Quarter of small business workers aren’t aware of any of the employee benefits available

A quarter of small business employees aren’t aware of any of the employee benefits available to them, according to new research.

Almost two fifths of UK small business workers say their employer doesn’t understand what’s important to them in a benefits package and 22 per cent are dissatisfied with their current package. The report also identified financial benefits as a key area for support – with 37 per cent of small business employees stating the relevance and usefulness of financial education and guidance as part of a benefits package.

In the war for talent, employee benefits play a key role, especially when the findings show around 3 in 10 of workers say they are not committed to their current role, with 10 per cent of these workers actively seeking new positions.

Unum’s Blueprint aims to help increase take-up rates, improve employers’ return on investment made into benefits and inform future benefit offerings. It identifies five key areas for businesses to focus on to achieve this, and provides an extensive list of practical tips:

  1. Go back to basics – measure benefits take-up, cost and return on investment and speak to employees to better understand what you want your benefits to achieve
  2. Know your audience – educate yourself on the motivations and behaviour of your workforce and package bundles of benefits for different segments
  3. Think external, act internal – engage with employees as you would customers or clients
  4. Don’t just communicate with employees, engage them – build trust through an open, two-way dialogue by involving line managers and communicating across communications channels
  5. Create social norms – communicate benefits regularly and enable a culture in which talking about, signing up for and measuring benefits is typical behaviour.

Liz Walker, HR director at Unum: “For small businesses, investment in employee benefits represents a significant cost, when budgets are often tight. It is vital that these organisations ask their employees what they would value and appreciate before they do anything else. Both employees and consumers have an awful lot of information arriving at them from many different sources. So, businesses need to find a way to cut through that noise by offering relevant and engaging messages that reflect the needs, wants and motivations of its employees.”