What SME’s should consider when choosing employee benefits

57% of small business owners and employers want to increase the benefits they offer staff, while 34% plan to increase their employee benefits package significantly, according to research by MetLife UK. Health and wellbeing benefits were the most popular, of which around 19% of SME managers said they would specifically target first. 11% said they’d prioritise benefits that suit employees that work from home.

But what should SME owners and managers consider when it comes to choosing employee benefits? There are various solutions and options available for companies of all sizes, but it’s important to select the right ones for your business. Here are some things you should consider.

There are loads of options
Owners and managers at SME’s will already have a good idea of their needs and priorities when it comes to choosing employee benefits. However, there are things you should know about employee benefits and the technology that’s out there that will make managing your benefits easy. What schemes are simple and what one’s should you focus on? What types of solutions are available and what should you look for?

What are your employees looking for?
You’ll already have a good idea of what your employees want. For example, if you have a diverse workforce made up of varying ages and demographics, you might want flexible benefits, which allows employees to choose how they allocate their employee benefits spend.

If you have a young workforce, what are they looking for? A recent study found that dental care is the third most popular work perk for 18 to 24-year olds, behind flexible working hours and unlimited holiday days. Maybe you should also consider holiday trading, which allows employees to buy or sell annual leave? You could look at offering dental cover as an employee benefit.

Think about how your employees get to work
Do the vast majority live relatively close or do they have lengthy commutes? You could offer a bike-to-work scheme or commuting loans as employee benefits depending on how far away from the workplace your employees are. Car benefit schemes are also a great option and one that many employers offer.

Thinking about your budget
How might all of this fit in with your budget? As an SME, you might find yourself on a restricted budget that needs to be allocated carefully. What are your options?

As mentioned, there are many options when it comes to choosing employee benefits. Not just in terms of schemes, but how they’re packaged up and offered to your employees. Packaging up all the benefits you offer into an employee benefits platform is advised. There are two main types of employee benefits platform. Bespoke vs. off-the-shelf.

You might be drawn in by the bells and whistles of a bespoke, tailored employee benefits platform. However, for SME’s in particular it isn’t always the best option. If you have the budget then by all means, a bespoke employee benefits platform is the way forward. However, if your budget is restricted, an off-the-shelf option is a great alternative. You could even start with an off-the-shelf version to begin with and move on to a more bespoke option in the future.

You also need to consider how you’re going to allocate your budgets once your platform is set up. If you spend less on your platform, you could allocate any left-over budget to reward and recognition for your employees, for example.