SMEs Lagging Behind Smaller Firms When It Comes To Employee Wellbeing

In Business, Employee Benefits, Health and Wellness by Gill Adams

When it comes to employee wellbeing, SMEs are falling behind smaller companies in the eyes of their employees. That’s one of the key findings to come out of new research by Legal & General (L&G).

According to L&G’s latest SME research, more employees working for smaller companies trust their employer to look after them than those working for larger SMEs. This, despite the fact that these larger organisations are more likely to have a health and wellbeing strategy in place.

In fact, L&G’s research found a direct correlation between the size of the business and the level of trust employees place in their employer.

The research shows that almost three quarters (74%) of employees working for micro businesses (defined as having nine or fewer employees) said they trust their employer to look after their wellbeing. In comparison, 55% of employees working for smaller companies (with between 10 and 49 staff) and just 42% of employees at medium companies (50 to 249 employees) said the same.

What’s most surprising about these results is the fact that medium-sized businesses are significantly more likely to have wellbeing strategies in place. As the L&G research reveals, almost double the percentage of medium-sized businesses have a wellbeing strategy, compared with their micro-counterparts – the figures are 77% and 39% respectively.

As Legal & General’s distribution director for group protection, Colin Fitzgerald points out: “Medium sized companies might have the tools in place – in terms of a wellbeing strategy – but it’s not necessarily translating into trust.

“So, either their benefit and wellbeing programmes are not considered relevant by all of their employees or they’re being poorly communicated.”

Covid pandemic causing uptick in employee benefit reviews

Meanwhile, separate research shows that the Covid-19 pandemic is causing many businesses to review the benefits they offer their employees. Accordingly, almost three quarters (72%) of employers will review their employee benefits offering in direct response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Research also reveals how the pandemic has led to a significant change in personal, as well as corporate, attitudes towards employee benefits provision. Findings suggest that 60% of people feel employee benefits are now either ‘much more important’ (38%) or a ‘little more important’ (22%) than before the pandemic. Furthermore, not one person polled in a recent study said they felt that the need for employee benefit provision had reduced since the lockdown began.

In Summary

The Covid crisis has made us all acutely aware of the risks to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Within the workplace, the need for a robust wellbeing strategy has never been more important, and all sectors should be looking at ways to support their workers in these very challenging times.

When was the last time you reviewed your employee benefits offering? Now more than ever your staff need you to be doing everything you can to support their wellbeing. Talk to Premier Choice today about the employee benefits that could be working harder for you and your staff.

Gill Adams is the Head of SME Growth at Premier Choice Group and has been in the private medical insurance industry since the early 90’s, working in both the insurer and intermediary markets. Gill has a strong background in sales leadership and corporate sales from both an insurer and broker perspective.