According to the attached article, two thirds of SME bosses believe that they face a benefits gap in comparison to larger employers. The research, carried out by Opinium in March 2018 among 508 decision-makers at organisations employing between 50 and 299 staff, found that 69% of senior managers believe they have a duty to provide benefits beyond pensions. However, one in 10 (10%) of respondents said they are unable to do so. Why is this?
Automatic Enrolment has done great things for pension membership but it is also now the single mostly costly benefit for organisations. The next step change in contributions (to 9%) is due next April and clearly this will be front of mind when planning budgets. But do benefits have to be expensive?
Group Life Insurance does not need to be expensive. Depending on the risk profile of your workforce, the premiums could be as little as 0.3% of payroll. Other elements such as Income Protection, which guarantees salary for a time following serious illness or injury, is from 0.5% of payroll.
There are a number of voluntary benefits out there that increase choice for the employee but don’t cost you anything to implement. Long standing benefits such as cycle to work or season ticket loans require some cashflow (the sponsoring organisation pays up front and you claim the money back from the employee) whereas others are more administrative in nature (such as introducing holiday trading). The actual cost of introducing the benefits is minimal.
Offering flexible working can be a very cost effective way of providing real benefit to employees. If your employees don’t need to be in the same place at the same time, then showing trust is a powerful tool in increasing engagement.
Where do I start?
The benefits that you do select will only be successful if your employees want them. You may wish to consider asking your employees what they want but you should be careful not to raise expectations too much. After all, the administration alone of adding several benefits could be significant and if your budget doesn’t stretch to implementing a system to help you with the admin, then you don’t want to do too much too soon.