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March 23rd, 2021 truthinbenefits

We Need People!

How many times have you heard it from contemporaries or thought it yourself as a business owner? “I could hire 10 people today if I could just find the right people.” Particularly in the skilled labor space and trades, there just doesn’t seem to be enough people to fill the needs and openings that exist in the labor market.

It’s what causes companies to do crazy and irrational things, like continue to purchase overpriced low-value health insurance from brand name national carriers. (We can help with that, by the way.)

If you are an ‘80s, public school-educated baby, you remember being indoctrinated with messages of the “Population Bomb”. The fear of God was drilled into us about the unsustainable growth of the global population and the impending doom of the planet’s resources not being able to support over 7 billion people. For those of you who remember, the apocalypse was imminent; we were all going to starve to death by now and the planet’s axis was going to tilt due to the sheer weight of us overweight, SUV driving, consumer good purchasing Neanderthals.

Paul R. Ehrlich’s message has been successful in achieving the objective getting our genetic assembly lines to cut production significantly.

Consider the following from July of 2020:
“The study projects:
  • The number of under-fives will fall from 681 million in 2017 to 401 million in 2100.
  • The number of over 80-year-olds will soar from 141 million in 2017 to 866 million in 2100.

Prof. Murray adds: “It will create enormous social change. It makes me worried because I have an eight-year-old daughter and I wonder what the world will be like.”

Who pays tax in a massively aged world? Who pays for healthcare for the elderly? Who looks after the elderly? Will people still be able to retire from work?

“We need a soft landing,” argues Prof Murray.

That is only one article…if you want to do a deep dive Google search on the positions that many have on the propagation of our species, go ahead…bring a pillow to that party, because you’re going to need something to hug.

Notice when characters like Professor Ehrlich and his ilk conjure up these ideas and spout them off to young minds in the halls of distinguished universities like Stanford, they aren’t the ones booking a one-way ticket to launch themselves into the liquid hot magma of an Icelandic volcano. They epitomize the “Just the Right Amount of Me, Way Too Much of You” mindset.

Contrary to the concerns of the over-population fear mongers, despite the increase in world population, the fact is that global poverty is at its lowest level ever recorded, humans produce more goods and services, including food, than ever before, and quality of life worldwide is at an all-time high, despite longer life spans.

Shorter lines at Disney World and less elderly people writing paper checks to pay for groceries might sound great, but do we really want to live in a world where we have more “Golden Girls” and “Cocoon” than a generation who’s willing to post Reels on Instagram?

What does any of this have to do with you and your business?

Well, much like you and your business, the world needs more people… younger people. If you think finding people is hard now, try being the next generation of company leadership.

I’m not advocating or suggesting that businesses should incur the full costs of childbirth on behalf of employees, but serious thought should be given to the expenses that employees incur for starting and having families.

Our culture as a whole, beginning with the workplace, could simply start embracing family friendly policies like:
  • Flex Time
  • Family Bonding Activities,
  • Concierge Services
  • Child Care Assistance

As much as these policies could help, the elephant in the room is the expense. A benchmark family health insurance rate for a family of 5 in Charleston, SC exceeds $39,000 annually.

When discussing health insurance premiums, many employers focus heavily on the single employee rates. And only contribute to the single rate, not the rate for dependents, and if they do subsidize dependent costs, the rates are exorbitant and come at the expense of higher pay.. Some strategies to offset the cost of employees starting and having families include:
  • Dependent Care FSA
  • Care Counselors and Coordination
  • Active Care Management
  • Fertility Benefits

All of the items listed are relatively easy to implement and good things happen to those who promote and encourage good things. I think promoting families and encouraging people, especially employees, to start and have families is a good thing. There are avenues to lower barriers, or at minimum, do not place any more up.

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