How to afford ObamaCare for Small Business

One of the biggest obstacles for Obamacare is that companies want to grow, but the cost of offering healthcare is causing some businesses to reduce hours and even layoff employees simply to avoid cost. Here are three suggestions for how to keep people employed and still comply with the ACA.

Do an efficiency audit on your current employees

An employee audit will give you scores of valuable information and let you know what your employees are really accomplishing. An audit can be done by your own HR department or by hiring job analysis consultants. Some companies with HR departments actually prefer to hire consultants as they can offer unbiased opinions.

An employee audit will help you determine the best ways to utilize current employees to service the growth of your company. A complete audit will assist in redistributing new work duties, reorganizing, developing job profiles, assessing employee competency, as well as letting you know each employee’s attitude towards their work and their motivations.

Refine your processes

Could you process an order for your clients in 3 steps instead of 8? The time you save will increase your capacity to service more clients without the added cost of hiring more people. Save on cost by reducing waste. Waste can include time, unnecessary repetition, space, and materials. By reducing all waste you should be able to focus on only what adds value to your system and product.

One way to look into how to improve work flow is to ask the employees and managers involved in specific aspects of the process. Those doing the work may have valuable ideas of how to make it run smoother and faster.

Henry Ford was a giant in improving and refining processes by reducing waste. He developed one of the best mass assembly manufacturing systems by installing conveyer belts. Henry Ford, in My Life and Work (1922), provided a single-paragraph description that encompasses the entire concept of waste:

“I believe that the average farmer puts to a really useful purpose only about 5% of the energy he expends…. Not only is everything done by hand, but seldom is a thought given to a logical arrangement. A farmer doing his chores will walk up and down a rickety ladder a dozen times. He will carry water for years instead of putting in a few lengths of pipe. His whole idea, when there is extra work to do, is to hire extra men. He thinks of putting money into improvements as an expense…. It is waste motion— waste effort— that makes farm prices high and profits low.”

“Poor arrangement of the workplace—and doing a job inefficiently out of habit—are major forms of waste even in modern workplaces.” (Article on Lean Manufacturing on Wikipedia)

Consider outsourcing overseas

Once you’ve done your efficiency audit and refined your processes, identify if there are any tasks your people are doing that could be outsourced to an independent contractor overseas for $3.50 an hour. This alone can significantly reduce the number of extra full time employees you would need to hire and allow you to provide better benefits, and more steady jobs, for your current employees. Furthermore, by outsourcing supporting processes and low level tasks you can focus on strengthening the core business processes.

Outsourcing overseas seems like a naughty term these days, but consider the following: It greatly reduces operational, recruitment, and benefit costs and those associated with Obamacare. “U.S. consumers benefit from outsourcing through their gains in consumption. Moreover, a leaner cost structure makes U.S. producers more competitive in global markets, which should create more jobs.”  says Albino Barrera in Who Benefits from Outsourcing?

Remember to be careful and make sure that the work you outsource is clearly defined with specific deadlines, that you pick a company that complies with your deadlines and needs and can provide the right personnel, and that you know all of the hidden costs to signing a contract over border lines.

You want the best for your employees, including good benefits and secure jobs in a fulfilling work environment. Obamacare is meant to help provide those very things for employees, but at a grat cost to employers.  Auditing employees will help ensure you know their abilities and limits and can provide the most efficient and productive job for them, while cutting costs to your business. Once employees are operating at their top efficiency, utilize their ideas of how to improve workflow and refine your processes. As you restructure the workplace and your systems you will be able to reduce waste and increase time and profits. After completing these two essential steps you will have all the information you need to know what tasks can be easily outsourced. Your business will flourish without reducing hours or hiring more employees. Obamacare need not be a cuss word any longer. At least, not for your business!

So What do YOU Think?