Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are expected to focus on employee benefits in attempts to boost productivity and ensure talent retention, according to new research. MetLife’s UK Employee Benefit Trends Study 2017 shows that around 245,000 companies are potentially looking to invest in benefits for workers over the next three years.
The move towards an increase in benefits is expected to help overall company performance, while also improving individual’s health and wellness. With many companies concerned that there is set to be a talent drought following the triggering of Article 50, the study predicts a surge in companies going above and beyond in order to maintain their workforce.
Currently, around a quarter of UK employers don’t offer benefits outside of legally required pensions, and SMEs represent a huge area that could be affected by a lack of staff loyalty. Combatting uncertainty and helping staff tackle stress could take the pressure off many SMEs, as the number of workers with financial concerns rose from 24% to 39% in the last two years.
Almost all SMEs plan on expanding their operations through the next three years, with only 6% expected to cut jobs. With many workers living month to month, MetLife believes that many companies will be pressured into benefits and pay rises without understanding how they can take advantage of the situation.
“SMEs are under considerable financial pressure and it is understandable that many have either not taken the step of investing in benefits for the first time, or in fact stopped offering all but the compulsory auto-enrolled pension,” said Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director at MetLife UK.
“However, this calls into question the effectiveness of the intermediary market as a valued source of strategic business advice to SMEs. Benefits should be seen as a performance driver worth investing in, not as a cost without payback.
“Our survey is encouraging as it shows the potential that is out there. The industry’s challenge is to help SMEs take the right steps.”