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Benefits on Offer at UK SMEs Fail to Satisfy Employees

As wage stagnation plods on past the decade mark and salaries aren’t much to shout about, the perks of a job can make all the difference to workers. Yet, the latest survey statistics on SME perks satisfaction shows that companies are far from offering the ones that really make a difference.

  • Free beer and performance-based bonuses least likely to satisfy SME employees
  • Childcare vouchers as useful as a slide in the office
  • “Golden Hello” most satisfying perk

According to a survey of more than 2,000 employees of SME companies commissioned by specialist insurer Hiscox, the most common perk offered by employers is the company sick pay additional to statutory sick pay, with 58% of companies surveyed offering it as standard. More than two in five (41%) offer their employees paid overtime and almost two in five (38%) offer maternity, paternity or shared parental leave beyond the statutory requirement. Among those least common, according to respondents, are duvet days (1%), free cocktail hours (1%) and a slide in the office (less than 1%).

What keeps employees most satisfied, among those who received the perk, is unsurprisingly, a “Golden Hello” (bonus on acceptance of a job offer). Almost nine in ten respondents rate this as the most satisfying perk, despite only 10% of the SME workforce having received one in the past five years. The percentage, however, rises to 33% of those who earn between £50,000-£59,000.

Perks satisfaction and how that impacts on employee retention also differs between male and female employees. For example, men are twice as likely to be interested in a cycle to work scheme than women (10% vs 5%), and more women (36%) than men (29%) would be encouraged to accept a job if flexible working hours were offered as standard. Women are also more likely to be swayed by the option to work from home (31% vs 24%) and dedicated Christmas leave (28% vs 21%).

Despite the rewards and savings to be had, the research also showed that many of the perks that employers offer either go unused or leave workers underwhelmed. Often, it’s because the benefits they receive aren’t useful or relevant to them, and the power of the perk goes untapped. And since not all companies can afford to hand out “Golden Hellos” or regular bonuses, it’s paramount to understand what motivates employees to stay in their jobs and what drives them to be more productive.

Hiscox UK has crunched nation-wide survey data into a tool aimed at employers and employees alike. The tool allows employers to select the demographic information of their workforce in order to understand the perks that are likely to keep them most engaged in their jobs. In similar fashion, employees can also use it to establish whether their expectations and desires are in-line with their peers, and if they have grounds for negotiating specific perks with their employer, based on the perks their peers report receiving.