The importance of employee benefits provisions for SMEs

By Philip Penning; Consultant at Xerox HR Services

There is a school of thought and long held assumption that, to receive full, competitive, and well valued employee benefits packages, you need to be working for a large corporation. In order to really get the providers of such benefits excited and prepared to offer cost effective and bespoke solutions, the larger the employee headcount, the better.

The unfortunate irony of this is that, generally speaking, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) know that their company’s greatest asset is their staff. Therefore, they would be more willing to take the time to ensure their employees’ health and wellbeing, should the provision to do so be cost effective, especially in the absence of being able to offer large pay increases.

SMEs are also more aware of the fact that employee health and wellbeing isn’t just a nice idea, but has a significant impact on the productivity and profit at that business. There are generally fewer employees doing more work and longer hours, therefore employee welfare is essential to company performance.

I believe that competitively priced and highly valued employee benefit programmes should be available to SMEs,not only because all employees should have access to such benefits, but also as employee benefits provision is arguably more valuable to SMEs; through the right benefits package, they can retain their most valued and skilled employees and not lose them to a large corporate competitor.

As an employer, you need to provide health benefits to ensure your employees are diagnosed, treated and back at work in the minimum amount of time. Further, you need to include benefits that provide excellent preventative health and wellbeing provisions to ensure your employees have the opportunity to stay healthy in and outside of the workplace, and minimise the chances of such treatment being necessary in the first place.

Should an employee have the misfortune of suffering from an injury or accident, they need to know they’ll be supported financially during their recovery, both in terms of regular income support, and/or a lump sum, to help with day to day financial commitments and lifestyle adjustments that may need to be made. Also, employers can provide employees with peace of mind that, should the worst happen, their families will receive financial support.

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Providers of employee benefits, typically insurance companies, have woken up to the possibilities within the SME market – the fastest growing sector within the economy – and are now extremely sharpened to the idea of working more closely with SMEs. These employers will now be looking to implement a cost effective, high quality and well valued health and wellbeing programme for their employees. And as a result, enhancing productivity, retention and recruitment, as well as reducing absenteeism and presenteeism.

Find out more about how SMEs can achieve this through the Xerox Custom Healthcare Solution.