Third of women leaving SMEs want more inclusive benefits

More than a third (36%) of female staff at small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who are planning to leave their role in the first half of 2022 said they want more inclusive benefits, according to research by employee engagement specialist Sodexo Engage.

The survey collected responses from more than 1,000 SME employers and employees to identify the HR trends dominating today’s workplace and learn what employees really think about their organisation.

Of the female employees who would rather work at an SME, 45% cited a better work-life balance, however the lack of flexibility (44%) proved to be a problem. One-quarter of women wished their employer offered flexitime, and 40% said they would be more engaged at work if they had a better work-life balance.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) said they would be more likely to accept a role at an SME if it offered good benefits, and 33% would be more engaged at work if they had better ones, with 25% prioritising private health and dental care and 23% wanting discounts on everyday expenses.

Despite the fact that 90% of SME employers agreed that rewarding and recognising the workforce enhances loyalty, 72% of women were more likely to feel undervalued in their team compared to men, and 8% could not remember the last time they were recognised for a job well done. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) said they would be more likely to stay in their current job if they were rewarded on a more regular basis.

Burcin Ressamoglu, CEO at Sodexo Engage, said: “In order to retain female talent, SMEs need to create a culture that supports the advancement of women by using key strategies such as inclusive benefits packages and comprehensive reward programmes.

“Businesses must also acknowledge the fact that policies like flexible working are more than a benefit, but a must-have, and an important first step in making female employees feel seen and recognised for their hard work.”