Cutting benefits to lure employees?
Hope you had a fun Fourth! Jak and I spent the holiday weekend visiting his sister and her husband in Eugene, Oregon. We watched fireworks from a boat and played laser tag.
My in-laws (I sometimes call them ‘out-laws’, since Jak and I aren’t married) own an auto shop in Eugene. Business is booming, but they’re having a terrible time hiring and keeping skilled employees. In order to become more competitive, Bill and Jacqueline are about to cancel their employee benefits.
“Isn’t that backwards?” I asked, astonished. Not, apparently, when the employees don’t place any value on the benefits. “All they see is the dollar-per-hour amount,” explained Bill. Given a choice between $15 per hour at another shop and $14 per hour plus health insurance worth $3 per hour more … their technicians will take the extra dollar up front.
It’s a painful decision for Bill and JQ, because part of their dream for this business was of creating a better sort of working environment than is typical for blue-collar jobs. Besides health insurance, they do things for their staff like holiday dinners and bonuses. But no more — they’re cutting everything extraneous so that they can offer a higher hourly wage.
The losers in this scenario will of course be the technicians. BE YE NOT SO STUPID. If your employer, especially a small-business employer, provides you with decent health insurance or a medical savings account or a 401(k) plan, thank your lucky stars. And at least look up what it would cost you to purchase separate insurance coverage before you run off chasing a no-benefits job.