Employee Benefits: Helping SMEs Level The Playing Field In The Competition For Talent

In Business, Employee Benefits, Industry News by Raina Dhillon

When it comes to recruitment and attracting/retaining the best talent, SMEs often struggle to compete with larger organisations. That’s because the latter are usually in a position to offer larger salaries, impressive business premises and more attractive career prospects.

However, there is one area where SMEs can effectively compete and that’s employee benefits.

Employees love benefits

We’ve previously written about the perks that British workers really want. In that post, free gym membership, private healthcare and a day off on their birthday were some of the top things British workers want.

In another post, we revealed how Private Medical Insurance is the most desired employee benefit. Indeed, four in 10 employees polled by employee services business Personal Group said they wanted PMI as part of their benefits package.

Meanwhile, a recent write up in the Independent cites flexible working hours, bigger pension contributions and extra holiday for long service among the top perks wanted by British workers.

The bottom line is that employees love benefits, so it stands to reason that businesses which offer benefits are more likely to appear attractive to talent when they are recruiting, and more likely to retain the existing talent they’ve got.

So what employee benefits should SMEs offer?

Tailored benefits packages are the key when it comes to making your staff happy. Not only do they give your employees what they want, they also show that you are an understanding and caring employer.

Remember, no two employees are the same, and as an SME you are in a better position to offer tailored benefits than a large corporation. Don’t assume what your staff want, ask them. Canvas opinions across your organisation and examine any available data you’ve got so you can make an informed decision about the benefits you offer.

For example, while older employees might want benefits that relate to healthcare and retirement planning, younger staff may be motivated by things like more holiday entitlement and free gym memberships.

The best part is that benefits do not need to cost the earth. Group Income Protection, for example, typically costs as little as 1% of salary roll. Yet it’s a benefit that many employees value. Plus, it’s a win-win benefit as it not only provides a financial safety net for your staff, but also helps you manage absence.

Furthermore, because you have the flexibility to choose which categories of staff any Group Income Protection plan covers and the level of cover, you can implement it as part of a tailored benefits offering.

If you’ve never looked into employee benefits in any real depth before, you’ll probably be surprised at just how affordable some of them can be.

Benefits that are designed to promote healthy and rapid returns to work (like Private Medical Insurance) are in everyone’s interest, so offering them is often a no-brainer.

I have over 15 years client facing experience in the Employee Benefits industry having worked for Mercer HR Consulting and The Willis Group in London. Bringing my expertise to mid and large corporate clients, I joined Premier Choice Healthcare in December 2015, with the aim of advising and developing a varied Corporate client portfolio.