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For employers, understanding the needs of their employees is paramount to keeping them happy, engaged and ultimately on-board with the company. While many companies view salary and compensation as a primary draw for new talent, the fact is that in today's economy, employee priorities have largely shifted focus, from monetary compensation to better and more comprehensive benefits packages.

Unfortunately, many employers haven't been meeting the benefits needs of their staff lately, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. As a potential solution to keeping up with the changing benefits demands of the workplace, more companies may find themselves turning to PEO companies and HR outsourcing to more efficiently administer benefits programs.

Where employees stand on benefits
As SHRM reported, employee dissatisfaction with company benefits plans is increasing, especially since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. Insurance provider Aflac published a report indicating that a shockingly low 12 percent of small-business employees were extremely satisfied with their company's current benefits package. Similarly, only 14 percent of respondents felt that their benefits plan was adequate to meet the health needs of their families.

Small businesses have moved to accommodate the benefits needs of their employees, but many have had to compensate in other areas. According to SHRM, 34 percent of small businesses reported giving employees smaller raises than in previous years, and 18 percent even indicated an intention to delay raises completely in the coming year. Some 12 percent of small businesses noted that they had reduced some worker hours from full- to part-time in an effort to save cash.

Seeking outside help
Some of these employers may simply find themselves daunted by the administrative legwork required to navigate the changing landscape of benefits administration in the wake of the ACA. According to JobScience, only 11 percent of companies surveyed currently outsource their HR services, and of those that do, saving money was cited as a primary motivation.

As The Houston Chronicle reported, HR outsourcing companies can actually save money by cutting back on unnecessary expenses. Payroll and benefits for a fully staffed HR department can monopolize a substantial chunk of small-business budgets, and opting to outsource such services can save cash in-house while still providing companies with the expertise and HR services that they need to navigate the stormy seas of health care reform.