that the most desired benefits are life insurance, dental, disability and vision. But really it’s … There’s an opportunity if you understand the kinds of benefits that you wanna provide to really make it a differentiator. So it’s not necessarily a should as much as a tool to help really figure out how to recruit and retain those employees because when you’re offering those benefits, you are really showing your employees that you value them and you wanna show them that you understand what their needs could be, really the number one “benefit” is the ability to be flexible, the idea of flex time, which isn’t something that actually costs anything if you can figure out how to do that for your employees as a small business owner.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. Among other things is free snacks and beverages, right?
Jessica Moser: There’s a … Yeah.
Jim Fitzpatrick: We see a lot of small businesses having to provide free snacks and candy for their employees. Do you see that to be the case out there?
Jessica Moser: Yeah, I mean I think that’s definitely what you’re seeing on TV, but it’s really the ability to find out what is it … What matters to your employees, whether that’s maybe figuring out a cause that you can help them volunteer together for or even access to something like a legal plan, so it’s what matters to them.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, and all of these things really matter to today’s small business owner that’s got under 100 employees because they need to compete for that much needed talent because they’re up against companies like Google and Facebook and maybe some other bigger companies-
Jessica Moser: Absolutely.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That are in a particular market such as Atlanta. We’re up against Home Depot and Coca-Cola and so many big companies that provide phenomenal benefits to their associates, and as a small business owner myself here in Atlanta, it’s tough to get … To attract that talent and keep that talent when you’re up against competition like that, right?
Jessica Moser: So I would say two things there. First of all, it’s … You’re totally right, and I think that’s a lot of people think, ‘Wow, this is tough to go up against all of those large companies,’ but there’s been a recent study, I think it was Zip Recruiter that showed 64% of people who are looking for jobs would prefer to work for a smaller business because they have-
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s good news.
Jessica Moser: Yeah, its great news. They have access to leadership easily, they can see the impact of their work, and they appreciate that family feel. So as a small business owner, you wanna definitely highlight that because that’s actually something that allows you to compete in a way that provides an advantage. Then the second thing that I would say about benefits is this idea of providing a very robust package isn’t just for the large companies because you can put together a voluntary benefits package that allows the employee even in a small business to customize almost to what they need that doesn’t actually cost the employer anything, so you’re providing your employees access to benefits that they couldn’t get on their own, potentially at a cheaper price and it doesn’t cost you as the employer anything additional except providing that access.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s great, and you’re still able to say to a recruit that you provide all of these options.
Jessica Moser: Correct.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Don’t necessarily have to pay for them in all the cases, but at least they’ve got a menu of things to choose from.
Jessica Moser: That they couldn’t get it if they weren’t working for you.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right. So small business owners that are watching right now, 64% would rather work for you than for some of the other big companies here in Atlanta, so thank you for that stat. I’m gonna be using that this week, that’s for sure. That’s great news. So let me ask you this, what should you look for, what should small business owners look for when choosing a provider for plans?
Jessica Moser: Sure, so the vast majority of small business owners when they’re looking for insurance use brokers, and I think that’s fantastic because brokers are really the experts in that field. They can provide their perspective on what a carrier should be able to give you as the owner.
Jessica Moser: I would say there’s probably a few things you wanna look for, exceptional service. As a small business owner, you wanna be able to spend your time on your business and not worrying about problems. You should find out what’s the satisfaction percentage of your … Of the carrier, so MetLife has a 97% satisfaction index, so that’s good. Convenience certainly if you’re looking for more than one product, it would be great if it came from just the one carrier so you didn’t have to do that extra administration. Value, it’s always about cost, but it can’t only be about cost, it has to be about what you’re getting for that dollar and that can actually be more difficult to uncover when it comes to insurance ’cause it could be complex, so you wanna leverage your broker on that. Then I’d say specialization, you want a company that understands how a small business works, do they have dedicated people on a small business specialization as opposed to being lumped in with everyone else.
Jim Fitzpatrick: I would add to that probably a familiar brand that your new employees or that your employees are familiar and comfortable with, right? If I tell them that I’m with Acme Insurance Company with all of our benefits, it’s not quite the same as if I say we’re with MetLife ’cause that’s a name that they’re comfortable with and they know will be there in the long hall, right?
Jessica Moser: Absolutely, absolutely. We’ve been in business for 150 years, and we’re already planning for the next 150, so I agree with you 100%.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So I understand MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce jointly produce a quarterly business index. What can you tell us about the health of small businesses in this region?
Jessica Moser: Yeah, so we partner with the Chamber of Commerce to produce a quarterly index, really on the state of small businesses. 70% in our last quarterly index almost just about 70% feel optimistic. Here in the south, that’s even more true, they’re more likely to say the economy is very good than the other parts of the country, and they’re also more likely to being to … Planning to increase investment in their small business than other parts of the country, so I would say that we’re lookin’ pretty good here in the south. That’s … We’re really encouraged to see that in the index.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, that’s phenomenal. Atlanta is certainly a great place to open up a business, and to bring people in to recruit for your business and there’s just a plethora of just phenomenal support here in Georgia and specifically the Atlanta market, so it’s a great time to be in business overall and Atlanta is obviously a great city to be in.
Jessica Moser: Absolutely.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So Jessica Moser, Senior Vice President of Small Business Solutions at MetLife. You hold the key and solutions to number of the people that are watching right now. So if you’re out there, you’re watching this broadcast and you’d like to offer sound financial, or I should say sound benefits to your employees, give Jessica a call, she’d love to hear from you. I’m sure she can help you put that together, so thanks so much, Jessica.
Jessica Moser: Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, take care.