40% of staff at small firms would leave job for better benefits

benefitsFour in 10 employees at small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK would consider leaving their employer to gain better employee benefits, according to a survey.

Employee benefits provider Unum UK’s poll of 2,000 adults found that 40% of employees believed employee benefits were a key influencing decision on whether they stay with an employer.

The research also included responses from 500 decision makers at SMEs with 250 or less employees, which showed that although 78% saw employee benefits as key to recruitment and retention, only 37% had reassessed their offerings since the start of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Under a third (32%) have no plans to implement changes to their benefits going forward, with 46% opting to pay bonuses, 42% choosing to increase salaries and 34% facilitating remote or hybrid working policies in order to retain staff. Only 16% would consider boosting workplace benefits as a retention tool.

The findings revealed that more than one-quarter (28%) of small firms planned on surveying staff to find out what they valued ahead of making future changes.

Of those who have reassessed their benefits packages since March 2020, almost half (48%) were prompted to do so after listening to the changing needs of their workers. A further fifth (21%) recognised they were struggling to attract new staff with their current package, while a similar proportion (20%) knew their competition offered something better.

Mark Till, CEO of Unum, explained that as SMEs reassess their employee benefits offerings to fit the changing needs of staff, they should not assume that money means everything.

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“Bonuses and pay rises are of course welcome in an environment of rising inflation, but both current employees and future recruits clearly place a value on their broader employee benefits packages that cannot be expressed in pounds and pence,” he said.

“Overlooking this has the real potential to put staffing levels at risk in an increasingly competitive external market.”