How small businesses can overcome common employee benefits challenges

Employee benefits are an investment in people that can pay real dividends for businesses of any size.

Here, we’ll look at some of the common barriers businesses cite when looking to introduce employee benefits.

Ultimately, these barriers can be overcome to help make benefits more accessible for more companies and their teams.

The right employee benefits package can boost recruitment, retention, employee engagement and ultimately improve overall employee wellbeing among other things.

Looking to introduce or refresh your employee benefits package? Click here to discover our range of employee benefit schemes and platform options.


In a study by Employee Benefits, 84% of businesses cited budget as a barrier to introducing the benefits they’d like to offer, by far the biggest reason cited by employers.

As we always maintain, employee benefits are an investment and not a cost, however the reality is for some businesses either there simply isn’t the budget there, it’s difficult to obtain or the budget available is too small.

However, there’s some good news. Employee benefits can be accessible to virtually all businesses, no matter the budget!

How? Well, the cost of employee benefits can vary depending on a number of factors including the number and types of benefits, platform fees and employee engagement to name a few.

For example, some salary sacrifice schemes provide employers with tax savings dependant on up-take of the scheme by employees which can help ease the burden on budget and make benefits more accessible.

Some employee benefit schemes themselves come with different options to suit budgets. For example, at caboodle, our Employee Instant Discount scheme comes in two levels to provide something for every business, regardless of budget.

Small business employee benefits platforms also often provide options dependant on budget to make even highly functional and effective platforms accessible for businesses with varying budget levels.

Thorough requirements building and conversations with your employee benefits provider will help find a solution that fits for your business and employees regardless of budget.

Time and resource

HR teams are busy, busy, busy right now, even more so than ever.

This is especially true at startups and small businesses juggling HR functions and the bigger HR strategy picture and the myriad of challenges HR and businesses face today.

The same research by Employee Benefits found that time was cited by 38% of respondents as a barrier to introducing benefits.

The right employee benefits set up reduces admin, makes managing benefits easier and free’s up time for HR to focus on important areas of employee benefits like generating employee engagement.

The right provider will do any heavy lifting required, present you and your business with a range of options and do the majority of the work needed to help get your business up and running with employee benefits and even an employee benefits platform.

Getting senior leadership buy-in

One of the next biggest barriers to introducing benefits cited in the research by Employee Benefits was lack of senior support, cited by 29% of respondents.

With current challenges around “The Great Resignation”, a competitive job market and cost-of-living increases impacting businesses at the top level, HR are even more well positioned to champion their importance with senior leaders and show just how important HR is in helping businesses achieve their objectives.

The same goes for employee benefits too. Employee benefits support employee wellbeing, help employees save and manage their finances and can even help improve work-life balance, all of which contribute to improved performance, presenteeism, recruitment, retention and employee engagement.

While the current challenges businesses and HR face give businesses plenty to think about, they inevitably help make the case for employee benefits stronger.

Add to that, where many businesses, smaller businesses in particular, may struggle to hand out significant pay rises to reward teams beyond inflation, employee benefits provide an alternative option which make a strong argument to be considered by senior leaders.

There are loads of options out there when it comes to employee benefits.

Whether it be a single benefits scheme or a range of benefits, an off-the-shelf platform or a bells and whistles bespoke platform, there’s something out there to suit just about any business and their budget, available resource and senior leadership team.