It’s perhaps the most common question we get asked – “what are the best employee benefits for my small business?” The answer is simple but not straightforward; the best benefits are the ones that will have a meaningful impact on your employees’ lives – and success lies in identifying existing needs, emerging risks, and future expectations.

While large corporations often have the financial resources to offer extravagant employee benefits, it doesn’t mean that smaller businesses automatically fall behind. There’s a huge opportunity for SMEs to carve out their own niche by providing unique and meaningful perks that resonate with their employees – and they perhaps have a head start when it comes to flexibility for innovation and experimentation.

In our conversations with companies – big and small – it is apparent that there are several employee benefits which are both more frequently requested and commonly implemented by SMEs. So, what are the best employee benefits for small businesses? And how do they help you build a happy, engaged and productive workforce?

Offering Flexible Working
Although not strictly an employee benefit, one of the most sought-after terms in today’s work environment is flexibility. Offering flexible work arrangements – such as remote work options or flexible hours – can be a game-changer for small businesses.

43% of workers report that flexible working help them to be more productive.

Low-cost to implement, flexible working can provide employees with a better work-life balance, reduce commuting stress, and allow them to tailor their working hours to their personal needs and commitments. It can also help small businesses attract the best talent, boost employee satisfaction, and increase productivity.

Investing in Employee Wellbeing
Proactively investing in employee wellbeing isn’t just good for your employees, it’s good for business too – happier, healthier employees are more productive and have lower absence rates.

Implementing a wellbeing programme can also positively impact healthcare claims costs, by targeting common health risks such as obesity, physical inactivity, and stress. -Suzanne Summerfield Wellbeing Consultant

A wellbeing strategy doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to be tailored to your employee population. A good first step is to look at the value-added services that accompany many insured benefits, such as Employee Assistance Programmes and educational workshops.

Improving Personal Finances
Due to increasing costs it’s more important than ever to support your employees’ personal finances. Companies can provide near-immediate support by implementing a discounts portal – where employees can access various savings across popular retail stores. It’s a quick, low-cost and effective way to make a positive impact on everyday spending.

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Companies should also consider providing longer-term support; running financial education sessions to help employees understand their financial habits and goals, and tap into the included financial wellbeing offering from their designated workplace pension provider.

By offering a comprehensive range of employee benefits, small businesses can create an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated. Using an opt-in voluntary benefits setup, it’s easy to offer your employees choice and flexibility on the benefits that will make the biggest difference to their lives. Employee benefits can help companies unleash the full potential of their workforce and achieve long-term success.

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