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Guest Column: Flexible Work Options Benefit Small Businesses


July 20, 2015

Guest Column by Renee Amar
LABI Director, Small Business; Director, Healthcare, Deputy, Political Action Committee

A scientific opinion poll released last week shows many Louisiana small employers offer a variety of family-friendly benefits to attract and retain the best talent for their company.

In the aftermath of the national recession, budget restraints, inadequate preparedness and a lack of sales made it difficult for some small businesses to survive in Louisiana. In other situations, however, small businesses found creative ways to survive the down turn by offering a flexible benefits package to their employees.

For small businesses, competing in the hiring game against larger companies is a perennial challenge. When it comes to recruiting skilled workers, larger companies not only have greater financial and personnel resources to recruit skilled workers, but, typically, also the wherewithal to offer generous benefits.

However, with creative, comprehensive small-business recruiting techniques and effective retention policies, small businesses can attract highly skilled candidates who become long-term, loyal staff – and that’s just what small business owners in Louisiana are doing. Many Louisiana small businesses have implemented family-friendly policies to allow their employees to balance their work and family responsibilities.

In fact, the poll conducted by Small Business Majority found:

  • two-thirds (66 percent) of Louisiana small businesses allow their employees to take time off from work to attend their children’s school activities;
  • nearly three in 10 (29 percent) provide flexible work schedules or opportunities to work from home;
  • nearly one in six small employers offer childcare benefits; and
  • nearly one in four (23 percent) provide information about ways to connect with public benefits.

Additionally, the majority (53 percent) of Louisiana small businesses offer paid leave to their employees, while 38 percent offer on-the-job training or financial assistance for education and training outside the job, such as tuition reimbursement.

However, for many small business employees, “small” is the selling point. As the daughter of a small business employer, I know employees are like an extended part of the family and work hard to meet employers’ needs, and the company truly cares about every employee’s job satisfaction and professional growth.

Small business owners fully embrace people as their most valuable asset in securing the future. This is what the free enterprise system is all about: following a dream, building a business and having the flexibility to do what is best for your employees.