SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy. However, there remains a well-documented struggle for this sector to compete in recruitment and retention of skilled employees.
SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy, with over 99% of UK businesses falling into this category and employing around 60% of all employees in the private sector.
However, there remains a well-documented struggle for this sector to compete in recruitment and retention of skilled employees.
In theory, working for SMEs rather than large corporates has many advantages for employees; greater flexibility, closer connection to the visions and goals of the business and increased personal responsibilities.
The reality however can be a little more challenging; when deciding who to work for, employees will often choose larger businesses simply because of the perceived extra resources and workplace benefits offered by the larger organisation.
Smaller employers are increasingly aware of the need to attract and retain a skilled, motivated workforce, especially where they may not be able to compete with larger businesses on pay or business profile.
Stats from recent research by Metlife UK show that 35% of SMEs with between 50 and 99 staff lose out on new recruits because their benefits package is not competitive and 29% say their benefits package actually puts potential employees off.
A separate study by group risk provider Ellipse shows just how important a workplace benefits package is to employees; 63% of 1005 SME employees polled said that workplace benefits were either a valuable or extremely valuable part of their overall employment package.
There is clearly a desire from employees to have a competitive range of workplace benefits, but employers do not appear to have responded; In Ellipse’s survey of 500 SME business leaders, 43% said they offer no workplace benefits other than the (now mandatory) pension scheme.
Why is this the case? Perceived cost will surely be a factor, with SME budgets stretched at the best of times. SMEs often have a minimal HR function, so perhaps there is simply no internal drive to extend the benefits offering. Perhaps they have traditionally had very limited access to expertise on workplace benefits and have been put off by perceived complications in rolling out new benefits.
The good news is that the benefits market for SMEs has been changing over recent years.
Providers are now able to offer benefits schemes to SMEs which are of equivalent quality to those provided to large corporates, allowing SMEs to start competing on a level playing field.
Voluntary benefits are becoming more commonplace in the market, as they offer employers a chance to provide access to a benefit that may be of interest to an employee, but often at little or no cost to the business.
Finally, technology in the benefits sector has finally switched on to the needs of SMEs. New benefit platforms are now available to smaller employers at far lower cost than used to be the case, where previously well-established flexible benefits platforms could be offered but at a prohibitively high cost for most SMEs.
A well designed and correctly tailored benefits offering, combined with a benefit platform to bring together all those benefits in one place for employees to access, can make a significant difference in the recruitment and retention battle faced by SMEs.
Smarthive is a new benefits platform aimed at SMEs looking for an affordable way to consolidate any existing benefits to a single platform for easy access and communication to employees.
The platform comes pre-loaded with a range of voluntary benefits employees can decide to use if they wish, allowing employers to roll out a range of benefits for employees at very little cost to the business;
Available now, the platform is easy to use for both employers and employees and is very competitively priced.
Busy Bees Benefits also offer a full range of support and guidance for employers of all sizes on any aspect of employee benefits. From arranging a new group benefit scheme through to designing, implementing and communicating bespoke, comprehensive benefits solution, Busy Bees Benefits work with employers to produce an appropriate benefit offering to meet the needs of the organisation and its employees.
Feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation chat about the options available to your organisation.