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How to Speak HR

By Alexi Calvo | HRPeople

August 19, 2009

Issue: Your Company’s Health Benefits Aren’t Great

The experts say:

“Health care costs to employers go up with double-digit increases each year; we’d love to be in a position to absorb that for employees, but given the economic climate we just can’t continue to do that and stay competitive in other areas. We just implemented a new cost-sharing program that brings the employee contribution to (x)%, which means we do still absorb a large majority of the cost.”


“As we grow, our benefits will too, but right now, this is what we offer.”

“We had to look at where to cut and this seemed to be the most fair and the least painful overall.”

Issue: You Can’t Match Their 401k/403b

The experts say:

“We’re cash conservative company; we’d rather spend our employee money on preserving jobs than on things like tuition reimbursement or an employee assistance program. We have made sure that we’ve offered the core benefits, though, and negotiated the best rates we can.”

“The vast majority of start-ups don’t offer 401k matching because they want to be profitable ASAP and they leverage their stock options to make up for lack of benefits in other areas.”

Issue: Your Company Offers a Reduced Workweek

The experts say:

“Many people prefer to work less hours rather than have us look at cutting positions and ultimately asking people to handle more work.”

“We pride ourselves on being flexible with time; we have a number of employees that choose reduced schedules in exchange for family flexibility.”