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Business owners are pinpointing the positives of offering employee benefits to staff

Small businesses owners and employers are looking increase the benefits they offer staff – on top of pension provision. In a move to focus on retention and recruitment 57% plan to increase benefits, with 24% planning to significantly increase their employee benefits package, according to research from insurer MetLife UK.

While 33% of employers will slightly expand the benefits on offer by adding additional services or enhancing terms, companies employing between 100 and 199 staff are the most likely to significantly increase benefits with 27% saying they will offer new benefits compared with just 19% among companies with 200 to 300 staff.

Around 19% of SME senior managers said benefits which specifically address health and wellbeing would be their first choice while 11% said they would like to see benefits which are suitable for employees who work from home.

Sickness absence is a significant issue for their business, according to 51% of employers with 20% saying it is a very significant issue. Around 27% of SME owners say benefits play a major role in engaging and motivating their staff while 24% say regularly communicating their benefits package helps with driving engagement with approximately 84% of SME bosses believing staff are engaged in their day-to-day work and 33% saying staff are highly engaged.

Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director, MetLife UK said: “SMEs are very much focused on retaining and recruiting staff and increasingly recognise the role that a well-designed benefits package can play in addition to salary.

“Smaller employers are already competing for staff with large corporates on pay and business profile and may struggle to attract and retain skilled employees if they cannot offer the benefits that many now expect at work.

“Group life and group income protection are benefits that employees value and cost much less than employers often think – for example around 0.5% of salary for income protection and 0.2% of salary for life.”

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