One of the most important things a retail bakery can do to maintain business health, longevity and profit margin is to recruit, hire and retain quality employees. This means the ability to compete with larger companies on salary, but that doesn’t necessarily mean just paying an employee more per hour.

Employees today have learned that the total compensation package needs to be looked at and considered rather than just the amount of money an employee gets paid. The savvy employee not only wants the best benefit package, but a choice in the matter as well.


According to David Waring of, employers need to consider a few things before choosing benefits to offer their employees.

1) Benefits are not one size fits all. The appeal of certain benefits will differ depending on the demographics of your company.

2) It is important to allow your employees to choose from different benefit options. Your employees are more likely to be satisfied with their benefits if they feel they are given some freedom to select the package that best fits their personal lifestyle and goals.

3) You won’t know what are most important to your employees if you don’t ask them what they want. As you decide which benefit options to offer your employees, consider talking to them about what their priorities are. This way, you won’t waste money by offering benefits that don’t appeal to your employees.


Employers can break down benefits into three basic categories to make up a comprehensive package. The categories are healthcare, retirement benefits, and specialty benefits.

Healthcare - Health insurance is the most important and expensive benefit that you can offer. While health insurance benefits are not currently mandatory, they can help you attract and keep top quality talent. You can purchase group health insurance directly from a wide range of insurance providers, or you can shop through the new healthcare marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. Offering healthcare through the SHOP Exchanges may also qualify your business for a number of tax breaks.

There is no simple answer to how much health insurance will cost, since this depends largely on where you purchase your company healthcare plan. In the past, about half of small businesses have spent roughly 7.5 percent of payroll costs, and about a quarter have spent more than 15 percent. While these costs are high, keep in mind that the recently passed Affordable Care Act is designed to lower the costs of health insurance for small businesses. There are a number of tax credits available to business with fewer than 25 full-time employees.

Retirement - Most small businesses that offer retirement benefits choose defined contribution plans, which includes 401(k)s and IRAs. Choosing the plan that’s right for you can be a fairly complicated affair, and it’s recommended to find a professional to help you navigate the process. The cost of offering a defined contribution plan will depend on the size of your company, and, if you decide to match a percentage of your employees’ contributions, how much they end up saving.

“Specialty benefits” refer to benefits generally considered of secondary importance to healthcare and retirement benefits. Nevertheless, specialty benefits can help your company expand its range of benefit options and really distinguish itself from the competition. Examples include life insurance, disability, dental and vision coverage, paid time off, tuition assistance, etc.